SONATA ARCTICA – Acoustic Adventures Volume One (2022)
SONATA ARCTICA will embark on an extensive, 15 date acoustic Finnish tour in February / March 2022. The band is ecstatic to lift their Acoustic Adventures concept to a new level; ”We have come a long way with our Acoustic Adventures project; now it’s time to put out a couple of records from it, the first one to be released in early 2022″
To be released next Friday, ”Acoustic Adventures Volume One” is beautiful crafted selection of tunes from the bands’ catalog performed in a series of stripped, acoustically re-arranged renditions. For a band with a bombastic electric like SONATA ARCTICA this is a challenge, but results couldn’t been better.
Here you get the chance to discover how good songwriters they are – a good song is always a good song – so if you never liked SONATA ARCTICA’s overblown sound, I’m sure you will find a lot to enjoy here. Of course, if you dig their music, these new versions are a mandatory listen.
”Acoustic Adventures Volume One” takes the bands’ signature sound and extracts the heaviness to render the songs in a breathtaking new light. That’s not to say that the songs have completely lost their heaviness but are heavy in a different and unique way.
Perhaps that’s not that surprising, though. Over the course of two-plus decades, Tony Kakko and his band of morose melody makers have played around with the notion of what a “metal” band should be, organically shifting their sound from flat-out power metal to icy melodic rock and everything in-between.
Despite the name “Acoustic Adventures”, it’s not entirely an acoustic album. It’s more akin to a re-imagining of the songs performed live in the studio together. Substituting the tried and true formula of distorted guitars and massive drums for something more intimate. Taking the bones of original songs from across the band’s career, the performances present a fresh perspective that adds a compelling and frankly gorgeous spin absent from the original recordings.
Beginning with the goosebump-inducing “The Rest of the Sun Belongs to Me” which was originally a Japan-only bonus track off the 2003 album Winterheart Guild, Sonata Arctica quickly establishes what this performance is about. Glorious though subtle tension builds in the verses that suspend in bridges and hint at resolve before breaking into euphoric, grand choruses.
This leads into the track “For the Sake of Revenge” which presents as though it came from a Danny Elfman soundtrack. Musing with flowing rhythm, singer Tony Kakko bleeds emotion so strongly that he almost leaps from the speaker in an impassioned plea to the listener.
While the guitars are mostly acoustic, there are a few clean electric guitars abound, namely on the song “The Wolves Die Young”. Jangly clean strat-type guitars dance around a heavily distorted bass and madly tango’s with piano parts. Speaking of keys, Henkka adds a massive amount of heaviness throughout the album with his virtuosic playing. Especially when he employs an organ in tracks like “Alone in Heaven” or rips out INTENSE neo-classical shredding as heard on “Wolf and Raven”.
This is far from a typical acoustic album. Sonata Arctica have taken the very best parts of their catalog appropriate for this setting and meticulously developed them to create something that sounds like performance and not production.
Moments of dynamic brilliance adorn the entire performance and the band is deliberate in how they present each section. Key changes, volume swells, the timbre of instruments, tempo changes, and ambiance lend to a monumental density of heart-stopping moments. This isn’t even touching on the vocal production that knows exactly when to walk alone or to layer harmonies. There truly exists an extreme variety and master of musicianship on “Acoustic Adventures” that is somewhat uncommon in contemporary music.
01 – The Rest of the Sun Belongs To Me
02 – For the Sake of Revenge
03 – A Little Less Understanding
04 – Alone In Heaven
05 – Tallulah
06 – Don’t Say a Word
07 – As If the World Wasn’t Ending
08 – Paid In Full
09 – Tonight I Dance Alone
10 – The Wolves Die Young
11 – Wolf & Raven
12 – On the Faultline