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Sonata Nocturna - The Darkest Winter

Sonata Nocturna -  CD Review
The Darkest Winter

CD Info
Label: Rage of Achilles
4 Tracks
Language: English

I don’t know how I’ve managed to overlook this band so far, but it’s a mistake long overdue for correction. Perhaps others could benefit as well, as I haven’t really heard this band’s name mentioned very much so maybe they’re not too well-known. At any rate, they definitely deserve some attention, so here I am to help out.

Sonata Nocturna is a Spanish band playing dark, romantic, orchestral, classical/neo-classical, gothic metal, with the emphasis on….. well I can’t pick anything out, the emphasis is on all those things. It has a rather elaborate, dense structure and a real theatrical flair. At times it sounds quite cinematic, as with the beginning of the second song Hatefull. Beautiful piano passages abound, and the orchestral elements have a huge, grandiose sound. There is no shortage of heavy guitar riffage or power drumming either. There are parts of this that are not too far from what country-mates Ebony Ark do, especially with some progressive-tending tempo changes, although overall it’s much closer to classical music and gothic in the more traditional sense of the term. Everything comes together to create some really beautiful and haunting melodies which evoke a deep emotional response. Overall I think the composition is very good, even if there are a few spikes in the aggression level that seem a little out of place.

At least as interesting as the music is the vocal work by operatic siren Amparo Garcia. Simply put, this lady could hold her own against just about any of the other operatic female vocalists in metal. She has a voice that is strong and pure, able to reach the high notes and still retain her sense of expression while doing so. Even so, she doesn’t often go for the absolute peaks, usually staying a little lower, but she sounds fantastic no matter what part of her range she’s singing in. She is a treasure, and I hope to hear more of her in the future.

Speaking of the future though, I’m not sure where the band stands in that regard. This EP is from 2003 (a reworking of a 2001 demo), and their website promises a full album “coming in 2004” -- I think they‘re a little late. Apparently the site hasn’t been updated since then (the last news item is dated sometime in 2003), so I am left wondering what the deal is. It would be a real shame if a band with this much potential called it quits after just one EP.

But, if four songs are all we are destined to have, I for one will be sure to enjoy them.