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Review: Sonata Arctica - Stones Grow Her Name
Sonata Arctica
Stones Grow Her Name

Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Year released: 2012
Duration: 53:12
Tracks: 11
Genre: Heavy/Power Metal

Rating: 3.5/5

Review online: May 27, 2012
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating
Stones Grow Her Name

Rated 2.42/5 (48.42%) (38 Votes)

Let me start this review by fully disclosing that I am an admitted Sonata Arctica fanboy. Ecliptica is largely responsible for getting me back into Metal several years ago. That said, while I disliked both Unia and The Days of Grays, I was excited about Sonata Arctica's 2012 album Stones Grow Her Name. And I am pleased to say I don't hate it.

It is rare for a band to go back to an old sound or style no matter how much the fans beg. Sonata Arctica has been exploring a more modern, and frankly horrible, sound with down-tuned guitars and angst-ridden semi-harsh vocals replacing the sweeping melodies, keyboard solos and sing-a-long choruses of their first four albums. While Stones Grow Her Name isn't Ecliptica, it does bear some strong resemblances to album four, Reckoning Night. That album had some of the earlier trademark "happy" Power Metal but also went in for some longer compositions with more introspective lyrics. Opener "Only the Broken Hearts (Make You Beautiful)" and "Losing My Insanity" would have fit nicely on Reckoning Night. Speedy, without double-kick drumming, and catchy, they should bring a smile to the face of an SA fan. "Shitload O' Money," despite the inane title and more modern riffing, is still singable. "The Day" is a classic Tony Kakko composition with sweet keyboard melodies underlying a sad tale of life's cruel twists. On the other hand "Somewhere Close to You" belongs on a Chevelle album while the ballad "Don't Be Mean" is completely unlistenable. Oh, and "Cinderblox," and, to a lesser extent "Wildfire Part II – One with the Mountain," feature the banjo. Hey, Korpiklaani have the accordion, Sonata Arctica now has the banjo. Must be a Finnish thing.

Stones Grow Her Name isn't the return to form long time fans desire but it is a move in the right direction. If you don't like Sonata Arctica, this album will in no way change your opinion of them. If you are like me and have been waiting for something from them that doesn't outright suck, you should give Stones Grow Her Name a shot.

Other related information on the site
Review: Ecliptica (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
Review: Ecliptica (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Ecliptica (reviewed by Pascal Côté)
Review: Ecliptica - Revisited (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: For the Sake of Revenge (reviewed by Bruce Dragonchaser)
Review: Pariah's Child (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Reckoning Night (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
Review: Reckoning Night (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
Review: Silence (reviewed by Christian Renner)
Review: Sonata Arctica Tour 2014 (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Talviyö (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: The Days of Grays (reviewed by Bruce Dragonchaser)
Review: The Days of Grays (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
Review: The Days of Grays (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: The Ninth Hour (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Unia (reviewed by Bruce Dragonchaser)
Review: Unia (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
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Review: Winterheart's Guild (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
Interview with keyboardist Henrik Klingenberg and bassist Pasi Kauppinen on September 9, 2014 (Interviewed by MetalMike)
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