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To get straight to the point: Sonata Arctica are great and seasoned musicians, so the Finish guys will actually never record a really bad album - but nevertheless, `”Pariah`s Child” is my disappointment of the year, so far. The reasons are quickly told: The album is poor in highlights, only a few choruses and almost no melody stick in the mind. “The Wolves Die Young”, “Cloud Factory” and “Blood” are three quite typical but quite good songs. There are also “What Did You Do At War, Dad?” and “The X Marks The Spot”, which are quite untypical but also great songs. Some fans of the band´s early days will, however, definitely have some issues with these songs. All in all, only half of the tracks are worthy of mention, in a positive way.
But also these songs are not without their flaws. I´m talking about those spoken word parts, which are incorporated into some songs. The problem is that they are messing with the songs´ flow. And the toothless production does the rest. The keys are much too dominant, the guitars, in turn, are much too powerless and restrained – as if they would not be important for Metal music. Then there are songs that are really heavy and kick ass (e.g. “Running Lights”) but there´s nothing else remarkable about them.
All my points of criticism are nicely summarised with the final track, “Larger Than Life”, which is almost 10 minutes long. The track reminds a bit of Queens “Bohemian Rhapsody” but it has no highlights and no memorable moments. Even the chorus of the bombastic epic is quite bleak. Instead, there are some strange, Monty Python-like spoken words. In my opinion, “Pariah`s Child” does not sound like an evolution, it sounds like a quick shot!