Album Review: Sonata Arctica – Acoustic Adventures – Volume 1
Stripped-down sounds for strong emotions
Finnish power metal band Sonata Arctica have released their first all-acoustic album titled Acoustic Adventures – Volume 1. The album consists of 12 tracks, most of which are over three and a half minutes long. Acoustic Adventures – Volume 1 draws inspiration from their 2019 Acoustic Adventures Tour in which the band focused on making more acoustic shows, expanding their sound with soft percussion, flutes and more keyboards.
Sonata Arctica is composed of vocalist Tony Kakko, guitarist and banjo player Elias Viljanen, keyboardist Henrik Klingenberg, bassist Pasi Kauppinen and percussionist Tommy Portimo. The band recorded Acoustic Adventures – Volume 1 at Studio57 with the help of producer Mikko Tegelman. All of the songs on the album were written by vocalist and frontman Tony Kakko, who expertly creates vocals that perfectly match the keyboard melodies. This acoustic disc describes the ever-changing sound of Sonata Arctica, which constantly changes with each album.
The album begins with “The Rest of The Sun Belongs To Me”, a nearly six-minute song that begins with heavy acoustic guitar that commands attention. Tony Kakko’s voice is beautifully adorned with a sweet keyboard and tambourine melody. Although the majority of the songs are taken from Sonata Arctica’s previous album United, the songs have been reinvented by their acoustic quality, resulting in a completely different sound. For example, “A Little Less Understanding” is stripped of its heavy energy, replacing the fast electric guitars with a charming banjo, moving the song towards a more uplifting atmosphere.
In the middle of the album is the track titled “Don’t Say A Word”, Sonata Arctica’s first single to debut at No. 1 in the Finnish charts in 2004. However, this new version is transformed from the four-minute anthem with the guitar solos fans are used to, to a six-minute ballad with dramatic piano. This track is brilliantly edited in many ways that could be considered better than the original, and might even be perfectly suited for a climactic movie scene. “Wolf & Raven” is another track that stands out as it is driven by incredibly fast piano and Kakko’s very expressive vocals which breathe new life into the song.
Ultimately, Acoustic Adventures – Volume 1 allowed Sonata Arctica to reinvent some of their work into completely stripped-down material, conveying a more personal connection to its audience. Acoustic albums are always something to be wary of, but Sonata Arctica poured their heart and soul into this project, making it one of their greatest works to date.