SONATA ARCTICA – Acoustic Adventures - Volume One
January 26, 2022, 4 months ago
Sonata Arctica has songs that are perfect for a softer environment and the past couple years saw the Finnish power rockers (I hesitate to call them power metal anymore) go on tour stripping their songs from their electric wisdom and performing them in an acoustic setting. With touring upended by COVID-19, they held a livestream event showcasing the intimacy of these songs as well. Now comes a full-fledged album and judging by the title, a second one will be on the way.
With Acoustic Adventures, the album is indeed an adventure that balances the energetic, reflective, heartbreak, and romanticism that has defined the Finns’ career and the emotional and charismatic vocals from Tony Kakko make it worthwhile. While it’s disappointing no songs from the debut or Winterheart’s Guild (unless you’re counting Japanese bonus track “The Rest Of The Sun Belongs To Me”) make the offering, the tracklisting focuses more on material post-Reckoning Day.
Sonata mostly doesn’t mess with the original treatment of the tracks, however two notable rearrangements are better than their original counterparts – the aforementioned “The Rest Of The Sun Belongs To Me” turns into a softer, soulful song which breathes a wondrous melody and chorus part while “A Little Less Understanding” introduces a banjo for rhythmic purposes and the backup use of the organ makes it a barn door, easy-going rocker, like an off-kilter song that Gotthard would perform.
As for the hits – mammoth “Don’t Say A Word” retains its creepy edge, complete with spoken word part in the middle, taken care of by an insane Kakko, while the ultra-fast “Wolf & Raven” holds its intensity with lightning quick piano skills and another great vocal performance. The ballad “Tallulah”, with its rich melody and chorus was a no-brainer to choose and “Paid In Full” retains its uplifting, yet depressive nature. Could have done without the Toni Braxton like “Tonight I Dance Alone”, but including the odd “As If The World Wasn’t Ending” was a smart decision.
Acoustic Adventures Volume One fits a certain mood when not wanting to be engulfed in the electric madness and is a fine diversion with worthy reinterpretations of songs in their catalogue.