Rating:
6.8
Sonata Arctica - Unia
25 May 2007


01. In Black And White
02. Paid In Full
03. For The Sake Of Revenge
04. It Won't Fade
05. Under Your Tree
06. Caleb
07. The Vice
08. My Dream's But A Drop Of Fuel For A Nightmare
09. The Harvest
10. To Create A Warlike Feel [digipack bonus]
11. The Worlds Forgotten, The Words Forbidden
12. Fly With The Black Swan
13. Good Enough Is Good Enough
14. They Follow [Japanese bonus]
15. Out In The Fields [Japanese bonus] [Gary Moore cover]
16. My Dream's But A Drop Of Fuel For A Nightmare [Japanese bonus] [instrumental version]


After a career of releasing similar albums, Sonata Arctica's fifth studio effort - "Unia" - goes away from their usual style to offer something slightly more progressive. As a warning, "Unia" will have some fans and some detractors, and I belong to the latter category, despite loving progressive metal and liking the band.

The biggest surprise comes from guitarist Jani Liimatainen being relegated to playing rhythm guitars most of the time, occasionally displaying his soloing abilities on a couple of songs. If the guitar solos have been toned down, Henrik Klingenberg is filling in with solid keyboards all the way through. Tony Kakko's voice hasn't really improved since "Ecliptica", so no change in this department. Tommy Portimo is experimenting more than usual on drums, which should be a good thing.

The attempt is noble but unfortunately, the result comes up quite stale. Maybe a couple of songs are fine, such as the opening track 'Black and White' and 'Caleb', but overall, this album is just plain average. From sounding like an average Edguy album, or a Helloween album for that matter, to an insipid Vanden Plas album, "Unia" is sure to divide Sonata Arctica fans. The ballads are cheesy as ever, some tracks are limit laughable. Despite hosting 12 songs, "Unia" comes up really short in terms of valuable points.

If you loved everything about Sonata Arctica's sound, "Unia" will have you wondering or even shaking your head in disbelief. If you were tired of the same formula, give it a try. Otherwise, go look somewhere else, this album is not for you. Now, I'm awaiting the hate mail… Just remember, this is just my opinion. As I said, some people will love this album. My piece of advice is to listen to a couple of samples before buying "Unia".

Performance: 7
Songwriting: 4
Originality: 8
Production: 9


Band profile: Sonata Arctica
Album: Unia


 


written by Demonic Tutor | 11.07.2007

Guest review by
Milena

Rating:
8.9
This is one of the bands that may be a perfect example of how heavy metal fans are often ungrateful and don't know what they want. Reckoning Night, their previous album, was very well received, but there were some complaints about some generic and repetitive songs - people thought that the band should add some more variations to their style. Then came Unia, the album that totally redefined Sonata Arctica's music; people, of course, complained that they should basically repeat Silence a thousand times over in order for the fans to be satisfied. Well, you can't please everyone, and Sonata Arctica gave a big middle finger to the latter ones.

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published 23.03.2011 | Comments (22)



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iaberis - 11.07.2007 at 03:29  
What? They went into Progressive???
This review triggered my attention...
I should listen and come back again...
Demonic Tutor - 11.07.2007 at 03:30  
"Slightly progressive". They did not turn into Symphony X.
DreamWeaver - 11.07.2007 at 03:39  
Am I the only one who actually enjoys this album??
Icarus' Dream - 11.07.2007 at 04:30  
I enjoy it a little, but I had to listen to it about a dozen times before I did. Now the only song I really don't like is "Under Your Tree" (such a boring song!). But the other tracks aren't that much better. "Caleb" is probably the best song, in my opinion, but it isn't as good as "Don't Say a Word". In the end, I still think the album is a disappointment. And the sad part is I suspect Sonata Arctica are going to stick with this sound, at least for another album or two. I'd prefer they try to stick with their easily recognizable power metal sound, rather than change dramatically like this.

Good review though! Thought it was pretty spot on, except I like Jani's guitar work on this album more than their previous ones.
tulkas - 11.07.2007 at 06:04  
i actually agree a lot with review. i've listened to the album a couple of times but i gave up trying to like it. it's not bad bad, just not what i expected from the band. i just hope they're next release is as good as they had been until reckoning night
insanity.peppers - 11.07.2007 at 07:37  
Yeah i appreciate that they tried something different, but for me it's a failure. Definitely doesn't hold my attention as much as their previous albums did. But every band has to have at least one bad album and then they come back to the top right? Right??
Hyvaarin - 11.07.2007 at 12:36  
Good review. The solos have been toned down, though, not tuned .
__Az__ - 11.07.2007 at 14:10  
Im not useally a power fan. And this album just reitorated the reason why... I have enjoyed some past Sonata material, however, I was put off a bit by this release....

Not up to scratch.
en3rg1zer - 11.07.2007 at 14:30  
Well... in my opinion this album isn't so bad, and sincerly I wasn't surprised when I listen it for the first time. The truth is that it was quite predicteble that something like this was going to happen. This is 6th Sonata's album and it is the first time I see a change in their sound, I mean, the "cathy" sound they used to play sounded good for a couple of albums, but after 5 albums I started to get tired. In my opinion it was time for change. They dared to modify completly their sound, and I think that effort needs to be considered. If they continued exploring this sound, they will certainly realise an album with tthe same sound but with much more quality.
BlankFile - 12.07.2007 at 01:55  
Have you people listened to the same album i did? i wonder... The band has changed a bit i confess, but not drastically! I understand some opinions about the changes in this album, but you have to listen lots of times to get used to it, because the main difference about this release and previous ones, is that some compositions of Unia are more complex and less catchy. Still the band is great and i recommend this album to all Power Metal fans... Yes the band is still power metal! you have to give it a try!
Black and White and Paid in Full are in my opinion typiccal Sonata Arctica Songs. Catchy as hell, fast paced, great compositions. For the Sake of Revenge is a good mid-tempo song with a nice chorus, a bit short though, but still a good song.
It Won´t fade and Caleb are powerfull songs, great compositions among the best songs of Sonata Arctica in my opinion.
Under your tree is an ok balad, a bit boring i confess. I´ve heard much better balads of Sonata Arctica.
The vice and Harvest are fast and catchy songs reminding me of "Wildfire" of "Reckoning Night. Fly with the Black Swan is a great song with lots of rythm variations. One of the best too.
The big surprise of the album in my opinion definetly My Dream is but a drop of fuel for a nightmare. This songs blew me away. What a complete composition! A Masterpiece!
Oh and dont´forget to check out the album bonuses, wich in my opinion are great mid-tempo songs: To create a Warlike Feel, the Follow (Japanease Treat), and instrumental My Dream´s But a Drop....
Good Enough... Is a beautiful ballad, far better than Under your tree.
Oh i´ve almost forgot, check out the cover of Gary Moore and definitely pass aside the most weird song of Sonata Arctica. The World´s Forgotten, The world´s fobidden... Now that´s some funny Weird stuff.
In conclusion i think this release definitly deserves the attention of the fans. Off course this isn´t Silence..but still its an interesting and different release of Sonata Arctica with lots of great moments and very few bad moments (Under Your Tree - A bit boring, Worlds Forgotten, Worlds Forbiden - Weird)
Very Good Release Guys! Stay Metal! |m|
howNowBrownSow - 12.07.2007 at 03:09  
To be honest, I love this album. It is damn near perfect in my eyes (or ears, I suppose) and is my favorite Sonata Arctica album by leaps and bounds. It may even be my favorite CD altogether, but I won't jump to conclusions...
CyGuy6587 - 12.07.2007 at 14:53  
I don't think Unia is their best album, but it has some of their best songs on it. Under Your Tree is probably my favourite off it, I love the melodies and the lyrics. I really enjoy the first half of the album, but the songs after Caleb fail to make an impression on me
Arcaliz666 - 12.07.2007 at 21:11  
I think that Reckoning Night was better that this latest work.
EquilibriuMTR - 13.07.2007 at 13:43  
Either Sonata Arctica has tried something else just for once or I will quit listening to their albums after this one because Unia REALLY sucks. No musical value at all.
+{Jonas}+ - 14.07.2007 at 06:30  
honestly, I didin't even finished listening to this album. I got so bored I almost fell asleep.
kaos666 - 14.07.2007 at 12:27  
Jani didn't play the guitars in this album, only the few solos in it 'cause he had some 'civic duty' to attend to or something.
4look4rd - 14.07.2007 at 17:34  
Haha I was thinking about getting this album (although I hate Sonata Arctica and their shitty pop sound) but this review just killed it. Thanks for saving me 10 bucks =D
BlankFile - 15.07.2007 at 19:40  
This Review is over exagerated in terms of negative points... This album has quality, you just have to listen "well" and lots of times the album and not one or two times, and throwing it out like a piece of junk! This album is very good, i repeat once again, its no Silence... but has lots of quality also. If you are a real fan of the band, forget the samples and buy the album. You wont´regret it. This album has the Sonata Arctica Mark.
=maD.Doc:. - 17.07.2007 at 16:10  
Written by kaos666 on 14.07.2007 at 12:27

Jani didn't play the guitars in this album, only the few solos in it 'cause he had some 'civic duty' to attend to or something.

Jani did actually play all the guitars on this album. But he just didn't play live this spring and summer cuz of CIVIL duty.

I actually love this album very much, the only thing is that you need to listen to it more than once to get into it, it's more complex so it's not just sit down and listen to it once and you will love it. So all of you who don't even try to listen to it more than once, do it, you need to give it more time to grow than the older albums.
Nighthowls - 18.07.2007 at 00:12  
I think Its Sonata's worst album, maybe it was Jani's lack of time with the Army bullshit he had to do
kaos666 - 18.07.2007 at 08:12  
Written by =maD.Doc:. on 17.07.2007 at 16:10

Written by kaos666 on 14.07.2007 at 12:27

Jani didn't play the guitars in this album, only the few solos in it 'cause he had some 'civic duty' to attend to or something.

Jani did actually play all the guitars on this album. But he just didn't play live this spring and summer cuz of CIVIL duty.

I actually love this album very much, the only thing is that you need to listen to it more than once to get into it, it's more complex so it's not just sit down and listen to it once and you will love it. So all of you who don't even try to listen to it more than once, do it, you need to give it more time to grow than the older albums.


I don't think he did because it says in the album booklet where all the technical details below the listing of the band members 'Guitars and acoustic guitars by Nino Laurenne' (Thunderstone). Well it doesn't really matter who played I don't really like the guitar work in the album, I do like the keyboard work though!
Infurnace - 18.07.2007 at 17:08  
Written by DreamWeaver on 11.07.2007 at 03:39

Am I the only one who actually enjoys this album??


Nope, you're not the only one, I do enjoy this album as well. I don't see that there is something wrong with it.
Valaskjalf - 20.07.2007 at 17:19  
I didnt like it at first but i enjoy it a lot now....i think its definitely better than "Reckoning Night" and the proggy aspect of the album is actually a breath of fresh air. Who cares if its not as good as Symphony X?? We dont want Sonata to sound like them and im glad theyve changed course slightly - I can think of a number of bands who just bring out the same type of album year after year and even THAT is annoying the fans so what is a band to do? Obviously this isnt another "Ecliptica" or "Silence" but its also not 2001 anymore and you want bands to try something new. Im pretty sure theyre fed up of playing the same type of music over and over.

As a matter of fact I was also one of those who shot them off after the release of "Reckoning Night", especially for replacing the normal sounding keyboards with something out of a church organ, it totally fucked things up for me. but i just got used to it after some time...still dont love it but now i just listen to it as how the songs should be.

I think 6.8 is a bit harsh for "Unia" id give it a 7.8 - 8.0...mostly deducting marks for the guitar work - i miss Jani's crazy-ass solos. And if you think 8 is a bit high....well Id give Ecliptica 9.4 and Silence 9.2 so yeah lol
Raziel X - 05.08.2007 at 18:41  
Believe me, I gave it almost 10 listens, maybe even more. But I still couldn´t really dig into it. The album is boring IMO. I recognize the attempt of the band to abandon their old Stratovarius-inspired sound and "jump" into new direction, trying new sound with prog metal elements. But prog elements are like dynamite - if you incorporate it well, you have a kickass album, if not, it blows your album off and ruins it all. The one and only song on this album, in which the prog elements are incorporated well, is actually Paid in full. I really wanted to dig into the album and find those "masterpieces", as much as I could, but it was in vain, ´cause except Paid in full, no other song caught my attention. If a band decides to change their sound, they should contemplate a bit if they are capable to do it well. Maybe Sonata should have taken more time to develop the album more and not release it as soon as possible. But just maybe. I am an open-minded person, so I decided to give them one more chance = if they do their next effort well, they will again gain my attention, if not, their battle is lost I think...
Raziel X - 05.08.2007 at 18:46  
And just to compare it - the new Dream Theater effort (Systematic Chaos) took me 4 or 5 listens to appreciate at least some of the songs (after those listens I could actually dig into that album). Dream Theater! If a band needs more listens to appreciate their album than an album from Dream Theater and I still don´t find it interesting, there is something wrong with it... Actually, I needed more listens for Orphaned Land albums, but not 10 or more, and I started to like them. But if Sonata needs so much listens and I still don´t get their point, they should have done something wrong...
matthioso - 07.08.2007 at 12:29  
To me, this is a great album. A little twist in their style, but not to much.
I didn't need to listen a lot of times to like the songs, just after 2 or 3 times listening to the album I loved it.
To me Sonata Arctica is one of the best bands and this album only consolidates my opinion on them.
GT - 08.08.2007 at 12:02  
Written by tulkas on 11.07.2007 at 06:04

i actually agree a lot with review. i've listened to the album a couple of times but i gave up trying to like it. it's not bad bad, just not what i expected from the band. i just hope they're next release is as good as they had been until reckoning night

Agree with this comment. It's not a bad album...it's just boring and not what I expected
Aylee_Bodom - 09.08.2007 at 17:00  
I didn't even find a remarkable song u.U I should listen to it again...the more times you hear it, the more you like it.
WorpeX - 02.09.2007 at 18:55  
Dunno, I like this album from the very first listen... For the Sake of Revenge and The Worlds forgotten, The Worlds forbidden just brought me in right away. I will admit, I haven't heard any other Sonata Arctica albums - however from this review and all of the comments I might have to look into them more.
Metal Snake - 05.09.2007 at 21:38  
I completly agree with Demonic Tutor's review. When I've heard the album I thought to myself: "what's this?" Where are the Sonata Artica I knew?!
This album sounds a little bit like Dream Theater but far, far away from Theater's geniality! For progressive fans maybe this is an album to buy, but for the Sonata Arctica power metal fans I must admit it's a disappointment... (Sorry for my english...)
Ivan - 14.09.2007 at 10:44  
I absolutely loved this album - somehow it touched me in a way few albums do nowdays. I've been a SA fan basically from day 1, and I'm glad to see the band evolving and reinventing themselves, rather than cashing in on their 'trademark', already explored in full on the first two albums. Songs like Caleb and It Won't Fade are amazing examples of this new complex and multi-layered sound.
Destryphior - 02.10.2007 at 16:48  
I really love the song "Fly with the black swan"... Overall the album is one of the best ever, nothing bad with oldie SA(it rocks too), but Unia was like Beer, Ice Cream and Sweaty Men all at the same time....
+{Jonas}+ - 11.02.2008 at 23:29  
What the hell Happened with Sonata Arctic ain this album? It's a mystery for me. This is by far their worst album, it's boring... I didin't even finish listening to it.
WhiteWolfWish - 17.03.2008 at 00:02  
I have to disagree with most people. I love this album from the first time I listened it(though I like the older stuff from sonata too) and I could listen it forever. I can only say good things about unia. My favourite track from the album is "Under Your Tree" or "The worlds Forgotten the words Forbidden". I can't decide! I like all songs from unia. Well, almost all songs cause I don't like "the caleb"(mostly because of the lady at the beginning) and "in black and white" that much.
Shadowcross - 07.06.2008 at 06:47  
i agree with this review..
it starts with some great tracks but mixed feelings about the rest.
8/10
Daggon - 19.11.2008 at 04:38  
I won't waste too much words. This album is booooring. Well the first 3 or 4 songs are ok, but the rest... no comments.
Italics - 01.06.2009 at 21:11  
I think it is a very large misconception that "Unia" is the "disappointment" of most SA fans.
Anyone who is very familiar with the band and still follows them know that at least half (probably more) of the people who didn't like this album when it came out now absolutely love it - and for many it is now their favorite Sonata Arctica album of all time.

Sure, this isn't as immediately accessible as their past works, but to say that this album is boring or lacks melody is just a display of ignorance. There are more melodies on this album than any other SA album, it's just that they don't repeat so many times that they are drilled into your head on the first few listens.

For me, it is a large large disappointment that this genius of an album has gotten so little attention. I hope that more people will give this a second chance and let it grow on them, it is a great cd, and those of us who have been patient with it, it has paid off big time!
Balls of Jericho - 16.06.2009 at 21:28  
Demonic Tutor can go suck my cock, Unia is by far one of Sonata Arcticas best albums
Sonyfreak - 12.07.2009 at 00:15  
You have to listen to this album at least 20 times before you will be able to understand it. I think its one of their best albums until now.

I'm really looking forward to "The Days of Grays". :-)
SexyCat_1113 - 10.08.2009 at 11:19  
Jani's crazy solo is my best love, but this album has none of that......:-[:-[:-[
ravendeath - 27.03.2010 at 01:17  
Some songs are realy laughable, like the review says. I don't like this album.
Keo - 22.08.2010 at 14:40  
I consider this album stronger than the four put out before it. I'm guessing the ones who liked the more traditional power metal sound are disappointed and those who are into progressive are in general still not that interested in power prog or simply shun away due to SA's previous reputation giving this one its bad reputation. It's a bastard child that isn't given a chance and ends up falling inbetween.
Luneth - 17.10.2010 at 17:06  
Written by DreamWeaver on 11.07.2007 at 03:39

Am I the only one who actually enjoys this album??


No, I like it quite a bit too. Some really beautiful ballads on it, the over the top ballad, 'Under Your Tree' is so moving, then there's a healthy blend of fast melodic [perhaps not as fast as we're accustomed to with SA] tracks like Pain in Full; In Black and White and The Harvest. My Dream is but a Drop of Fuel for a Nightmare is icon in the same way 'The Boy who Wanted to be a Real Puppet' on Recknoning Night was.
Milena - 15.03.2011 at 08:59  
Written by Luneth on 17.10.2010 at 17:06

Written by DreamWeaver on 11.07.2007 at 03:39

Am I the only one who actually enjoys this album??


No, I like it quite a bit too. Some really beautiful ballads on it, the over the top ballad, 'Under Your Tree' is so moving, then there's a healthy blend of fast melodic [perhaps not as fast as we're accustomed to with SA] tracks like Pain in Full; In Black and White and The Harvest. My Dream is but a Drop of Fuel for a Nightmare is icon in the same way 'The Boy who Wanted to be a Real Puppet' on Recknoning Night was.

Agreed, this album contains the best elements from Reckoning Night (the proggy ones) but in a darker and more twisted sense than ever. Weird album for weird peeps like myself
ErnilEnNaur - 16.03.2011 at 19:27  
A boring and uninspired album indeed. Every song has the feeling of "We don't know what the hell we're doing" about it.
Zenzero - 23.03.2011 at 19:19  
Written by Guest on 16.03.2011 at 19:27

A boring and uninspired album indeed. Every song has the feeling of "We don't know what the hell we're doing" about it.

+1

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