Ashley Winchester wrote:
Unfortunately, while I don't dislike the album this one is probably going to take a while to sink in... and even then I don't think it's going to keep my attention very long. Something is just kind of off with this one... it feels kind of shallow in some ways. Anyway, we'll see I guess.
Okay, I've listened to Pariah's Child some more and some of the songs have grown on me... but the album definitely has problems.
"The Wolves Die Young"
The opener is curious because this has to be the weakest opener of any Sonata Arctica album yet - and that's saying something since many of the openers are pretty typical speed metal numbers. There really isn't anything wrong with the song but it just doesn't have any hook to speak of. This almost occurred on the last album with its opener "All the Broken Hearts (Make You Beautiful)" but it was able to avoid doing that.
Like the opener it just has no hook to speak of.
"Take One Breath"
After two hook-less songs we at least get something different... but it's a jumble of ideas that are far from being cohesive.
The imaginatively named "Cloud Factory" does manage to get the album back on track somewhat but it pales to the next three songs.
Here's where the album gets good. "Blood" is a fantastic song that does justice to the wolf-themed songs the band put on the back burner with the last album. Quite honestly lyricist Tony Kakko is the only person I know that can plop the dictated Oxford English Dictionary definition of "blood" into a damn song of the same name and make it work.
"What Did You Do in the War, Dad?"
I really like this one as well as it does tug at the heart strings as a son and father talk about the titular subject... but it's basically built on the same foundation that "Caleb" was built on back on Unia.
"Half a Marathon Man"
The title is pretty humorous in itself... but this track is far from a joke. Like "A $hitload of Money" from Stones Grow Her Name this is throwback rock track that is pretty entertaining and seems to confirm making one of these tracks per album may become a common motif for the band... and I have no problem with that.
"X Marks the Spot"
Ugh. "X Marks the Spot" does mark the spot... for the worst track on the album. Easily this album's "Alone in Heaven" from Stones Grow Her Name, this rocker tries to be clever with that whole "rock preacher" thing and it is so hammy it is embarrassing.
I've read that Tony Kakko wrote "Love" in response to fans who feel his love ballads always end up being bittersweet. Extremely corny and cheesy like any good love ballad, I think this track will definitely do the trick.
"Larger Than Life"
And of course we have to have to end the album with a ten minute monster because... why else... it's a power metal album! The only thing "Larger Than Life" really accomplishes is proving to me that it is insanely overwrought creation. There are a few good nuggets buried in here but those small moments aren't worth putting up with the rest of the track. Easily has some of the most ill fated choir singing I've heard in a while.
At the end I only like about half the album. In today's world that not too bad... but compared to past albums that's just downright bad in comparison. Still, again for $10 I'll take it.