Released by Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date : September 6th, 2019
Genre: Melodic Metal, Power Metal
Tony Kakko – Vocals, Keyboards
Elias Viljanen – Guitar
Pasi Kauppinen – Bass
Henrik Klingenberg – Keyboards
Tommy Portimo – Drums
1. Message From The Sun
4. Storm The Armada
5. The Last Of The Lambs
6. Who Failed The Most
7. Ismo’s Got Good Reactors
8. Demon’s Cage
9. A Little Less Understanding
10. The Raven Still Flies With You
11. The Garden
Finnish veterans Sonata Arctica are about to release their tenth studio album under the giant label Nuclear Blast Records. Even though the Scandinavian act has established some speedy power metal anthems with their first four records, it seems that they have chosen a different direction in the last twelve years of music career, by expanding their horizons to more melodic, progressive mid-tempo sounds. “Talviyö”, a Finnish word translated as “Winter’s Night”, confirms the exploratory nature of the band by including melodic and groove sounds with folk, classical and alternative rock elements. This new release shows the experimental tendencies of the group into creating diversity in atmosphere and vision. The frontman Tony Kakko remains the main songwriter, but this is the first time that the band has used an external producer, Miko Tegelman and there is also an exceptional artwork by the photo artist Onni Wiljami.
The opening “Message From The Sun” is one of the fastest tracks of the album and an attempt to return back to the old days of “Reckoning Night”, but without any real aggression or memorable hook in it. “Whirlwind”, a love song with an interesting work on keyboards and guitar riffs is followed by “Cold”, a feeling good rocking anthem. Both of the songs are less emotional than expected, maybe because of some flat vocal parts. The atmosphere remains pretty much the same with “Storm The Armada”, a nice melody but with a poppy feel, one of the songs dedicated to climate change. A haunting ballad, “The Last Of The Lambs” continues the Caleb saga, a series of songs following the life of a stalker who died by the hand of his victim. Although this tune starts in a beautiful way, it tends to repeat itself until its fading end. It’s time for “Who Failed The Most”, another tune about the failure into halting climate change in an upbeat but depressing mood, which fits very well to Tony Kakko’s voice. It also contains some cool bass lines and a catchy chorus.
The instrumental song entitled “Ismo’s Got Good Reactors” which includes some very interesting guitar work and old school power metal elements is followed by the political “Demon’s Cage”. This track is a mixture of power and symphonic melodies with fast-paced drum parts and beautiful piano riffs. It’s time for one of the catchiest but weakest songs: “A Little Less Understanding” includes an important message on how people don’t teach their children to behave properly, so they are not ready for the real world. Unfortunately, the poppy feeling given by the melody of the tune fails to reinforce the meaning of the lyrics. There is also a story about a lost child hidden behind the words of “The Raven Still Flies With You” with an intense symphonic style and some folk elements. The final song “The Garden” gives a powerful message about being thankful for the good things in life and includes piano melodies and acoustic guitar parts.
Sonata Arctica has created an album which combines a lot of elements of their classic power metal era, but the addition of many pop/rock elements shows the intentions of innovation. These experimental tendencies are more obvious by the external production used for the first time: the final result makes all the instruments sound very clearly. Moreover, there is a very captivating lyricism, dealing with humanity and the songs are diverse in style and sound. Even if the Finnish band keeps on taking the path of originality by adding less typical metal parts with brilliant storytelling and musical creativity, some of the songs sound bland and indifferent. Overall, Talviyö doesn’t have enough elevating moments, even when the band chooses to be more reflective or theatrical with their melodies and hooks. Being loyal to innovation is a very positive thing, but sometimes the new elements are not perfectly integrated into the old ones, giving birth to some awkward sounds. This album will please the fans of the latest material of Sonata Arctica, since the Scandinavian group has made a great job in establishing their new musical direction. Undoubtedly, the audience that prefers the sound of “Ecliptica” or “Silence” will not appreciate this path of innovation.
Written by: Katerina Paisoglou
My Global Mind – Staff Writer