Published Sep 04, 2019Strap on your silver boots and set course for Europop because Sonata Arctica are back! They've been one of power metal's most dependable bands, chugging out records consistently without ever pushing too far from their epic roots. As such, Talviyö is remarkable because it does what Sonata Arctica have never done before — it takes a breath and slows down.
Could this be maturity talking? Of course not! Sonata Arctica are still full to the brim with the creamiest cheese. Exhibit A is the lyrics, which range from nonsensical camp ("I don't want to build an enslaving bridge of vanities" on "A Little Less Understanding") to unintentionally hilarious (the entirety of "Who Failed the Most"). It's telling that the album's standout track is the instrumental "Ismo's Got Good Reactors."
But it's on the musical side where the evolution of Sonata Arctica shines through. On the surface, they sound like they always have, but there's a finesse to the acoustic guitar pluckings on "Whirlwind" and "Cold" that is new. It's comparable to the Gothenburg greats — In Flames' The Jester's Race or Dark Tranquillity's Damage Done.
The overall aesthetic still borders on becoming a Christmas album if the wrong line is dropped, but Sonata Arctica have never been grim. This is an album made for people who love life. If you don't smile while listening, you are doing it wrong. (Nuclear Blast)