With a unique trademark sound that is instantly recognizable even through a massive block of ice, Finnish melodic power metal overlords Sonata Arctica never fail to enthrall their audience with captivating hymns of Nordic splendor and magic. Graced by the aurora borealis, they’ve released ten studio albums thus far, taking us into their world since the majestic tunes of their long-fabled debut, “Ecliptica.” Now, however, the band is about to start a whole new chapter. Aptly titled “Acoustic Adventures – Volume One,” Sonata Arctica carefully strip their sound of all things metal only to reveal precious, stunningly beautiful acoustic songs that still capture the heart, spirit and very essence of this band.
After Sonata Arctica hit the road in 2016 to premiere their marvelously crafted acoustic set to a stunned audience and then again in 2019, the idea was born to immortalize these intimate, pure, and heartfelt renditions of their iconic catalog on two acoustic albums, the second of which will follow in close succession. “The fans truly seemed to enjoy this side of the band quite much so there was clearly a demand to record these versions of our music.” Having said that, such a release was only a matter of time, anyway: At the very heart of every Sonata Arctica song lies a sublime melody, wreathed in melancholy. “We originally planned to record these songs in Los Angeles at a friends’ studio but since most of our touring seized we decided to do the recordings a bit sooner,” remembers Henrik “Henkka” Klingenberg. “Acoustic Adventures – Volume One” was recorded during summer 2020, with mixing and mastering following suite.
Even though the songwriting material is so strong in this band — you could hear it played on a triangle or a saxophone and still get goosebumps — some songs proved to be trickier than others. “Not all of the stuff we tried worked out which is why some songs were not recorded,” Henkka says. “Luckily we have quite a large collection to choose from so there’s really no shortage of material.” It’s no exaggeration. The band has over one-hundred songs to choose from, which is a rather fortunate situation. What’s typically Sonata Arctica about all this is that they not only replaced electric with acoustic guitars. Instead, they didn’t shy away from writing whole new arrangements. “Thus, a lot of the songs sound quite different from the original versions.”
Starting with the songs they already performed during the “Acoustic Adventures” tours, they added some personal favorites or gems to the mix after that and recorded the whole bunch live! Opening with the mesmerizing “The Rest Of The Sun Belongs To Me” and going via the banjo and organ infused (!) “A Little Less Understanding” to the heartbreaking ballad “Tonight I Dance Alone,” it becomes clear that Sonata Arctica have found solace and a home in these tender versions. One song especially proved to be a challenge for Henkka. “‘Wolf & Raven’ was quite the thing to play on acoustic piano,” he laughs, “but the whole session was a big challenge for everyone. On top of doing it all live, we also didn’t use a click track or metronome so you had to be really alert and make sure the songs stayed in tempo. I think ‘For The Sake Of Revenge’ is still is my favorite. It turned out really special and so different from the original. We also didn’t play the acoustic version live so nobody has heard it.” Yet, he means. The next acoustic tour is around the corner.
- The Rest of The Sun Belongs To Me
- For The Sake Of Revenge
- A Little Less Understanding 4. Alone In Heaven
- Don’t Say a Word
- As If The World Wasn’t Ending 8. Paid In Full
- Tonight I Dance Alone
- The Wolves Die Young
- Wolf & Raven
- On The Faultline