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Monday, November 28, 2022

Review: Sonata Arctica – Acoustic Adventures – Volume Two

Label: Atomic Fire Records

Date: September 30th, 2022

Well this is awkward… I’m basically supposed to write a review for disc two, while I’ve written one for disc one a few months ago. So, how do I make it different from the one I’ve already published? Thinking about it now, I probably should’ve waited for this one and then written both into one. Alas, I haven’t, so now I’m in this position where I’m about to write what I’ve already written.

Diving into act two of these adventures, it still sounds weird to me. Perhaps even weirder this time, considering we’ve got a much better song selection on “Volume Two”. Okay, maybe not better, since that is very much a matter of personal taste, but definitely a collection of more recognizable material by the famed Finns. “Black Sheep”, “Letter to Dana”, “Fullmoon”, “My Land”, “Victoria’s Secret”… Among twelve tracks performed, there’s at least seven major hits from the band’s repertoire. That’s the best invitation for the fans. Not even counting the die-hard ones, as they’re already on their way to the local record shop. Even if you’re the one who let go of Sonata Arctica after their classic records from the turn of the century. There’s more than enough for the whole lot of you.

Essentially, go get it and see if it sounds less weird to your ears. I cannot get over these oh-so-powerful tracks in this mellower setting.

I still cannot put my finger on why it is so. I mean, the record is performed to perfection. Sonata Arctica had a great idea, especially since they decided to present these versions live at first. Testing them out probably gave them the impression that a double acoustic record would turn out great. In this regard I believe it would’ve been much better if they recorded these tracks live. It would probably add to the adrenaline impact on the listener.

In the studio setting even “Letter to Dana” sounds somewhat anticlimactic. Add to it the slowed down versions of “Victoria’s Secret” and especially “San Sebastian”, you will get rather confused. “Fullmoon”, on the other hand, sounds a bit more menacing than the original and somewhat better fitting to the theme. Those are just some examples. I dare say none of the tracks are kept the same as they were. It’s never just the fact that Sonata Arctica has unplugged the amps. They’ve done stuff to their own tracks. It’s the question of finding and accepting these switches.

Still, regarding each of these two albums, let me advise a multitude of listening sessions. Give the recording some time. I cannot quite guarantee positive results, as I’m still filled with mixed feelings, but Sonata Arctica has been around for so long and has yet to disappoint, so they’ve earned the right to step out of bounds for a while.

After all, they’re about to bring this acoustic setting back on the road soon. As I see, they’re swerving around my country once again, so I might need to head out to Budapest or Vienna to see the show. Whether I will get there or not, I surely would love to hear it. It is likely to clear my head towards these “Acoustic Adventures”.