Sonata Arctica – Clear Cold Beyond

Were you still waiting for this? After the, I dare say, debacle of Talviyö? Sonata Arctica is back and brings good tidings. According to the band, Clear Cold Beyond marks a return to power metal. Talviyö was not granted a review by Zware Metalen, and rightly so! An album with a mishmash of half-baked rock songs that left listeners with a big question mark above their heads. It’s fine if you want to make soft rubbish, but at least do it properly. The band has now taken up the challenge and promises some fast-paced power metal. Does it deliver?

Yes, it surely does! Sonata Arctica hasn’t been lying even a little bit. The new album indeed marks the return to forward-propelling power metal. After many years of nagging fans, the band has chosen to heed the call for power metal. Personally, I don’t consider it a weakness for a band to listen to its fans and especially so if you come up with an album like Clear Cold Beyond. And if you happen to start listening to this album and you are thinking “What kind of sexually transmittable keyboard baby metal is this,” then this band is still not meant for you.

Opening track First In Line kicks off as one of the highlights. Launching with drums it quickly turns into a typical power metal song. The chorus is catchy as it should be. Of course there’s a guitar solo as well that breaks the track wide open. California is another earworm with overly cheerful keyboards. It has an annoying melody, but it’s precisely the annoying tracks that stick. Especially the overly catchy chorus is totally silly.

The lyrics on Clear Cold Beyond are eccentric. What’s the intention behind “I’m yours on the day when California falls into the sea“? You can play as many cheerful staccato chords on your keyboard as you want to, but it remains odd. But the strangest is the “Asshole” on A Monster Only You Can’t See. It seems to be about that one friend who’s always a bit of a jerk but still remains your friend. Fine, but I am hearing music that evokes dragons and shield maidens in arctic regions. Instead, you’re stuck with “Asshole.” Or what about “I’m a mourning dove“? Read that again. I don’t know… “There’s a party in the b(l)ack hole” is another head-scratcher. In my opinion, the lyrics on Clear Cold Beyond don’t always logically align with the musical concept.

Fortunately, the band still offers tracks like Dark Empath. Because damn, this is again some catchy stuff. You know there’s going to be some serious transposing, and of course, there is. A somewhat slower song but it does not have less of an impact thanks to the beautiful harmonies. The Best Things is another track that keeps you engaged. A ballad where the lyrics finally match the music. The simple melody is complemented by a fantastic vocal line of the ever slightly nasal Tony Kakko. The band plays with contrasting keys here. When Clear Cold Beyond arrives, it’s clear why this is the title track. Tony Kakko’s vocals fly from high to low in this ice cold track. This time the dissonances make the chorus stand out with its growling lead guitar.

It’s cold, it’s power metal, it’s Sonata Arctica. Clear Cold Beyond is an album that introduces you to the band’s personality. An eccentric figure, but one with a good heart. A figure that listens to his fans, but still expresses some reluctance in the tracks. It’s that spiciness and that love-hate relationship that resonates on Clear Cold Beyond. As if the band wants to say: Yes, fans, we can do this at the highest level, but is this really what you want? This album makes you think. Clear Cold Beyond is captivating, and you definitely shouldn’t put it aside after just one listen. It truly shines when you let it age like fine wine. Don’t be a mourning dove and give it a try!




Atomic Fire Records, 2024


  1. First In Line
  2. California
  3. Shah Mat
  4. Dark Empath
  5. Cure For Everything
  6. A Monster Only You Can’t See
  7. Teardrops
  8. Angel Defiled
  9. The Best Things
  10. Clear Cold Beyond
  11. A Ballad For The Broken
  12. Toy Soldiers (Martika Cover)


  • Tony Kakko – Vocals
  • Elias Viljanen – Guitars
  • Pasi Kauppinen – Bass
  • Henrik “Henkka” Klingenberg – Keyboards
  • Tommy Portimo – Drums