Seventh full length for Finnish starwaltz Sonata Arctica was initially announced like their return to more of a power metal realm, the music that undoubtfully brought them fame and fortune and the fans still cherish their first two albums Ecliptica and Silence the most.
Youthful energy and catchiness from those two was later replaced with progressive leanings that saw Sonata loose many of their old fans so Stones Grow Her Name was eagerly awaited – do Sonata still have it inside of them? The first single/video from the album entitled I have a right left us cold a little bit since that song is basically 80′s mid tempo pop with refrain that goes on for a little bit too much for its own good, that song is easily one of the worst on the entire album but when the whole Stones Grow Her Name finally drop, I have realised that the final picture is not that bad at all. Sonata’s main flaw of their later career that was present clearly on albums such as Unia is still present, and that is the need to go to some complicated arrangements and get lost in them without any need but luckily, that tendency is decreased in favour of more up to the point songwriting and cool refrains.
The first couple of songs such as Only The Broken Hearts (Make You Beautiful) with its hymn like approach (but the ending drags a bit also), Shitload of money with its 80′s hard rock vibe or pure power Losing my insanity will instantly turn your head around and make you much more interested in Stones Grow Her Name; very nice feature is that the album is very nicely varied so you will get to hear also trademark Sonata’s slow emotional song like The day and Don’t be mean and they have even included some country elements on Cinderblox.
Worthy of mentioning is the continuation of Wildfire saga that is placed at the very end of the album which will surely please the older fans due to fast driving double bass rhythms. So you have probably realized that Sonata Arctica made much effort in writing one varied album full of different moods which is in the same time much more up to the point than Unia and The days of graysand they have succeeded in that mision but one minus must be pointed out. The thing is that they still haven’t left that experimentation out of their systems and almost every song has one smaller or bigger part that serves nothing and goes nowhere, thus draggin the overall result down and making the album inconsistent even though every song has some pleasing moment that will grab you sooner or later.
Weird situation but in any way Stones Grow Her Name is one fine album, the band’s best since Reckoning night and I hope that they will continue in this direction since this kind of music is what they do best, they just need to trim it down a little bit as I have stated…
1. Only the Broken Hearts (Make You Beautiful)
2. Shitload of Money
3. Losing My Insanity
4. Somewhere Close to You
5. I Have a Right
6. Alone in Heaven
7. The Day
9. Don’t Be Mean
10. Wildfire II
11. Wildfire III
* Tommy Portimo - Drums
* Tony Kakko – Keyboards, Vocals
* Marko Paasikoski – Bass
* Henrik Klingenberg – Keyboards
* Elias Viljanen – Guitars
The review originally posted on Metal Sound