Sonata Arctica - For The Sake Of Revenge (DVD/CD)
Nuclear Blast
Melodic Power / Progressive Metal
Disc 1: 20 songs (92'45) Disc 2: 15 songs (69'54)
Release year: 2006
Sonata Arctica, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Marty
For The Sake Of Revenge marks the first live DVD release by the Finnish prog/power metal masters. Recorded in Tokyo Japan in February of 2005 on the Reckoning Night world tour, this gives fans of the band who have never seen them live a chance to see them in action. Those who have seen them know all too well just what a solid live band that Sonata Arctica is and with the camera angles, great live sound and a solid all-round set list, this is the next best thing to being there.

Sonata Arctica have been a solid force in the speedy, melodic progressive metal genre ever since their amazing debut album Ecliptica in 1998. In a genre that was once dominated by Stratovarius, the consistent song writing and ever-improving sound of Sonata Arctica has many fans considering them to be a notch above their predecessors. Several albums back, they hired keyboardist Henrik Klingenberg which allowed vocalist Tony Kakko to step out from behind the keyboards to become the front man for the band. He has settled in quite nicely and does a great job in one of the most difficult positions for any band.

After the opening interlude Prelude To Reckoning, the band rips into the speedy Misplaced from Reckoning Night. The stage backdrop is a cool winter scene much like the cover of their Takatalvi CD wit their logo emblazoned across the top. The crowd goes crazy and seems to sing along to every word. They continue with Reckoning Night material with Blinded No More; an odd choice for a second song of the set as it disrupts the fierce energy of Misplaced. Things get going again with Full Moon, a fan favorite from their Ecliptica album. The band eventually delivers a 90 minute set chocked full of favorites although there are a few puzzling omissions from their set list. Besides the aforementioned tracks, others from Reckoning Night include Don't Say A Word and the very emotional Shamandalie in which Tony delivers an awesome and passionate vocal performance.

Besides Full Moon, other Ecliptica material on this DVD includes My Land, Kingdom For A Heart, an explosive version of 8th Commandment and an amazing version of Replica which sees Tony absolutely nailing the vocal. They're surprisingly light on material from the Silence album with Black Sheep and Sing In Silence being the only tracks. There's no Weballergy or Wolf And Raven; two very popular tracks from that album. The Winterheart's Guild album gets revisited with Victoria's Secret (or "underwear music" as Tony announces to the crowd) as well as Broken, Gravenimage and the final track, the second encore, The Cage which is very feisty version and speedy which leads into the sing-a-long "Vodka Song". San Sebastian from their Successor EP gets a very spirited treatment with some awesome guitar and keyboard lead trade-offs, great singing by the Tokyo crowd and finishes off the main part of their set with Henrik Klingenberg smashing his portable "keytar" to bits before the band leaves the stage.

The performances by all band members are nothing short of spectacular. Aside from bassist Marko Paasikoski having a rather shy stage presence, the rest of the band is very energetic onstage. Guitarist Jani Liimatainen is a beast on the guitar and aside from blasting out power chords, his syncopation with keyboardist Henrik Klingenberg during the many harmony guitar/keyboard lead breaks is nothing short of amazing. Everything is executed perfectly. Drummer Tommy Portino is as rock solid as ever and the real surprise for me is the performance of Tony Kakko. After hearing their live album Songs Of Silence as well as other live recordings featured on some of their EP's and CD singles, Tony's voice often sounded strained especially when hitting the high notes. On this DVD, his voice is flawless. Rarely does he strain his voice or sound off key at any point in time and the backing vocals by Jani, Henrik and Marko all blend together to produce the kind of rich harmonized vocal sound that you don't normally get in a live situation with any band. I don't know whether anything was "touched up" in the studio or not but regardless, the results speak for themselves. Extras include a one-page bio of every band member and some behind the scenes hijinx during their last world tour. This package comes as a 2 disc set with the concert DVD as well as an edited audio CD version at the cost of an average CD. This is a great deal and a solid idea to give both versions to the fans in one package. Live CDs should be phased out in favor of packages like this where you get both the live CD and DVD together.

As I mentioned earlier, there's a few tracks I would've liked to have seen but with so much material now to cover, there's always going to be issues with the track list either with a live DVD release or in a concert situation. Regardless, For The Sake Of Revenge sees Sonata Arctica in top form and despite their relatively young age (most are still in their 20's), it's easy to see why they are considered one of the top melodic power metal bands in existence today. For fans of the band, this one's a must and for those who haven't yet checked them out, this would be a great introduction.

Killing Songs :
Misplaced, Full Moon, Replica, 8th Commandment, San Sebastian, Don't Say A Word and The Cage
Marty quoted no quote
Other albums by Sonata Arctica that we have reviewed:
Sonata Arctica - The Ninth Hour reviewed by Jared and quoted 70 / 100
Sonata Arctica - Pariah's Child reviewed by Joel and quoted 85 / 100
Sonata Arctica - Stones Grow Her Name reviewed by Cory and quoted 71 / 100
Sonata Arctica - The Days Of Grays reviewed by Elias and quoted 95 / 100
Sonata Arctica - Unia reviewed by Chris and quoted 55 / 100
To see all 15 reviews click here
3 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 14 replies to this review. Last one on Sat Jun 24, 2006 8:31 pm
View and Post comments