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Review: Sonata Arctica - Pariah's Child
Sonata Arctica
Pariah's Child

Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Year released: 2014
Duration: 53:12
Tracks: 10
Genre: Power Metal


Review online: July 12, 2014
Reviewed by: MetalMike
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Rated 2.65/5 (53.08%) (26 Votes)

Pariah's Child is the eighth studio album from long-running Finnish Power Metal band Sonata Arctica. This is one of the bands that was there when I first got back into Heavy Metal and Ecliptica remains one of my all-time favorites. It is no secret that Sonata Arctica changed musical direction significantly with their fifth album, Unia, a release loathed by many fans. The next album, The Days of Grays, wasn't much better though it showed flashes of what we loved about the band. Stones Grow Her Name brought back a few more fans while still pushing the musical and lyrical boundaries that I'm sure felt to main man Tony Kakko like something he needed to do to avoid becoming stale. Now we have Pariah's Child, a title that nods to the band's past even more noticeably. And, hey, the cover features a wolf in a winter forest. That's a good sign : )

So, Pariah's Child is dressed for the show but does it have the music. The short answer is, thankfully, yes. "The Wolves Die Young" is classic Sonata Arctica; mid-tempo, upbeat and with fantasy lyrics about a naked queen. "Running Lights" is full of double-kick drums and "Cloud Factory" is another cautionary tale of modern day life couched in a beautiful melody, similar to "The Day" from Stones Grow Her Name. "Take One Breath," with its unique time signatures and piano/harp harmonies, is quite charming, almost like a familiar lullaby in places, and a song I keep going back to. There are still some (really) weird things happening on Pariah's Child. For instance, the "rock and roll evangelist" spoken-word parts on "X Marks the Spot" give the song a novelty feel that wears thin quickly. "Love" is a throwaway ballad and "Larger Than Life" alternates between epic, Edguy sweep and slower parts that sound like incidental movie music.

Fellow Metal Crypt reviewer Bruce Dragonchaser asked me if Pariah's Child is a return to form. Not quite. It is Tony Kakko getting close to the perfect balance between the classic Sonata Arctica sound and the innovation/experimentation of the band's latter albums. The first 6-7 songs should thaw the frozen hearts of even the most jaded Sonata Arctica fans and there are decent parts in some of the tail-end tracks, though they require more patience to uncover. If you loved the first four Sonata Arctica albums and lost faith with the release of Unia, it is time to give the band another shot. Pariah's Child is, dare I say, an excellent release.

More about Sonata Arctica...
Review: Clear Cold Beyond (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Clear Cold Beyond (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
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: 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: Stones Grow Her Name (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)
Review: Winterheart's Guild (reviewed by Christian Renner)
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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