Epic power metal is becoming a rarer and rarer beast, especially the ultra-melodic sort that Sonata Arctica plays. And though the Finnish group wisely avoids grandiose, faeries-and-goblins lyricism in favor of broader gestures of "pain" and "darkness" and other existential dilemmas, the swooping thrust of these 10 songs is unmistakable. The synthesizer accompaniment is understated, but provides just the right amount of mystical melodicism to temper the propulsive double-guitar riffs that define the songs.
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