Sonata Arctica - Clear Cold Beyond

Sonata Arctica – Clear Cold Beyond (Album Review)

Sonata Arctica 2024

Finland’s own Sonata Arctica have accomplished a great deal in the world of Heavy Metal over the last thirty years. Initially coming together in 1995, since that time they have established themselves as a powerhouse band that mixed elements of Symphonic, Progressive, and Power Metal together. Accomplishing these feats with musically illustrative albums including their 1999 debut Power Metal classic Ecliptica, their 2001 album Silence, 2004’s Reckoning Night, leading through to 2019’s Talviyö. Growing along the way, they have experimented with different sounds, and even surprised their followers with two acoustic-based records in 2022; Acoustic Adventures – Volume One and Acoustic Adventures – Volume Two. Now, in 2024, they look to capture something magical once more with the new album Clear Cold Beyond.

Their first album of all new material with Atomic Fire, arriving on March 8th, Clear Cold Beyond marks their eleventh overall studio release. Consisting of ten songs, some may say the album harks back to elder Sonata Arctica stylings of Power Metal, all while doing what they have always done best… capture the beauty of a cold, Nordic landscape like no other. Something they have always excelled at, Clear Cold Beyond is a electrifying return to Heavy Metal following the two acoustic albums. Perhaps a cleansing of sorts for the band, judging by these new songs, they seem to be invigorated in writing and recording Heavy Metal with color and outstanding riffs.

To start, Clear Cold Beyond’s “First in Lines” is Power Metal at its finest and gives you a true sampling of Sonata Arctica’s music skills. “California” continues the strong and powerful rhythm. Quite intense, it features a speedy tempo, rapid double-kick on the drums, but also melodies which complement the musical equation. Providing more examples of of what this album offers, “A Monster Only You Can See” begins like a bar song, but quickly launches into a very memorable chorus. Additionally, catchy melodies hook you in on tracks like “Angel Defiled,” but also the guitar-heavy “A Cure For Everything.” 

These example tracks laid out, what also truly stands out on Clear Cold Beyond is Tony Kakko’s vocal performance. As strong as it has ever been, Kakko’s voice takes you by the hand and guides you throughs stories that lend themselves to beautiful internal images of snowy winters. Interestingly, all these stories seem to fit together nicely like one massive puzzle. Furthermore, with winter scenes ever-present in each track, the slower melodies and faster Power Metal urgency all seem to join together for the perfect balance. 

Overall, Sonata Arctica prove that they are masters of creating music with depth, layers, and varying elements that all complement one another. In the end, Clear Cold Beyond is a beautiful album that you can listen to over and over again and still not have grasped everything the band has put into each song. Featuring brilliant arrangements and creative lyrics that tell tales that you can lost in, it could be one of their best albums in some time. Power Metal at its finest, Cryptic Rock gives Clear Cold Beyond 4.5 out of 5 stars. 

Sonata Arctica - Clear Cold Beyond
Sonata Arctica – Clear Cold Beyond / Atomic Fire (2024)

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