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Sonarta Arctica are a heavy metal band hailing from Kemi, Finland who formed in 1995. Still going strong in their third decade together, the band are one of the most commercially succesful power metal bands in the world.
The story of how Sonarta Arctica became the band that they are today is half absolutely normal, and half the complete opposite of what a band normally does just after it forms. To wit, the band began life with the name Tricky Beans. A patently ridiculous name I’m sure you’ll agree, but nothing out of the ordinary, and then as the band members got more serious about what they were doing they changed their name to the more agreeable (for a metal band) Sonarta Arctica.
So far so normal, right? Then you take into account what they were doing musically at the same time. The band started life as a raucous hard rock band, describing their sound as “a mixture of Megadeth and Spin Doctors”, and at the time they decided to get more serious with their ambitions as a band… they started playing power metal.
A serious band becoming ludicrous I can understand. Vice versa, I can understand. A band balancing the ludicrous and serious I can understand. But a band swapping the reasons why they’re ludicrous and serious over, and effectively becoming a photo negative of the band they formed as? It’s just as well that Sonarta Arctica own it and are a truly great band in their own right, cos otherwise they’d be insufferable.
The band came together in 1995, spent two years playing as Tricky Beans and built up something of a cult following with near constant touring and three demo E.P’s which were sold on the road. 1997 was the point that they started to rethink the band’s sound, which was obviously the right thing to do since the very first thing they recorded with the new line-up and updated sound got them signed to Spinefarm Records. By the time they’d released their first single on the label, they’d signed further deals all around the world, the stage, it’s fair to say, was set.
Their debut album “Ecliptica” was released in November 1999 and left enough of a legacy to justify a completely rerecorded 15th anniversary release in 2014. It was a top twenty hit in their home country, eventually going Gold as have seven of the eight albums they released after it, and with each successive album their profile across Europe as a whole has gotten bigger and bigger. They’re a band that any fan of heavy metal at its most silly and sublime should cherish like few other things in life, and they come highly recommended.