The Finns of SONATA ARCTICA are midwhile a big name in Heavy Metal after their three studio records. It all started with the already pioneering debut "Ecliptica".
It kicks off with "Blank File", a really supercool, melodic highspeed song. This song is catchy as hell. I rarely listened ever to such an opener. Still today, this song belongs to one of my favourites from the band. The following "My Land" is a bit slown down but not less melodic. "8th Commandment" is then again more in the direction of the opener. Speedy, sappy and with a catchy chorus.
By the way, the guitar and keyboardwork reminds strong of their compatriots STRATOVARIUS. But SONATA ARCTICA are absolutely no copy of them. Solely that atmosphere on "Ecliptica" is truly unique alike on so much other debut records of other bands. You know what I mean.
The midpart of "Ecliptica" is then more calmer. "Replica", the first ballad, provides you a little break. "Kingdom For A Heart" and "Fullmoon" are more mid-paced. But alike on all previous songs, the earcandy factor remains at full 100%. It's so interesting how the band manages it to create all songs capivating and diversified. "Letter To Dana", the second ballad, is then a bit worse. The song is nice but personally a bit too greasy. Who thinks now, that the remaining tracks are also worse, is completely wrong. With the three diversified speed shells "Unopened", "Picturing The Past" and the great closing hammer "Destruction Preventer", 50 minutes full of great Speed/Melodic Metal comes to the end.
If there is anything you can complain about, then it's the sound. But show me the band who had already on their debut the perfect sound. Also Tony hasn't yet the most matured voice, but that's not troubling. It's in any case worthful what this man offers and his voice fits 100% to the music. "Ecliptica" has somehow that spirit, a really great record needs. The both following records of them are also very good but the debut is still my favourite. To sum it up, who digs on fast and melodic sounds gets the best with SONATA ARCTICA and especially "Ecliptica". Friends of HELLOWEEN, GAMMA RAY and STRATOVARIUS will sure find a new friend in SONATA ARCTICA. So, the three foremenioned bands don't have to be worry about their heritage.
Tips: "Blank File", "8th Commandment", "Destruction Preventer"... (Online August 10, 2003)