Sonata Arctica - The Ninth Hour
Nuclear Blast
Power Metal
11 songs (1'02'04'')
Release year: 2016
Sonata Arctica, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Jared

Ever since my days in high school, exploring metal genres left and right, it's easy to look back and not help but relive some great memories wash over me with Sonata Arctica. Albums like Silence resonates deep, probably being Sonata Arctica’s finest album to this day. But somewhere along the line, most notably with Unia in 2006, the band seemed to put a damper on the excitement for some. For me, Unia was a pretty good record, though obvious the band had been starting down their more progressive path. The Days of Grays was a much better effort, but Stones Grow Her Name, well, that’s another story for many. Following Pariah’s Child, the latest offering, The Ninth Hour, is a good album to say the least, but it still won’t win over fans of their early work.

Tony Kakko to this day still has an amazing voice, and it shows on The Ninth Hour. However, the instruments contain less blistering solos, and overall, much more tamed vibe as they have been in recent years. Now this isn’t a terrible thing, as they still have catchy memorable hooks to appreciate. Closer to an Animal kicks the album off in a heavy riffing fashion. A simple song, but one that easily gets the head banging and the urge to sing along. Sonata Arctica still gets a bit cheesy with their lyrics, like in the following track Life, but still fun as ever. Henrik gets fancy here on the keyboards with a great solo, still boasting with talent since joining in 2002, and does a solid job on this album as expected.

If you’re looking for something a bit slower, We Are What We Are provides a nice ballad to rock out to. But if something more aggressive is up your alley from the band, Till Death’s Done Us Apart, ups the tempo a bit with more aggressive drums and guitars. Thankfully there is a bit more of this sound to hear on the album. The old power metal Sonata Arctica feel returns later with Rise a Night. The speed is greatly increased that will no doubt provide a better rush of music than many of its track counterparts.

As the album gets closer to its end, there’s a familiar track that lays in wait, called White Pearl, Black Oceans Pt. II. This was no doubt an exciting song to lead up to, due to the fact that I fell in love with the original song from Reckoning Night. The beautiful orchestra that opens the track up is enough to give you goosebumps. However this one is a bit less robust than the original track from 2004. Despite that, this is still is a fantastic highlight from the album that is easy to revisit and love. It's simple proof that, after all these years,Sonata Arctica can still capture a grandeur sound.

I have to admit, I have always had a great liking towards Sonata Arctica. I remember fondly discovering them in my high school computer class and at that time, I couldn’t get enough of them. But you still can’t help to look back at the early days and feel bit sore about Jani Liimatainen being kicked out of the band, who in my opinion, had some huge shoes to fill when the decision was finally made. However, The Ninth Hour is a solid album, worthy of a listen if you’ve been a fan for years or just a bit curious to give these power metal veterans a shot. The more progressive sound they have emerged with since Unia I understand is difficult for many to swallow, but there’s still a good amount to enjoy from this band even in their later years.

Killing Songs :
Closer to an Animal, Life, Rise a Night, White Pearl Black Oceans Pt. II
Jared quoted 70 / 100
Other albums by Sonata Arctica that we have reviewed:
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
Sonata Arctica - For The Sake Of Revenge (DVD/CD) reviewed by Marty and quoted no quote
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