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“For The Sake Of Revenge” by Sonata Arctica

Artist: Sonata Arctica
Title: “For The Sake Of Revenge” CD/DVD
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: 4/4/2006
Genre: Melodic Power Metal
Rating: 8/10

Are you still wondering what Sonata Arctica is all about? If this is the case then let me quickly bring you up to speed. Originating in Finland (gee what a surprise), the band that was formed in 1999 quickly became a fan favorite and were often paired with the Finnish juggernaut Nightwish. In 2003 they released “Winterheart’s Guild” a Melodic Power Metal heads dream album. The record was full of blistering riffs and rousing vocals and so good that it is considered some of their best material. When the band joined the ranks of Nuclear Blast Records and released “Reckoning Night” in 2004, the ground work began for the groups US invasion. Performances with legendary thrashers Overkill found the group surprised at their overall response for it seemed as while they were new to the United States shores, it would be in personnel only; their music had already arrived and the fans were waiting hungrily. Recorded in 2005 in Japan as the band continued to support “Reckoning Night”, this live CD with bonus DVD is your perfect chance to jump on board and find out what you have been missing so far. Yes, not only do you get a 15 song concert performance in audio but you have the full show that runs over an hour in length on the DVD. The film brings you 20 of the bands best songs and is a great treat for the fans for even if you don’t own “Reckoning Night” or “Winterheart’s Guild” you are not going to be lost. The group made sure to bring to life a number of songs from their back catalog during the show and this alone makes this product a must-have. Start to finish this is a great scope of material and allows you to press forward with the band in preparation for their new studio album which is being planned.
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Sonata Arctica @ B.B. King Blues Club (1/18/2006)

Logo - Sonata Arctica

Artist: Sonata Arctica
Venue: B.B. King Blues Club (New York, NY)
Opener: Queen Of The Ryche (tribute band)
Date: 1/18/2006
Label: Nuclear Blast Records

Finland has been one of the strongest contributors to the world of Metal music over the most recent few years. Of the many notable bands we have seen Nightwish make a dent in the Operatic Metal world while Finntroll serves up the Folk Metal side. Melodic Power Metal gets delivered a hefty blow by the one and only Sonata Arctica and for listeners of this end of the genre there are few better at it. Tonight, the guys in the group would be continuing the support of their Nuclear Blast release “Reckoning Night”. In early 2005 the band performed for the first time in the US with Thrash Metal legends Overkill. It was an interesting blend of styles and Sonata truly came out as a powerhouse that night. It would be great to find them on their first headlining tour for this run of shows. They would be the only major group performing for the night and across the tour different openers were being featured. For the New York appearance fans would be treated to of all things a Queensryche tribute band called “Queen Of The Ryche”. I had heard the name before and worried that this totally driven Sonata fan base would not be so accepting yet when the group began they certainly showed that there were chops aplenty. Lead singer Todd Kaminski leads the troupe formerly known as Lestat through the best Queensryche material in existence. Highlights of their set would definitely be the “Operation Mindcrime material and with the Ryche ready to unleash a new CD on the world I think this was a nice choice to have in New York.
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“Reckoning Night” by Sonata Arctica

Artist: Sonata Arctica
Title: “Reckoning Night”
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: 11/2004
Genre: Power Metal
Rating: 7.5/10

Sonata Arctica is one of those Finnish bands that have been causing quite the stir in the metal scene. When one thinks of the best performers of Power Metal, they are among the first to come up in the same sentence as Nightwish and EdGuy. Now distributed in the USA by Nuclear Blast, they have returned with the CD “Reckoning Night”. For this release I admit that I expected a little more. I had found their previous release “Winterheart’s Guild” to be a work of metal genius. It is very good, but does not seem to possess the intensity that I found on the other release. The 10 tracks I found go between very heavy and fast to your almost sing along-able type of track. Sonata often has the variety in their CD’s. The lineup is Tony Kakko (vocals), Jani Liimatainen (guitars), Tommy Portimo (drums), Marko Paasikoski (bass), and Henrik Klingenberg (keyboards). Fans of the technical side will enjoy how the members of Sonata play off of one another during the songs.
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Overkill @ B.B. King Blues Club (4/14/2005)

Logo - Overkill

Artist: Overkill
Venue: B.B. King Blues Club, NYC
Opener: Sonata Arctica
Date: 4-14-2005
Label: Spitfire Records

I have to admit that my personal excitement was at a very high level for this show and there are a couple of reasons for this being the case. Not only would Overkill be returning to home turf to lay down the metal in support of their latest Spitfire Records release “ReliXIV” but this show would also feature Finnish Power Metal kings Sonata Arctica. What made it extra special was the fact that this Sonata was going to be in NYC for the very first time. Originally, they were set to open for Nightwish but that tour had been mysteriously cancelled for the US Dates. Fans of Sonata were up in arms for now what were going to be the chances of seeing them play over here. Luckily Overkill placed them on some dates and they also grabbed a festival or two. The other great aspect of this night would be that instead of sitting through five bands, we would only have these two super groups. In this you would get lengthier sets from both groups. Mind you, I enjoy when all 5 bands are kick ass, but that is few and far between. B.B. King Blues Club was again the venue for this appearance and it would never be the same again. Metal would be present in a united front that took pioneers in thrash from the USA and put reigning European kings of power on the same stage. The show was completely sold out, and proves to those that say metal music is dead that they should keep their mouths shut. The venue hold about 1100 people and selling this out is no feat to be scoffed at.
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“From Wishes To Eternity” [DVD] by Nightwish

Artist: Nightwish
Title: “From Wishes To Eternity”
Label: MSI Music Corp.
Release Date: 3/13/2000
Genre: Operatic Power Metal
Rating: 10/10

I was lucky enough to see this DVD in one of my very favorite Metal CD Music Stores out in New Jersey. You see, I had heard Nightwish at a Friends place where some music had been downloaded. Yes, I know this is bad, but I had nothing to do with it. Anyway, I instantly fell in love with what I was hearing and of course when I realized that this band was from Finland I knew I could count on never ever getting to see them play live in my area. As a fan of live video DVD’s I enjoyed this one a little more than others as it had more of a feel of being at the concert. One could appreciate the lighting and pyrotechnics as well as the full stage setup that they use. There were frequent pans from the back sections as well as many great close ups of the beautiful Tarja and her bandmates (Tuomas, Jukka, Emppu and Marco …..keyboards, drums, guitar and bass respectively).
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