Rating:
8.0
Sonata Arctica - The Days Of Grays
18 September 2009


Disc I
01. Everything Fades To Gray
02. Deathaura
03. The Last Amazing Grays
04. Flag In The Ground
05. Breathing
06. Zeroes
07. The Dead Skin
08. Juliet
09. No Dream Can Heal A Broken Heart
10. As If The World Wasn't Ending
11. The Truth Is Out There
12. Everything Fades To Gray [full version]
13. In The Dark [limited edition bonus]
14. In My Eyes You're A Giant [Japanese and US bonus]
15. Nothing More [Japanese bonus]

Disc II [limited edition bonus]
01. Deathaura [orchestral version]
02. The Last Amazing Grays [orchestral version]
03. Flag In The Ground [orchestral version]
04. Juliet [orchestral version]
05. As If The World Wasn't Ending [orchestral version]
06. The Truth Is Out There [orchestral version]
07. In The Dark [orchestral version]


The last five years have been testing ones for Sonata Arctica having run the wave of hype and enthusiasm raised by the first couple of albums dry. Critics have had a blast with the band in recent years, with none more victimised than the band's last output Unia. A couple of years ago Sonata Arctica looked like a shadow of its former self, but right now with the release of album number six, The Days Of Grays has shone a ray of light.

By no means is The Days Of Grays a return to the sound, style and form of the first four records. If you expect an hour of frantic double bass pedalling then look elsewhere, but what The Days Of Grays is, is Sonata Arctica at their most mature and adventurous yet. The Days Of Grays is not a grey album, it is in fact quite black and white, an album of two halves in a sense.

On one side we have some energetic, up-tempo and frankly refreshing numbers such as the opening trio of songs "Deathaura", "The Last Amazing Grays" and "Flag In The Ground". "Deathaura" is Sonata Arctica like never before; bombastic symphonies, unusual song structure and a helping hand of some female vocals kick the album off in quite a Nightwish fashion. The album does have some pace outside of these three songs, but the second half of the album presents us with the other side to the album.

On the other side Sonata Arctica draw slightly from their Unia influence in providing slower songs with less conviction than the first part of the album. The Days Of Grays is a reasonably long album, and some of these songs do drag the album down such as the slightly morbid "Breathing".

The good news is that unlike Unia, the band have provided top quality songs that are a little more modest in pace. The Days Of Grays is probably the first time the band have consistently done this, with the help of songs like the closing trio "As If The World Wasn't Ending", "The Truth Is Out There" and "Everything Fades To Gray", not forgetting the fantastically dark "Juliet".

Again Tony Kakko is the shining star of the album delivering possibly his most diverse performance yet. The Days Of Grays is the darkest album Sonata Arctica has ever put out, touching grey subject areas such as death and relationships gone wrong, subjects that no one likes to take time to think about. It may however take time to appreciate The Days Of Grays and its full potential, it is after all the most ambitious project the band have undertaken. Give it the chance though and you won't be disappointed, Sonata Arctica have found new life.

--

Heavy metal / Power metal
Nuclear Blast
Finland
Length: 59:20

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Production: 9


Band profile: Sonata Arctica
Album: The Days Of Grays


 



Written on 17.09.2009 by
Baz Anderson
Member of Staff since 2006.
More reviews by Baz Anderson ››

Guest review by
Milena

Rating:
8.9
The Days of Grays is an album that was eagerly anticipated by the public, mostly due to the fact that some reviewers, who got to listen to it beforehand, labeled it as an album halfway between Unia and Reckoning Night. But I'd disagree with that-it's between the two albums only in terms of complexity. Musically, it's again a whole new Sonata Arctica. Don't worry though, the elements that make the very soul of the band are still more or less present and I shall discuss them below.

Read more ››
published 29.03.2011 | Comments (7)



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Baz Anderson - 23.09.2009 at 05:15  
Written by The Shape 1973 on 23.09.2009 at 00:05

I now have just one rule for bands I follow or listen to, DO I LIKE IT...

And that is how everyone should be. Shame it isn't like that!
DrM - 23.09.2009 at 23:27  
Fantastic review Ben!
And I do agree with you "The Shape 1973" - though came to realize that only recently. That's why I stopped listening to Porcupine tree (bored to death), increased my volume of Dream Theater (was always one of my favorites) - and returned listening to Sonata Arctica. Come to think of it, I can't really recall why I did stopped listening to them anyway...
BlankFile - 24.09.2009 at 21:19  
As i listen more and more to this album, i really think this album is the best of Sonata Arctica along side with Silence... definitly. So beautifull, so poetic, so dark and at the same time so sentimental. Songs like "Deathaura", "the Last Amazing Grays", "Flag in the Ground", "Juliet", "the Dead Skin", "Breathing", "In the Dark" and "No Dream Can Heal a broken Heart" are masterpieces of power metal. Its really incredible how some people say that this album is crap and sucks hard. They´re so wrong, so wrong i tell you...
Listen carefully to the album lots of times and then feel it within you. This is definitly the most complex and beautiful album of Sonata Arctica, both musically and lyrically. You have to give it a chance.
Stay Metal people |m|
Derwood - 24.09.2009 at 21:32  
Baz, I find it interesting that you give pretty high praises to this and rip Ex Deo a new one. This album is far more generic and uninteresting than Ex Deo's release. There is absolutely nothing original or creative to be found on this album. It sounds just like pretty much every other European power metal release I've heard this year.

To each their own, obiviously. I prefer melodeath to power metal and your preferences run the other way, but if you are going to lambaste a band for being uninspired and bland, you should be consistent in your approach, especially as an official MS reviewer. This release is at best every bit as uninspired and bland as Ex Deo's.
Fat & Sassy! - 24.09.2009 at 23:51  
Written by Derwood on 24.09.2009 at 21:32

There is absolutely nothing original or creative to be found on this album.

This release is at best every bit as uninspired and bland as Ex Deo's.


Yeah, I beg to differ. I think that the keyboard work is, at times, very interesting. Especially Flag In the Ground. They melodies are layered very nicely. Also, I find the album to sound very (for lack of a better phrase) pretty-sounding and inspiring. But like you said, each is to his own.

Yeah, so I finally got around to concentrating on listening to this album, and I don't understand what everyone is bitching about. This album is nowhere near "terrible". Everything about this album from melodies to song composition is rock solid. Yeah, but I do agree with the song Zeros being bad.
Baz Anderson - 25.09.2009 at 03:16  
Written by Derwood on 24.09.2009 at 21:32

Baz, I find it interesting that you give pretty high praises to this and rip Ex Deo a new one. This album is far more generic and uninteresting than Ex Deo's release. There is absolutely nothing original or creative to be found on this album. It sounds just like pretty much every other European power metal release I've heard this year.

To each their own, obiviously. I prefer melodeath to power metal and your preferences run the other way, but if you are going to lambaste a band for being uninspired and bland, you should be consistent in your approach, especially as an official MS reviewer. This release is at best every bit as uninspired and bland as Ex Deo's.

Well thanks for the comment, but your opinion is just as valid or just as dismissible as mine. I do like melodic death metal, it isn't a case of reviewing something I am clearly not going to give a chance to.
You found this album uninspired and bland, I didn't. I found Ex Deo uninspired and bland, you didn't. Opinions, opinions... you have to understand that any reviewer, official or not, has a subjective opinion that inevitably influences reviews.
Dane Train - 25.09.2009 at 05:33  
Does this album have a love ballad about a werewolf? No? Fuck it.
Fat & Sassy! - 25.09.2009 at 11:49  
Written by Dane Train on 25.09.2009 at 05:33

Does this album have a love ballad about a werewolf? No? Fuck it.


HAHAHAHAHAHA!!! XD That was so fucking raw. Best post of the year!

Full Moon is on the sky, and heeee's not a maaaaaan anymore! >:[
Elio - 25.09.2009 at 12:12  
Ugh, this album is terrible, maybe a bit better than Unia but that's it.
Derwood - 26.09.2009 at 05:07  
Written by Baz Anderson on 25.09.2009 at 03:16

Well thanks for the comment, but your opinion is just as valid or just as dismissible as mine. I do like melodic death metal, it isn't a case of reviewing something I am clearly not going to give a chance to.
You found this album uninspired and bland, I didn't. I found Ex Deo uninspired and bland, you didn't. Opinions, opinions... you have to understand that any reviewer, official or not, has a subjective opinion that inevitably influences reviews.


Heh, I guess I didn't express myself very clearly.

Melodeath and power metal are both genres that seem to have hit the saturation point in terms of the sheer volume of material available from the ridiculous number of bands working in them. What I was really trying to get at is that there isn't much originality to be found in either simply because there is so much out there.

When I listen to a new album from either genre, I expect it to be pretty generic, though that doesn't mean I'll find it dull. I was commenting that in your reviews of two different albums that both suffer more from genre overload than anything else, you really take one band to task for a lack of originality while giving the other a free pass even though neither one has much to offer in terms of originality.

But again, opinions are like assholes and I have no trouble agreeing to disagree.
insanity.peppers - 26.09.2009 at 09:11  
What a boring album. Tony doesn't seem to know there's a difference between progressive and bland, wanky bullshit.
Lord_Regnier - 26.09.2009 at 13:44  
Written by Derwood on 26.09.2009 at 05:07

Melodeath and power metal are both genres that seem to have hit the saturation point in terms of the sheer volume of material available from the ridiculous number of bands working in them. What I was really trying to get at is that there isn't much originality to be found in either simply because there is so much out there..


So true about Powermetal. The genre is oversaturated. And what makes things a hundred times worse is it's oversaturated by crap. It's always the same kind of lame and mediocre soft music, barely metal. Mid-tempo or slightly uptempo (often full of ballads too), predictable and bland. And with whiny, sleep-inducing vocals without any balls.

The good melodic speed metal of old is dead and has been replaced by this accessible, mainstream-oriented, radio-friendly bullshit that most of the time doesn't even deserve to be labeled as metal because many parts sound almost like pop music. I liked PM until the mid-90s (maybe the late 90s) but each time I hear Euroflowermetal these days it makes me want to jump down a bridge. Lots of bands are atrocious beyond any common sense.
Powermetal is a joke nowadays. And not a funny one.
Eomer666 - 27.09.2009 at 10:16  
I miss good old sonata stuff(winterheart.ecliptica tsc)...This release shows that theres lack of "power" in their latests efforts(unia,days of grace).
Fat & Sassy! - 27.09.2009 at 10:44  
After a bunch more listens, I'm gonna stick my Flag In the Ground and say this album rawks. >:[
BlankFile - 27.09.2009 at 19:25  
Eomer666 at least say correctly the name of the album... (The Days of Grays and not the The Days of Grace...)
Angelique - 27.09.2009 at 19:40  
I'm totally loving the album, especially orchestral versions are treasures! Even I'm a big fan of flowerpower and absolutely love their pompous old stuff I find this album so much more interesting, I wasn't really expecting old stuff so I wasn't disappointed at all. To me that old stuff is like missing childhood days, how much fun it was but I wouldn't want to go back for real.

Unia was in a way very good album but to be totally honest I didn't get it, I tried to listen it over and over again but swooof it went, i just couldn't get into it for some reason. Now I have listened The Days of Grays for about 50 times I'm so incredible happy that me and Tony are on the same page again!! It's like founding an old love all over again, I'm one happy gal with this album!!

Hard to pick up one favorite but at the moment I guess the songs that gives me the chills most are Juliet and The Truth is Out There. Now if I could only see them live with a real symphony orchestra I'd be ready to drink the most foul poison and close my eyes
bcapo3 - 28.09.2009 at 18:56  
Written by Lord_Regnier on 23.09.2009 at 01:15

Written by The Shape 1973 on 23.09.2009 at 00:05

Edguy who have pissed on their original fanbase.


I'm not sure if you'll believe me or not but I know some people who still deny Edguy went commercial, mainstream and pissed on their original fans.
Fanboyism can cloud people's judgement so much at times.

As for me, I totally agree with you. Also, I think Edguy is now a shitty pop rock band for girls who have more interest for musicians' cocks than for quality music.


Wow! So now I'm a girl who's in love with Tobias' cock! I didn't noticed it till now! Thanks! But yeah, I still think Mandrake/Hellfire Club are their best works ever and I wish they turn back and did the same kind of stuff, but I don't dislike Rocket Ride and Tinnitus Sanctus.

Talking about Sonata Arctica's new album, I have to say that I like, but not love it such as Ecliptica to Winter Heart's Guild albums...
Lord_Regnier - 28.09.2009 at 23:46  
Written by bcapo3 on 28.09.2009 at 18:56

Written by Lord_Regnier on 23.09.2009 at 01:15

Written by The Shape 1973 on 23.09.2009 at 00:05

Edguy who have pissed on their original fanbase.


I'm not sure if you'll believe me or not but I know some people who still deny Edguy went commercial, mainstream and pissed on their original fans.
Fanboyism can cloud people's judgement so much at times.

As for me, I totally agree with you. Also, I think Edguy is now a shitty pop rock band for girls who have more interest for musicians' cocks than for quality music.


Wow! So now I'm a girl who's in love with Tobias' cock! I didn't noticed it till now! Thanks! But yeah, I still think Mandrake/Hellfire Club are their best works ever and I wish they turn back and did the same kind of stuff, but I don't dislike Rocket Ride and Tinnitus Sanctus.




I meant that their music seems targeted directly at this kind of audience now. Of course, I didn't mean everyone who listens to Edguy belongs to this category. You're surely smart enough to get the nuance.
But some girls really have this attitude.
DreamNightmare - 29.09.2009 at 20:19  
I agree with this review. This album is not for the diehard Sonata Fans of Old or the 'Bring Back Jani' crowd, but it is different; This time in a good way.
The songs are interesting AND catchy, unlike Unia, which went a little too far imo.
I too wished they had put another faster track on here (Maybe in place of Zeroes) but the Material here is solid. Sonata have indeed found new life! worthy of 8/10 After a few spins. Reminds me of some of the slower sections of WHG
bcapo3 - 29.09.2009 at 20:50  
Written by Lord_Regnier on 28.09.2009 at 23:46

Written by bcapo3 on 28.09.2009 at 18:56

Written by Lord_Regnier on 23.09.2009 at 01:15

Written by The Shape 1973 on 23.09.2009 at 00:05

Edguy who have pissed on their original fanbase.


I'm not sure if you'll believe me or not but I know some people who still deny Edguy went commercial, mainstream and pissed on their original fans.
Fanboyism can cloud people's judgement so much at times.

As for me, I totally agree with you. Also, I think Edguy is now a shitty pop rock band for girls who have more interest for musicians' cocks than for quality music.


Wow! So now I'm a girl who's in love with Tobias' cock! I didn't noticed it till now! Thanks! But yeah, I still think Mandrake/Hellfire Club are their best works ever and I wish they turn back and did the same kind of stuff, but I don't dislike Rocket Ride and Tinnitus Sanctus.




I meant that their music seems targeted directly at this kind of audience now. Of course, I didn't mean everyone who listens to Edguy belongs to this category. You're surely smart enough to get the nuance.
But some girls really have this attitude.


Don't worry, I was kidding, I'm still a man.
Arkold Thos - 30.09.2009 at 11:48  
There is one way to describe The Days of Grays - awesome. I'm speechless... I really waited for another power metal album, after listening Flag in the Ground and I believed The Days of Grays was the slow song from the album, but I was wrong and I am happy with it, I wanted more dark and slow album, something as Unia but not the same, more dark and fabulous.

I have to say, Sonata Arctica got the luck of being one of those bands, who doesn't have bad songs, no matter if they are fast or slow, or actually, the genre it is. Awesome.
Thorion_Covenant - 30.09.2009 at 18:06  
I actually liked this album, but I can't help but feel a little biased . Unia was such a big ball of suck it was what I was comparing Days of Grays to, so for some reason that automatically makes me like it. Flag in the ground remains my favorite song off of the album, and I do like the fact that Sonata is trying new things because honestly, no one wants Reckoning Night 500 more times. That would make them Dragonforce, ha ha ha. I kid.

I really like the orchestral parts though, any band that's a little more Nightwish is ok by me.
alexxhighlander - 04.10.2009 at 06:42  
This is very disappointing, to say the least. It is not a matter of wanting the band to sound the same album after album. That's not it. This simply sucks. It's pop rock with a pinch of prog and downtuned giitars drowned under tons of lame keyboards and sentimental, silly lyrics. Not one riff worth remembering, not one memorable guitar solo, slow, boring. Their worst ever.
The Shape 1973 - 08.10.2009 at 21:12  
Written by Dane Train on 25.09.2009 at 05:33

Does this album have a love ballad about a werewolf? No? Fuck it.

It does. Check out the US bonus track In My Eyes You're A Giant.
"I am howling at the bright new moon"
"I am a creature of the night"

So the tradition continues.
BlankFile - 12.10.2009 at 04:00  
The Japanease Bonus tracks are both very good. They remind me a bit of the old Cds before Unia.
Warrior_Of_Ice - 14.10.2009 at 17:39  
Oh boy do they miss Jani (when he was ontop of his playing). For me, this album is comparable to drinking gin. Had I not tried it, I wouldnt have fully understood why I hate it so much. The keyboards are ruining this band, although I am a fan of "tastefully" imployed synths and pads, there are none in this album. Lastly, Tony Kakko gives me the impression that he belongs in an insane asylum- some of his lyrical choices puzzle me, plus, have u seen him in the, "Flag in the Ground" video? lol
Warrior_Of_Ice - 14.10.2009 at 17:44  
Employ* sorry for my grammatical errors, not enough coffee.
Fat & Sassy! - 14.10.2009 at 21:36  
Written by Warrior_Of_Ice on 14.10.2009 at 17:39

Oh boy do they miss Jani (when he was ontop of his playing). For me, this album is comparable to drinking gin. Had I not tried it, I wouldnt have fully understood why I hate it so much. The keyboards are ruining this band, although I am a fan of "tastefully" imployed synths and pads, there are none in this album. Lastly, Tony Kakko gives me the impression that he belongs in an insane asylum- some of his lyrical choices puzzle me, plus, have u seen him in the, "Flag in the Ground" video? lol


Although silly, I find his lyrics and vocals highly amusing on this album.
Taktsekte - 15.10.2009 at 19:44  
Written by Dane Train on 25.09.2009 at 05:33

Does this album have a love ballad about a werewolf? No? Fuck it.


I recall that you liked "Reckoning Night" a lot...

New "The Days of Grays" album -> 20.95
Ticket to the next Sonata Arctica concert -> 22
Calling "Ain't your Fairytale" a love ballad -> priceless
The Shape 1973 - 15.10.2009 at 20:55  
Written by Taktsekte on 15.10.2009 at 19:44

Written by Dane Train on 25.09.2009 at 05:33

Does this album have a love ballad about a werewolf? No? Fuck it.


I recall that you liked "Reckoning Night" a lot...

New "The Days of Grays" album -> 20.95
Ticket to the next Sonata Arctica concert -> 22
Calling "Ain't your Fairytale" a love ballad -> priceless

20.95E, where are you buying your CDs from? You need to shop around on the internet or are CDs in your country really expensive? I only paid 11.00E.
BlankFile - 16.10.2009 at 01:04  
I Paid 15 euros for the limited edition (2 CD digipack with bonus track)
opeth771 - 06.11.2009 at 22:37  
I thought they were going back to their old style after losing alot of fans with the most shitty albums ever made (Unia), but this one is just as bad... Flag In The Ground saves this one, and reminds me alot of "Victoria's Secret" and "The Cage"
Glabrezu - 22.11.2009 at 12:07  
Bad disc... Betther than UNIA but that was really awful. In this one I like only the intro, that remembers me the old sonata arctica.
replica of me - 23.12.2009 at 13:39  
The biggest dissapointment of the year.
Vitriolic Hate - 30.12.2009 at 16:53  
It's very good album,it grows in you! I can call it ''Experimental Dark Power Metal''
Uirapuru - 04.01.2010 at 22:49  
This album a great positive surprise I was expecting some boring ''Unia Pt.2'', but it is catchy, has memorable songs, the vocals are at best.

Good album. Still could be more ''flowerish''
Darkside Momo - 05.01.2010 at 17:44  
Not bad album actually. Not great either, but infinitely better than boring Unia.
But I guess they still have to do better in their 'new' way. Not that it's that different from their first albums anyway...
alexxhighlander - 16.01.2010 at 07:35  
Boring, heavy pop crap, disguised as prog power. The guitars are buried under tons of boring elevator music keyboards, there is not a single memorable riff or solo in any song, and Tony does sing well but keeps to the lower end of his range most of the time, which makes it repetitive and dull. The drums don't do absolutely anything worth mentioning, the bass is best ignored, and the pseudo-orchestration parts are just Nigthtwish rip offs.

This is garbage.
Warman - 20.01.2010 at 21:29  
Written by Uirapuru on 04.01.2010 at 22:49

This album a great positive surprise I was expecting some boring ''Unia Pt.2'', but it is catchy, has memorable songs, the vocals are at best.

I agree with that. Also expected something boring, but "The Days of Grays" has some amazing parts.
Hammer Pie - 29.05.2010 at 03:04  
This is one of the worst pop rock albums I've ever heard.
x-avier - 09.07.2010 at 00:39  
Better than UNIA for sure, but still not good at all.
Sephiros7 - 08.08.2010 at 20:16  
I just very very recently became a fan of Sonata Arctica and the way I listened to the albums was kind of backwards. Nowadays if I DL a discography based ona recomendation (pandora, friend etc) I'll hop on and see what album got the best reviews and listen to their albums from best to worst reviews. With this band I didn't have time to check reviews so I started with their latest 2 albums Unia and Days of Grays (listening to again right now) I gotta say they are sounding definitely Metal / Prog Metalish and I am totally digging them. I started reading some of the reviews and listener feedback on this site and I do notice a bit of unhappiness with the last 2 albums.

This situation reminds me of when I was a kid getting into Metallica for the first time. First song I ever heard was Hero of the Day when Load came out and played the video on TV, I listened to load / reload a few times and then started working my way backwards only to be pleasantly surprised. I'm assuming based on what everyone is saying that's what's going to happen with Sonata Arctica, so I'm glad I started with their 2 latest lol, it can only get better from here going backwards right? lol
Baz Anderson - 08.08.2010 at 20:35  
Yeh, their first four are undoubtedly the best.
rps - 13.12.2010 at 04:01  
Tragic Masterpiece................10................you forget there is a orchestra playing in the background..............freking awesome album.
Milena - 15.03.2011 at 09:09  
Written by The Shape 1973 on 08.10.2009 at 21:12

Written by Dane Train on 25.09.2009 at 05:33

Does this album have a love ballad about a werewolf? No? Fuck it.

It does. Check out the US bonus track In My Eyes You're A Giant.
"I am howling at the bright new moon"
"I am a creature of the night"

So the tradition continues.

Ummm, guys, hello, have you actually read all of the lyrics? Except this one, there is another wolf song on the album, which kicks ass harder (well, with the story at least, and it's in the top three by music for sure) than all their previous ones, and that is The Last Amazing Grays.

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