February 22, 2022 Sonata Arctica – Acoustic Adventures – Volume One (Album Review)
When you think of the top tier of European Power Metal bands Nightwish (Finland), HammerFall (Sweden), and Helloween (Germany) are probably some which immediately come to mind. Well, right there with them, just as consistent and relevant over the last two plus decades are none other than Finland’s Sonata Arctica. Established since 1995, Sonata Arctica has toured the world, released ten chart topping studio albums, and now return with a unique effort entitled Acoustic Adventures – Volume One.
Released on January 21, 2022 through Atomic Fire, this is the first part of their two-piece Acoustic Adventures project. Some might wonder what exactly is Acoustic Adventures? Well the answer is pretty self-explanatory, it is acoustic adaptions that cherry picks from Sonata Arctica’s entire discography. Acoustic Adventures – Volume One consists of twelve tracks in total which covers everything from 2001’s Silence to 2019’s Talviyö.
Lasting for almost an hour, while some acoustic adaptions can feel unnatural, Sonata Arctica’s Acoustic Adventures feels inspired and quite fitting. It all starts with 2003’s “The Rest Of The Sun Belongs To Me” setting the mood with soft, smooth acoustics that match flawlessly with the tracks beautifully tragic lyrics. A great revamping that fades out with some Spanish guitar, next up 2006’s “For The Sake Of Revenge” takes on some new theatric vibes that paints visual imagery to get lost in. Then comes “A Little Less Understanding” which is slightly lighter than the 2019 version, but mostly thanks to the unique usage of a banjo in the chorus. This is while 2012’s “Alone In Heaven” offers something a little faster and more upbeat, yet still somber.
Continuing to create different textures with instrumentation, beautiful piano dresses 2001’s “Tallulah” before the thriving sensation of 2004’s “Don’t Say A Word,” the powerful “As If The World Wasn’t Ending” from 2009, and more piano tingling tones complete 2007’s “Paid in Full.” From here much of the new renditions sound similar to the originals, such as 2012’s “Tonight I Dance Alone.” Not at all a negative thing, it is still very fun to listen to and if you are really a fan can appreciate the subtlety of the recordings. For example, 2014’s “The Wolves Die Young” has some delightful bright tones, while 2001’s “Wolf & Raven” is more speedy before 2016’s “On The Faultline” wrap up Volume One in a magnificent way.
Sonata Arctica take you on a journey into their vast history with Acoustic Adventures – Volume One. Each song features wonderful arrangements and equally impassioned performances by the band. You can think of it as a special live concert, but within the comfort of your own stereo system. Many of the songs are obvious selections, so it will be interesting to see if Volume Two features more obscure selections from the band’s discography. Until then, Cryptic Rock gives Acoustic Adventures – Volume One 5 out of 5 stars.