Sonata Arctica Biography
Review The Artist (11)
Sonata Arctica was born in 1996 on the edge of the world, in northern Finish town of Kemi. The very first incarnation of the band was named Tricky Beans. As Tricky Beans, the group produced three demos (Friend till the End, Agre Pamppers and PeaceMaker) and played twice in Jyrki S鋒k鰏irkus. After some personnel changes in 1997, the outfit changed their name to Tricky Means. Let it be know to the Metal community that initially the band experimented in musical styles far from heavy metal.
Turning the page in 1999, Tricky Means recorded new demo "FullMoon" in Tico Tico Studios located in their hometown, Kemi. At the time of recording the line-up consisted of: Tony (vocals/keys), Jani (guitars), Tommy (drums), and Janne (bass). This new demo was the first exploration of the band in heavy metal waters. Band's trademark sound of fast, melodic and keyboard oriented heavy metal with clear and high vocals was born. As fate would have it and with help from Ahti Kortelainen of Tico-Tico Studio, the "FullMoon" demo found its way to the premier metal label of Finland, Spinefarm. At the same time Tricky Means became Sonata Arctica.
Summer of 1999 brought us the first single from Sonata Arctica - UnOpened. The title song was simultaneously included in Metalliliitto 1999 compilation CD. Two furious tracks from the single, UnOpened and Mary-Lou marked the arrival of SA to power metal community. Of course, not everything went smoothly. During the first mix/pressing of UnOpened single, Track 1, UnOpened, was unintentionally slowed down. The mistake was discovered shortly after the first batch of disks was sent to music stores. Entire first pressing was recalled. Approximately 200 copies from that first run were sold and are now considered rare collector's items.
Autumn of 1999 marked the release of the very first full-length album, Ecliptica. Initially released in Finland, other countries quickly followed. Widely successful, Ecliptica opened doors for Sonata Arctica to participate in two tribute records. 'I Want Out' for Helloween tribute album "Keepers of Jericho" and 'Still Loving You' for Scorpions tribute, "A Tribute to the Scorpions" were both kick-ass versions of originals.
Soon after the release of Ecliptica, band's mastermind Tony Kakko decided to concentrate more on singing, as opposed to trying to sing and play keyboards at the same time. Mikko Harkin (ex-Kenziner) joined the band to releif Tony from keys and to allow the front man to roam the stage. This change allowed for much more energetic live shows. It introduced a new capability for Sonata Arctica - to have two keyboard players simultaneously, adding a new cool twist to the live sound.
Quick rise to fame continued through the end of 1999 and beginning of 2000. Soon after release of Ecliptica, Sonata Arctica was chosen as support band for Stratovarius European Tour, winning over 32 other bands from 15 different record companies. The tour started in April of 2000 with Strato and Rhapsody on the road. It lasted for two months, during which Sonata played over 30 gigs in 10 countries, traveling more then a thousand kilometers.
Very successful tour was followed by the release of new mini-CD Successor. This new disk included two previously unreleased tracks, two cover tracks for upcoming tribute albums, some live tracks from Provinssi Rock and one edited track from Ecliptica.
In a small line-up change, Janne Kivilahti made a decision to depart with the band due to personal reasons. Janne's last gig took place in Kemi on 30th June in the summer of 2000. Janne was replaced by Marko Paasikoski, who happened to be one of the founding members of Tricky Beans. Being a familiar face to the entire band, the transition was smooth and transparent.
Year 2000 brought not only a big tour, new mini-CD, and a small line-up change, but also media recognition. Sonata Arctica was chosen as a candidate for "the best new-comer band" category by Emma in Finland. The new millennium is also treating the Sonata beans well. In the spring of 2001 Sonata Arctica opened two gigs for Alice Cooper, Dio and Ratt (in Oulu and Helsinki) in Monsters of the Millennium 2001 -tour.
Striking metal while it is hot, the band worked on the second full-length offering from autumn of 2000 through the winter of 2001. All the songs have been composed again by the band's mastermind Tony Kakko. The single, "Wolf & Raven" from the second album, was released in May 01'. The album is scheduled for initial release in Japan, with other territories to follow shortly after. This recognition towards Japanese fans comes for a reason. The first album, Ecliptica, has sold more than 30000 copies in Japan. Band also plans to play its first four concerts in Japan in September of 2001.
This year is shaping up to be very busy for the band. In July, a Finish tour kicks off, with separate gigs (including Wacken Open Air in Germany) in Europe. Than comes the visit to the Land of The Rising Sun. Than in September, a full blown European tour, as a support act for the monsters Gamma Ray. This trip will span 5 weeks, 12 countries and 28 shows. The traveling "vacation" will be finalized by the show in Helsinki, Finland to the delight of Finnish fans.
To be continued...
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Perfect | Reviewer: Franco | 6/19/12
I hear A LOT of music, and I have to say that Sonata Arctica is in my opinion one of the best metal bands nowadays. Their music has plenty of varieties.
They're perfect in what they do.
Tony Kakko's voice is, in my opinion, one of the best I've ever heard. His vocal range is incredible, he can reach really high notes, and low too.
Their lyrics are poetic and beautiful.
I have to say that I'm in love with this band. Just that. I hope you share this passion too.
Amazing. | Reviewer: Rai | 2/18/12
I'm not going to lie. My first introduction to this band was through Adamwestslapdog's Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask Abridged series on YouTube. Ever since then, my collection of Sonata Artica songs has grown steadily. It was actually a shock to me to find out they were from Finland because the vocals have a minimal amount of any sort of accent or dialect. That said, the vocals are absolutely beautiful! Very clear and in that happy medium between a soft voice and a hard voice. The instrumentals are amazingly done aswell. In a lot of music the instrumentals are okay but not really anything to write home about in comparison to lyrics. Sonata Artica, however, has mastered both. The lyrics are absolutely beautiful too. I find that they resonate well with my feelings and experiences. Tony Makko is a very deep, thoughtful, and emotional human being and that is reflected not only in his lyrics but also by the emotion brought forth in his singing. And let's face it, depth and meaning has been lost in today's music. -coughcough- Nikki Minaj, Justin Beiber, Lady Gaga, the list goes on. Sonata Artica may not be very well known where I live but, Hell, I'd have SA over anything else anyday. I can't go a day without listening to their amazing music. Keep up the good work, Sonata Artica. We love you.
Reply to Hate or Love SA | Reviewer: David | 2/10/11
Well man I think you would be really surprised when it comes to the fact you asume fans of Slayer, Cannibal Corpse and Death might have a hard time dealing with this music. Why? Because I listen everything from death metal to grindcore, and let me tell you something, the fact that I enjoy Hypocrisy, Death, Carcass, and songs like Trapped in a Corner, The Pleasure Of Molestation or Dead Skin Mask, has nothing to do with the fact that I enjoy Victoria´s Secret, San Sebastian or even a Balad like The Misery. So I just recommend you not to speak for all the metalheads out there.
About the longest review here.. the one from 6/12/09 | Reviewer: Damodred | 2/7/11
1: Tony Kakko sings in an other way than most metal vocalists - alot higher tones, and alot of vibrato. This is what makes them slightly more unique, thus a reason to listen to SA, not a reason not to. If you only like mainstream metalvoices, listen to a7x or something.
2: Lyrics, as i see it, can be devided into 5 groups: Totally meaningless (like most pop music these days), love songs, songs that tell a story, lyrics that require some deception and - well - other lyrics. S-A has alot of lovesongs with gr8 lyrics, alot of storytelling lyrics which are totally ok, some meaningless ones and some that require some deception. In other words, a little bit of everything. which is great.
Sonata Arctica has alot of sad songs, but yeah, if you're used to disharmonic scales (using the "devilish" scales/harmonics), and can't live with a song that has happy chording, then this won't be anything for you. Altho i can't imagine being in such a situation so i can't reply well to this.
To sum it up, this is nothing like Dream Theater or Stratovarious. You, mister, are wrong, and the whole review was a misunderstanding and lack of common metal-sence.
2 cents worth | Reviewer: scatsalight | 4/21/10
only recently have i started listening to SA and i have to say, i am constantly impressed with their music. i oppose those who would criticize the vocal styling of SA, not only are the lyrics original and meaningful (something which the majority of todays music is severely lacking in) but they are well justified by a completely unique sounding voice. Sonata Arctica cannot be compared to other bands, they are a class of their own and as such should be appreciated for their unique quality.
Great | Reviewer: Anonymous | 2/11/10
A great band. I've listened to slayer, Metallica, DragonForce, Nighwish, Kamelot, System of a Down... and many, many others; but SA is still up there with the best of the bloody best!
Rock on dudes, rock on!!!
Decent band, but only for diehard Power Metal fans | Reviewer: Anonymous | 6/12/09
Sonata Arctica is one of those bands you either hate or love. I say this is for the following reasons:
1. Tony Kakko: I'll give him this, he has a great voice, but NOT a good metal voice. Imagine if Josh Groban or Clay Aiken decided to form a metal band, this is what it would sound like. His voice is too weak and lack the true power of a good metal vocalist.
2. Good music, but silly lyrics sometimes: Sonata Arctica, like a lot of Power Metal bands, have amazing sounding music but have extremely silly lyrics. If you do not mind silly topics and lame love songs, then you can fully enjoy this band. Sometimes, I cringe when I hear those silly lyrics despite the good music.
3. Happier scales and progressions: I can honestly say that unlike death metal, power metal seems to have a "happy" tone to the music. Fans of Slayer, Cannibal Corpse, and Death might have a hard time dealing with this music.
To sum it up, I recommend you this band if you love Dream Theater, Blind Guardian, or Stratovarious. These guys have amazing guitar and keyboard playing, but are unfortuneatly somewhat ruined by the wimpy vocals and cheesy chord progressions.
Not like other bands. | Reviewer: Greg Wotton | 12/10/08
Sonata Arctica's symphonic power is equalled by their powerful lyrics. No band that I've listened to before has the same kind of sheer power to affect my emotionally from hard rocking to thoughtful to unchecked tears this band is capable of expressing, and evoking, a wide range of emotions.
Though I've heard of them being compared to other speed metal and melodic metal bands they are a step above most, if not all of them. They express a wide range of music from speed metal to nearly folk music in range (I suspect there was some folk influence at the beginning when they were "far from heavy metal")
"I can change one note and make you cry" they understand the POWER of music and this is something most bands lack. Lots of metal bands are "just metalheads" but SA is obviously coming from a complex musical background. Don't take them lightly, even though I consider "Winterheart's Guild" their greatest achievement to date I expect that even with the power of "Unia" and the movement to seven string guitars there's still more amazing things to come, stuff that's gonna blow our minds.
sonata arctica is the beeest | Reviewer: Anonymous | 12/12/07
do u listen to dragonforce?
if you like the way to play the instruments of sonata arctica you will enjoy this group, the guitar is fantastic.
Sonata Arctica is one of the best groups I heard I like the best wolf and raven, san sebastian,shy and fullmoon.
UP HEAVY METAL and UP HEADBANGERS
good job | Reviewer: manning | 9/11/07
man thats the most fun ive had reading u rea;y coverd the whole shabang and when u update the biography would u email me so i can read it thank you and good job
Sonata Arctica | Reviewer: Me | 2/18/06
A Grandiose symphonic power metal band from Finland. Execellent chorus', virtuosity with instruments - fantastic! Recommended to fans of Kamelot, Blind Guardian, Stratovarius, Thunderstone etc
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