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A progressive Power Metal band from Finland formed in 1996. They were originally called Tricky Beans and played hard rock. In 1997, they changed their name to Tricky Means, clearly a drastic change. Then they moved on to traditional fast power metal in the style of bands like Stratovarius, and recorded Ecliptica. "Tricky Means" did not seem like an appropriate name for a power metal band, so they changed their name to Sonata Arctica.
Eventually, Mikko Harkin joined as the keyboardist, bassist Janne Kivilahti left, and ex-guitarist Marko Paasikoski came back to play bass. Silence was released. In 2002, Mikko left, and Winterheart's Guild was recorded with the help of Jens Johansson from Stratovarius. The band narrowed their search for a new keyboardist down to two potential members, and spent some time getting both of them drunk to see how they would get along with the band. Henrik Klingenberg passed the test. In 2004, Reckoning Night was released; it had some progressive influences, and if this was a novel, I'd call that foreshadowing. But, to get on with the story, a live DVD, For the Sake of Revenge, was recorded in Japan in 2005.
In 2006, the band found they had a problem: Jani still hadn't finished his civil service, which is mandatory in Finland, and couldn't leave the country, so Elias Viljanen replaced him for the tour. As if this didn't annoy the fans enough, Sonata Arctica decided they were completely and utterly bored of power metal. Unia came out in 2007, and was a rather sudden switch to progressive metal. Some fans loved it, some hated it. Elias permanently replaced Jani as the guitarist shortly after. In 2009, The Days of Grays came out, and got reactions as mixed as Unia did. Another live DVD was recorded in April of 2011 in Oulu, Finland, and released later that year. In May 2012, the band released Stones Grow Her Name, and has once again drawn sharply polarized reactions from fans and critics.
An Action-RPG named Winterheart's Guild based on the band is being developed by Zelian Games. It's currently in Development Hell due to Zelian Games concentrating more on xOrbic, which will form the foundation of the Winterheart's Guild game. No release date has been announced as of yet, but a playable demo was shown at E3 2007. The band members themselves will be the player characters and the game's soundtrack will be provided by the band. It is confirmed that the game will contain at least one new, unreleased Sonata Arctica song.
Just remember: 1. Wolves, not dragons. 2. The lyrics are not personal stories. Not even those that really really sound like they are.
- Vocals: Tony Kakko (1996-present)
- Guitar: Elias Viljanen (2007-present)
- Bass: Marko Paasikoski (2000-present, but played guitar from 1996 to 1997)
- Drums: Tommy Portimo (1996-present)
- Keyboard: Henrik Klingenberg (2003-present)
- Giutar: Jani Liimatainen (1996-2007)
- Bass: Pentti Peura (1996-1998), Janne Kivilahti (1998-2000)
- Keyboard: Mikko Harkin (2000-2002)
- Ecliptica (1999)
- Silence (2001)
- Winterheart's Guild (2003)
- Reckoning Night (2004)
- Unia (2007)
- The Days of Grays (2009)
- Stones Grow Her Name (May 2012)
This band may exhibit the following tropes:
- Darker and Edgier: Sonata Arctica's lyrical themes have always been dark, but over time the sound has been changing to be more fitting to the lyrics.
- Epic Rocking: Each album typically has one very long, complicated song. Examples include "Destruction Preventer", "The Power of One", "White Pearl, Black Oceans...", "Deathaura", and "My Dream's But a Drop of Fuel for a Nightmare". It's only 6:13, but it's certainly among the most progressive songs they've ever done.
- Heavy Mithril
- Limited Special Collectors Ultimate Edition: Done for at least a few of their albums.
- Lyrical Dissonance: They often pair grim lyrics with upbeat music, at least until Reckoning Night.
- Metal Scream: Tony Kakko does some high-pitched ones.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: A solid 7 most of the time.
- New Sound Album: In their 2007 album "Unia," the band nearly abandoned traditional power metal altogether and experimented with art rock elements.
- One of Us: Tony Kakko plays World of Warcraft and loves the X-Files.
- Tony also recently provided vocals on Powerglove's power metal cover of the Pokémon theme tune on their latest album, Saturday Morning Apocalypse.
- Soprano and Gravel: Tony's high voice probably doesn't count as "gravel," but The Days of Grays features two songs where he shares vocal duties with Johanna Kurkela.
- Throw It In: The endings of "The Power of One" and "Draw Me" contain studio chatter.
- Reckoning Night has a hidden acoustic track called "Jam" at the very end, after Shamandalie.
- One of their demos recorded when they were still Tricky Beans has a random accordion song at the end, after Apartment 54.
- Action Girl: If "Juliet" is to be beleived, then she is most certainly one.
- Badass Normal: Caleb may or may not be supernatural, (The song "Juliet" implies this) but Juliet is just a normal woman- and she KILLS him.
- Anti-Love Song: The Caleb story is a series of these.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: The Boy Who Wanted To Be A Real Puppet
- Big Badass Wolf: A defining theme for the band.
- Bilingual Bonus: In "Zeroes", there's the line "because it's not my ass, per se, on the line". "Perse" is Finnish for ass. Also an Incredibly Lame Pun.
- Also, "Unia" is Finnish for "Dreams".
- One of their EPs is called Takatalvi. "Takatalvi" is a Finnish word literally meaning "backwinter", i.e. a cold spell in the spring. This is a short period of time when it suddenly gets colder and often snow will cover the landscape for a couple of days or even for only a few hours.
- "Revontulet" (a song on the Silence album) is Finnish for "aurora".
- Black Sheep: Not in the straight sense of the trope, just that they got a song called "Black Sheep".
- Though the point of the song is this trope, kind of.
- Break Up Song: "Tallulah", "Last Drop Falls", "The Dead Skin"...there's a lot of them.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: The subject of "It Won't Fade".
- Cold War: "Destruction Preventer" is a song about the guy in charge of launching retaliation nukes in case the other side fires them first. This may be an allusion to Stanislav Petrov, a russian colonel in charge of their nukes that got false readings on his radar caused by a sun glare. The lyrics imply he launches them after seeing a 'light in the sky'.
- Dead All Along: The final verse of "Replica" implies this.
- Death by Sex: In "White Pearl, Black Oceans..."
- Death by Woman Scorned: Inverted in "Don't Say A Word". Caleb feels perfectly justified in raping and killing Juliet. It's her fault anyway... (Kind of a subversion, really. In "Juliet," you find out she didn't actually die.)
- Deal with the Devil: "Fly With the Black Swan."
- Digital Piracy Is Evil: The point of "Dream Thieves."
- Driven to Suicide: "White Pearl, Black Oceans...", "Draw Me", "The Ruins Of My Life", "My Selene"
- Enemy Within: "Abandoned, Pleased, Brainwashed, Exploited" recites the following line:
"You are one with your foe."
- Everything Is Online: "Blank File"
- Fluffy Cloud Heaven: Deconstructed in "Alone in Heaven."
- Green Aesop: "Respect the Wilderness", "Wrecking the Sphere." Which are both Japanese bonus tracks, incidentally... Are they trying to say something about the Japanese, or perhaps to the Japanese?
- "Wildfire: Part III," a tale of greedy industrialists destroying a pristine land, complete with a quote from David Attenborough at the end.
- It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": It's pronounced "Oo-nee-ah", not "You-nee-ah", since it's Finnish.
- I Die Free: The end of "The Power of One"
- Lotus Eater Machine: "My Dream's but a Drop of Fuel for a Nightmare" and possibly "My Selene"
- Love Makes You Evil: "The End of This Chapter"
- Mind Screw: The bizarre whispered robot voice at the end of "Wildfire: Part III."
- Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: "Cinderblox" combines country and metal. Somehow, it works.
- Not Quite Dead: "Juliet"
- Not So Different: "Abandoned, Pleased, Brainwashed, Exploited"
- Obsession Song: "The End of This Chapter" and "Don't Say A Word," part of a four-part story spread across various albums. "Caleb" is the stalker's backstory, while the aforementioned "Juliet" appears to be the end of the story.
- Our Werewolves Are Different: A song for every album. "Full Moon" on Ecliptica, "Wolf and Raven" on Silence, "The Cage" on Winterheart's Guild, "Ain't Your Fairytale" on Reckoning Night, both "The Vice" and "It Won't Fade" on Unia, and "The Last Amazing Grays" on The Days of Grays. "Full Moon" is about a werewolf, "Wolf and Raven" is a new werewolf angsting about his condition, "The Cage" is a wolf captured by humans, "Ain't Your Fairytale" is wolves vs. humans, "It Won't Fade" was confirmed by Tony Kakko to be the album's 'wolf song' and "The Vice" is about feuding littermates, and "The Last Amazing Grays" is a dying wolf looking fondly on the next generation. The Bonus track "In My Eyes You're a Giant" is also a Wolf Song, about a young wolf and his relationship with a human.
- Power Ballad: "Last Drop Falls", "Tallulah", "Draw Me", "Shamandalie"... a lot of these.
- Precision F-Strike: From "Dream Thieves:"
Why should I be there for you!? Fuck off and get a life!!!
- Puppet Permutation: "The Boy Who Wanted to Be a Real Puppet".
- Shell Shocked Senior: "Replica".
- Stranger in a Familiar Land: "Replica", "My Land".
- Unlucky Childhood Friend: In Shamandalie.
- Stalker with a Crush: "The End of This Chapter", "Shy" (although "Shy" is significantly more sympathetic to the stalker's emotions than most examples of this trope, following someone home still just isn't normal)
- Take That: "It Won't Fade" is a long, semi-veiled Take That to former guitarist Jani Limatainen's irresponsible behavior just before his departure.
- The End of the World as We Know It: "As if the World Wasn't Ending," "Destruction Preventer"
- Together in Death / You Are Worth Hell: "Deathaura" is about a girl who is accused of witchcraft and is burnt at the stake. The boy finally points himself as the one responsible of the misfortunes that she had supposedly brought upon the village.
- Tragic Monster: "Wolf & Raven", made far more evident and heartbreaking in the 2008 Remake.
- Unplugged Version: Of "Letter to Dana", "Mary Lou" and "Shy" in Live in Finland.
- Unstoppable Rage / Who's Laughing Now?: "Wildfire"
- Updated Rerelease: Done so far for Ecliptica, Silence, and Takatalvi
- Where I Was Born and Razed: "Wildfire" again.
- Word Salad Lyrics: "My Dream's But a Drop of Fuel for a Nightmare" (a song describing a nightmare), "The Harvest", and others.
- Xenofiction: "In My Eyes, You're A Giant" is likely a song about a dog, and how it perceives its owner.