Sonata Arctica Silence

The majority of the time, bands playing the Euro power/speed metal sound appear to use every ounce of their creative talent in the creation of majestic choruses and lightning fast arpeggiated guitar solos, in effect leaving a whole lot to be desired on the lyrical front. Neither does it help that bands of this ilk tend to record so that every single musical note and vocal utterance can be heard without having to beat the living tar out of your CD player's scan button. Sometimes, we can forgive ridiculous pronunciations and lyrical non sequiturs because most Euro power/speed bands don't have English as their mother tongue. Sometimes we can forgive the ridiculous stream of consciousness passages because, hell, at least they're trying to do something different. However, the buck has to stop at some point and Finland's Sonata Arctica have crossed all boundaries of good sense and taste. As a band, they are superb, schooling the listener in classic metal song structuring, flowing speed metal pieced together by stupendous bridges, a synthesis of guitar, keys and rhythm section tighter than a duck's ass. But the following actually emitted from singer Tony Kakko's mouth, "The moment I will step aside/You're ready for another ride/Walking in the cool night air/Without underwear," ("Last Drop Falls") and "Life can do it in many ways/Toss dirt on your face/But I am your man/And for you I do all I can," ("False News Travel Fast"). It goes on like this for about an hour. Yeesh! (Spinefarm)