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Sonata Arctica - 'Ecliptica - Revisited: 15th Anniversary Edition' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/7d/4f/98/Sonata-Arctica-Ecliptica-Revisited-15th-Anniversary-Edition-50-1445545195.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     October 22, 2015    
 
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A classic debut retrofitted with more sonic crunch.

Whilst I can see the logic behind it in terms of taking back control of material otherwise locked up in the conglomerate mess that is your average major label, as a general rule of thumb I'm not a huge fan of band's re-recording older material "en masse".

That said, Manowar did a fantastic job with 'Battle Hymns' (although not so much with 'Kings Of Metal'), as did Stryper with their superlative 'Second Coming' set... it's just that the purist in me would prefer that things were, for the most part, left in their original context whilst those involved got on with the job of creating something new. However, I readily accept that I may be in something of a minority on that score, so in the interests of objectivity and fairness I've come to accept that much like questionable tribute albums, they're not going to go away.

Bursting onto the Symphonic Power Metal scene at the very end of the last millennium, Finland's Sonata Arctica have since gone on to become one of its most accomplished exponents; their svelte union of theatrical bombast, technical dexterity and melodic grandiloquence raising them head and shoulders above the masses. Their debut album 'Ecliptica', whilst perhaps hued with an almost childlike innocence and exuberance at times, is still my favourite album of theirs – they've released some great stuff since, but nothing's ever had the same initial impact – so I was more than a little curious when news of this particular platter first surfaced.

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An idea first mooted by their Japanese label, a fifteenth anniversary re-recorded version of that fabled debut soon began to take shape, the current incarnation of the band keen to pay their respects to the past whilst freshening up the sound a little. There are two schools of thought when approaching a project such as this; you can either stick pretty closely to the original, or you can tinker around and make it different ... thankfully Sonata Arctica had the good sense to choose the former.

Although sonically more dynamic sounding, 'Ecliptica – Revisited' sticks fairly faithfully to the original winning formula, which means that genre classics such as '8th Commandment', 'Replica' and 'Destruction Preventer' still kick like a hyperactive ten year old on a dextrose high. In addition to the original ten tracks the band have also added their version of the old Genesis chestnut 'I Can't Dance' although for some reason the label hasn't included this on the review promo – go figure!

A classic debut retrofitted with more sonic crunch!

Dave Cockett

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