For The Sake of Revenge (Nuclear Blast)
by Scott Hefflon
A live CD and DVD from one of my favorite classic heavy metal bands. From Finland, recorded in Japan where they eat this stuff up, evidence of a tight-as-shit band, able to pull off everything played on the CD in a live setting. No small feat, seeing as the dueling leads and soaring vocals are nearly unparalleled to begin with. Some might chuckle at the skippy style, lots of power ballads and high vocals, but anyone who’s ever tried to play or sing like this knows how tricky it is. So frilly shirts and operatic wooha or not, ya gotta respect the ability, and understand that the songwriting is top-notch as well. The sound quality is immaculate, as it is on the CDs, and like Finland’s other top export, Children of Bodom, Sonata Arctica are one of few examples of a metal band whose keyboardist is as fleet-fingered as the guitarists and deserves to be as prominently spotlighted.