Sonata Arctica

For the Sake of Revenge

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At first it may seem a little ludicrous for Finland's Sonata Arctica to be releasing the second live album of their career, with only four studio full-lengths (and a smattering of EPs) from which to populate their set list, but you won't hear their die-hard fans complaining. After all, these power metal champions don't have many casual fans; just outright haters or devoted followers for whom their rarely wavering sonic template and scientifically orchestrated stage show simply can't be improved upon. (Keep in mind that, like most of their melodically inclined Euro metal brethren, Sonata Arctica's stage show is essentially comprised of a scaled down reenactment of Iron Maiden's format, where meticulous musicianship seems to take precedence over spontaneity more often than not.) This is why the Fin's can get away with alternating their fast and slow numbers, almost without fail, and their fans seem to eat it right up! Heck, For the Sake of Revenge almost feels like a case study for this technique, as the audience is alternately buffeted with hurricane winds generated by the countless sixteenth notes and double kick drums contained in "Misplaced," "8th Commandment," "Black Sheep," and their like; or stranded in the dead calm surrounding majestic trad metal anthems and power ballads such as "Blinded No More," "Broken," and "Graven Image." Death and black metal fans will of course get nothing out of this release (let's see them maintain a straight face as the band launches into the amazingly irony-free "Victoria's Secret"!), but For the Sake of Revenge is tailor-made for Sonata Arctica's unquestioning power metal devotees. [The CD was also released with a DVD.]

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