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Sonata Arctica with Delain & Xandria Details
Sonata Arctica with Delain & Xandria
SONATA ARCTICA are no strangers to having fans cross several state lines to meet them, or to making entire venues sing themselves hoarse when they play their high-speed, keyboard-laden, and righteously melodic heavy metal music. Stirring up youth in the hearts of many and acting like a sonic beacon for fans seeking the ultimate adrenaline high, Finland’s ambassadors of light and hope have toiled through difficult times long enough to harvest an award-winning career. Naming the new album after the Finnish word for “dreams,” Unia takes a decidedly progressive and theatrical direction. For founding member / lead singer / lead lyricist Tony Kakko, this creative freedom was inspired by a “thinking outside the box” episode with a song he wrote for Finland’s Agnes Pihlava, the winner of Finland’s televised talent competition Idol Star (their equivalent of American Idol) in 2005. But before moving forward, let us go back to when things began…
After receiving word that their second album, Silence, went Gold, SONATA ARCTICA embarked on another Finnish tour, and then set their sights on touring North America with Nightwish. Despite the latter tour’s cancellation, the band still played nine East Coast shows, including a performance at the New England Metal & Hardcore Festival. Judging from the audience response, a headlining tour was in order. In December 2005, Winterheart’s Guild achieved Gold status in Finland, and SONATA ARCTICA celebrated by treating North American fans to sold-out shows and audience sing-alongs in January and February 2006. While on tour in the U.S., 2004’s Reckoning Night became their third certified Finnish Gold album and netted over 100,000 copies sold worldwide. Showcasing their live showmanship, the band released their first DVD, For The Sake Of Revenge, in 2006, transporting all SONATA ARCTICA fans present at Shibuya AX in Tokyo, Japan on February 4th & 5th, 2005 into the standing room only crowds of the touring & backstage worlds they inhabit.
Even with an honored recipe for success, SONATA members would rather risk an ambitious shift than to become complacent in their songwriting. While the band could have easily written Reckoning Night Revisited, Unia demonstrates how change is food for the soul and how as a relatively young band, they still have an endless supply of musical styles left to explore. Featuring a bouzouki on “The Harvest,” one could argue that an exotic guest instrument does not necessarily make an album progressive; the instrument’s presence is significant more for the challenge and inventiveness it represents. Still recognizable are Kakko’s emotive vocals (“Paid In Full”), Klingenberg’s keyboards racing along with Liimatainen’s guitars (“In Black And White”), recognizable lyrical themes (“Caleb”), and even the reappearance of SONATA’s ever-present wolf mascot in “It Won’t Fade.” Landing a Number One Single in their homeland with “Paid In Full” and beating out Ozzy Osbourne (!) on the Finnish charts to secure the Number One Album, SONATA ARCTICA are a textbook example of how dreams can be put into action, what dreams can help you achieve, and why dreams are worth believing in.