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Sonata Arctica

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Biography

The popular Finnish prog and power metal quartet Sonata Arctica specialize in a soaring, orchestral variation on European heavy metal that melds sweeping, melodic compositions and meaty riffs, lush, expansive production, clean vocals, and sophisticated instrumental chops. Once a hard rock band called Tricky Beans (later Tricky Means), they changed their name for good when they adopted power metal as a genre. Since releasing their critically acclaimed debut album Ecliptica for Spinefarm in 1999, the band, founded by lead vocalist Tony Kakko and drummer Tommy Portimo (its only remaining original members) has registered multiple chart-topping albums, with highlights arriving via 2007's Unia, 2012's Stones Grow Her Name, and 2019's Talviyö. Originally a quartet, Sonata Arctica expanded its lineup to quintet size with the addition of backing vocalist and keytarist Henrik Klingenberg. Unlike many other of the genre's acts, the group only became more popular as the decades passed. Whereas the first decade of the 21st century saw only 2007's Unia and 2009's Days of Grays chart, the second benefitted from high-profile international tours. Their revenues from streaming and album sales increased exponentially with the Top Ten chart success of albums such as 2012's Stones Grow Her Name and 2016's The Ninth Hour. Founded in 1996, the band, which included vocalist Tony Kakko, guitarist Jani Liimatainen, drummer Tommy Portimo, keyboardist Mikko Harkin, and bassist Janne Kivilahti, recorded a handful of demos before releasing their first single, "UnOpened," on Spinefarm Records in July of 1999. Producer Mikko Karmila (Children of Bodom, Stratovarius, Nightwish) recorded and mixed Sonata Arctica's full-length debut, Ecliptica, and the album was released in 2000 by Spinefarm and Century Media Records. Following a successful tour with Rhapsody and Stratovarius, the group put out a six-song EP, Successor, which featured live tracks, a pair of covers, and other previously unreleased material. Sonata Arctica were rewarded with various awards and honors around this time: Hard N' Heavy magazine voted them Newcomer of the Year, as did Emma, the Finnish Music Awards. Kivilahti quit the band in late 2000 and was replaced by Marko Paasikoski before work began on their second full-length album. With producer Ahti Kortelainen behind the boards, Sonata Arctica recorded Silence at Tico-Tico studios in time for a 2001 release. Winterheart's Guild and the Nuclear Blast-issued Reckoning Night followed in 2003 and 2004, respectively, and in 2007 the band issued their fifth full-length, the dark and aggressive Unia, which would serve as the last go-around for guitarist Jani Liimatainen, who would leave the group shortly after its release. New guitar player Elias Viljanen, who had been playing live with the group since Liimatainen's departure, would make his first album appearance on 2009's chart-topping Days of Grays. Longtime bass player Marko Paasikoski would bow out after the release of 2012's Stones Grow Her Name, making room for new bassist Pasi Kauppinen, who marked his debut on 2014's Pariah's Child -- that same year saw the release of Ecliptica Revisited, a full re-recording of their 1999 debut album. The aptly named Ninth Hour, the band's ninth studio long-player, arrived in October 2016 and promptly peaked at number six, their highest-charting internationally released long-player yet. After international festival and theater tours, the band re-entered the studio in September of 2018 to work on the album Talviyö, co-produced by Mikko Tegelman and the band. Sessions were completed in May, and a lyric video for first single "A Little Less Understanding," hit YouTube in June with the long-player following in 2019. ~ Andy Hinds
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Top Tracks

  1.   Track
    Popularity
  2.   Fullmoon
  3.   Christmas Spirits
  4.   Paid in Full
  5.   Victoria's Secret
  6.   The Last Amazing Grays
  7.   It Won't Fade
  8.   Kingdom for a Heart
  9.   Don't Say a Word
  10.   Misplaced
  11.   Wildfire
  12.   Ismo's Got Good Reactors
  13.   I Can't Dance
  14.   Letter to Dana
  15.   In My Eyes You're a Giant
  16.   Kingdom for a Heart- Single
  17.   Replica
  18.   The Garden
  19.   Who Failed the Most
  20.   A Little Less Understanding
  21.   Among the Shooting Stars
  22.   Till Death's Done Us Apart
  23.   Fairytale
  24.   What Did You Do In The War, Dad?
  25.   The Wolves Die Young
  26.   Don't Be Mean
  27.   Cinderblox
  28.   I Have a Right
  29.   Shitload of Money
  30.   Instrumental Exhibition
  31.   Zeroes
  32.   Juliet
  33.   Flag in the Ground
  34.   Deathaura
  35.   White Pearl, Black Oceans
  36.   My Selene
  37.   8th Commandment
  38.   Still Loving You
  39.   In Black & White
  40.   Fly, Navigate, Communicate
  41.   Blank File
  42.   Whirlwind
  43.   The Worlds Forgotten, The Words Forbidden
  44.   Destruction Preventer
  45.   Tonight I Dance Alone
  46.   No Dream Can Heal a Broken Heart
  47.   The Raven Still Flies
  48.   Storm the Armada
  49.   Cold
  50.   Wildfire, Part: III - Wildfire, Town, Population: 0
  51.   Wildfire, Part: II - One With The Mountain
  52.   White Pearl, Black Ocean, Pt. 2: By the Grace of the Ocean
  53.   Candle Lawns
  54.   Rise a Night
  55.   We Are What We Are
  56.   Closer to an Animal
  57.   Larger Than Life
  58.   Love
  59.   Cloud Factory
  60.   Running Lights
  61.   The Day
  62.   Alone in Heaven
  63.   Somewhere Close to You
  64.   Losing My Insanity
  65.   The Truth Is Out There
  66.   The Dead Skin
  67.   Everything Fades to Gray
  68.   As If the World Wasn't Ending
  69.   Two Minds, One Soul
  70.   The Cage/Vodka
  71.   My Dream's But a Drop of Fuel for a Nightmare
  72.   Caleb
  73.   Fly with the Black Swan
  74.   Good Enough Is Good Enough
  75.   Out in the Fields
  76.   The Vice
  77.   Cage/Vodka/Hana Nagila' (The Sing Along)
  78.   Prelude for Reckoning
  79.   Shamandalie
  80.   The Boy Who Wanted to Be a Real Puppet
  81.   Reckoning Day, Reckoning Night
  82.   Ain't Your Fairytale
  83.   Blinded No More
  84.   The Rest of the Sun Belongs to Me
  85.   Broken
  86.   The Misery
  87.   Gravenimage
  88.   Tallulah
  89.   My Land
  90.   Unopened
  91.   Wrecking the Sphere
  92.   Take One Breath
  93.   Message from the Sun
  94.   The Harvest
  95.   Under Your Tree
  96.   Shamadalie
  97.   Draw Me
  98.   Cravenimage
  99.   X Marks the Spot
  100.   Picturing the Past
  101.   Demon's Cage
  102.   Run to You
  103.   On the Faultline (Closure to an Animal)
  104.   Life
  105.   Half a Marathon Man
  106.   Blood
  107.   White Pearls, Black Oceans
  108.   World in My Eyes
  109.   Only the Broken Hearts (Make You Beautiful)
  110.   Intro
  111.   Breathing
  112.   Fade to Black
  113.   For the Sake of Revenge
  114.   The Last of the Lambs
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