The Ninth Hour (album)

Last updated
The Ninth Hour
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 7, 2016
Recorded2016 at Studio57 in Alaveteli, Finland
Genre Symphonic metal, power metal
Label Nuclear Blast
Producer Sonata Arctica
Sonata Arctica chronology
Pariah's Child
The Ninth Hour
Singles from The Ninth Hour
  1. "Closer to an Animal"
    Released: August 11, 2016
  2. "Life"
    Released: September 16, 2016
  3. "We Are What We Are"
    Released: October 20, 2016

The Ninth Hour is the ninth studio album by Finnish power metal band Sonata Arctica. It was released on October 7, 2016 by Nuclear Blast.

Finland Republic in Northern Europe

Finland, officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country in Northern Europe bordering the Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia, and Gulf of Finland, between Norway to the north, Sweden to the northwest, and Russia to the east. The capital and largest city is Helsinki. Other major cities are Espoo, Vantaa, Tampere, Oulu and Turku.

Power metal is a subgenre of heavy metal combining characteristics of traditional heavy metal with speed metal, often within symphonic context. Generally, power metal is characterized by a faster, lighter, and more uplifting sound, in contrast with the heaviness and dissonance prevalent for example in extreme metal. Power metal bands usually have anthem-like songs with fantasy-based subject matter and strong choruses, thus creating a theatrical, dramatic and emotionally "powerful" sound. The term was first used in the middle of the 1980s and refers to two different but related styles: the first pioneered and largely practiced in North America with a harder sound similar to speed metal, and a later more widespread and popular style based in Europe, South America and East Asia with a lighter, more melodic sound and frequent use of keyboards.

Sonata Arctica Finnish power metal band

Sonata Arctica is a Finnish power metal band from the town of Kemi, Finland. Created as a hard rock band named Tricky Beans, they later changed to Tricky Means and finally to Sonata Arctica, when they shifted to power metal. The current line-up consists of singer, keyboardist and songwriter Tony Kakko, guitarist Elias Viljanen, bass guitarist Pasi Kauppinen, keyboardist and keytarist Henrik Klingenberg, and drummer Tommy Portimo. All the musicians of the band's history except Portimo also acted as backing vocalists.


Background and recording

Vocalist, keyboardist and songwriter Tony Kakko confirmed Sonata Arctica would start recording their ninth studio album in April 2016 in several home studios in Finland, with the main recording and mixing taking place at the Studio57 in Alaveteli, Finland. He also described the artwork of this new album, explaining: [1]

Tony Kakko Finnish singer

Toni Kristian "Tony" Kakko is a Finnish musician, composer and vocalist. He is mainly known as the vocalist, primary songwriter, and creative force in the band Sonata Arctica since 1996.

Kakko says musical inspiration for the album came by opening his eyes and ears and letting everything in. [2] The album title is inspired by The Ninth Hour described in the Bible, which is the moment when people are supposed to sacrifice and remorse according to that book. [3]

Bible Collection of religious texts in Judaism and Christianity

The Bible is a collection of sacred texts or scriptures. Varying parts of the Bible are considered to be a product of divine inspiration and a record of the relationship between God and humans by Christians, Jews, Samaritans, and Rastafarians.

In a 2019 interview, Kakko called The Ninth Hour a "stressful album" due to its recording process: [4]

Song information

The album opener and first single is "Closer to an Animal", a track that Kakko worked on two years before the album recording and which was brought around midway through the sessions. It has a reprise, titled "On the Faultline (Closure to an Animal)", which closes the regular edition of the album and marks keyboardist Henrik Klingenberg's first usage of an acoustic piano with the band. He mentions an influence of 80s music in his performance at the track. [2]

Henrik Klingenberg Finnish musician

Henrik "Henkka" Klingenberg is a keyboardist, keytarist and singer. He joined the Finnish power metal band Sonata Arctica in late 2002 and currently resides in Kemi, Finland, when not on tour.

This article includes an overview of the major events and trends in popular music in the 1980s.

"Life" was the first song in which the band worked on, but also the last to be finished, which made it the most altered song throughout the sessions. [2] According to Kakko, "we had three different versions. I wasn't happy, the guys were totally excited by the first version and made it their own. But I thought it was pretty awful (laughs). I told them, 'We are putting it on hold.' I got back to it later and I think I got it right, edited some parts and changed things around". [5]

"Fairytale" is a satire on the political events of the United States by the time of the album sessions. "We Are What We Are" was one of the few songs Kakko prepared as a demo for the band to listen to before the recording sessions. Unlike what he did for Pariah's Child , he did not record a demo for every song he wrote for The Ninth Hour. The song features Nightwish's Troy Donockley on Overton low whistle. Kakko showed it to him amidst their North American tour and suggested the guest performance. [2]

Bassist Pasi Kauppinen saw some Finnish folk music influences on "Til Death's Done Us Apart". [2] It is part of the so-called Caleb saga, a series of songs that started on Silence 's "The End of This Chapter"; was continued on Reckoning Night 's "Don't Say a Word", Unia 's "Caleb" and The Days of Grays 's "Juliet"; [6] and would later continue with Talviyö 's "The Last of the Lambs". [4]

Kakko first introduced "Among the Shooting Stars" to the rest of the band during the Stones Grow Her Name sessions, but they rejected it. He then reworked it for this album. The song talks about a couple of wolves. "Rise a Night" revisits their early power metal sound and talks about a group of adventurers leaving their dying planet to find a new place for their kind, eventually arriving on Earth. [2]

"Fly, Navigate, Communicate" is a Devin Townsend Project-influenced song that compares human relations to flying procedures (flying, navigating, communicating). Kakko described it as "the hardest, most aggressive and speediest" song on the album. Some members were even reluctant about actually having it on the album. [2] "Candle Lawns" is another song reminiscent of Stones Grow Her Name's sessions. Kakko wrote it during the mixing of the album for a movie project by a friend in America and then reworked it for The Ninth Hour. It is about a child describing a graveyard. [2] In another interview, he described it as "a story about friends that are so close they are practically brothers and they go fighting together and have the same career. Then one of them gets killed and he tells his friend to take care of his family for him." [7]

"White Pearl, Black Oceans - Part II, 'By the Grace of the Ocean'" continues the story introduced in Reckoning Night 's "White Pearl, Black Oceans...". It was originally intended to be the album closing track. [5] Says Kakko:

Track listing

All tracks written by Tony Kakko, except where noted [8] .

1."Closer to an Animal"5:25
4."We Are What We Are"5:25
5."Till Death's Done Us Apart"6:06
6."Among the Shooting Stars"4:10
7."Rise a Night"4:28
8."Fly, Navigate, Communicate"4:27
9."Candle Lawns"4:32
10."White Pearl, Black Oceans - Part II, "By the Grace of the Ocean""10:13
11."On the Faultline (Closure to an Animal)"5:34
Total length:62:06 [9]


Credits adapted from the band's official website: [8]

Guest musicians
Technical staff


Chart (2016)Peak
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria) [10] 43
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders) [11] 112
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia) [12] 53
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista) [13] 2
French Albums (SNEP) [14] 96
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100) [15] 22
Italian Albums (FIMI) [16] 68
Scottish Albums (OCC) [17] 96
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE) [18] 86
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan) [19] 60
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade) [20] 18

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