After some line-up changes in 1997, they changed their name to Tricky Means. In 1999 the band recorded the new demo “Full Moon” in the Tico Tico Studios in Kemi.
This new demo was the first survey for the band in heavy metal waters. The trade marks of the band were a faster and melodical sound, keyboard oriented heavy metal with clear and high vocals. How the destiny wanted it, and with help from Athi Kortelainen and the Tico Tico Studios, the demo “Full Moon” found the way to the metal label Spinfarm. Meanwhile Tricky Means changed the name to Sonata Arctica.
In summer 1999 the first single “UnOpened” was released. The release of the first real full legend album “Ecliptica” designated the fall 1999. At first it was only sold in Finland, but other countries were soon to follow. Shortly after this release Tony Kakko decided to concentrate more on singing, as opposed to trying to sing and play keyboards at the same time. Mikko Härkin (ex-Kenziner) became a new member and replaced Tony on the keyboard.
After the last show of the Silence tour at Jörisrock in 2002, Mikko Härkin decided to leave the band because of personal matters. The band announced the search for a new keyboarder and got a lot of applications from all over the world. After a night in a bar with the two candidates that had been invited, the band voted for Henrik Klingenberg.
The national success continued after “Winterheart’s Guild” was released in Finland. It entered the charts on the 3rd place and stayed in the top 10 for five weeks.
After this, Sonata Arctica signed a contract with Nuclear Blast.
The recording session for the next album now also featured Henrik who added fresh spices to the soup, later on called “Reckoning Night”. In Finland the album came up to the second position for the most sold exemplars in the first two weeks. Finland wasn’t the only country, where “Reckoning Night” stayed in the charts. In Germany it was on place 77, in Switzerland on place 85 and in Norway on place 69. In fact, there should follow a headliner tour after the release, but the band got the unique bargain to play with Nightwish on their European tour as special guest. The band decided to do so and thus they toured with Nightwish through all over Europe and played in arenas with capacities up to 12 000 people!
In October 2004 the band received remarkable news: They would exceeded the Gold record because of their album “Silence”, which arrived a sale of more than 15.000 copies and finally became to the most sold albums of the band.
The last gig on this tour was at the newly-formed Finnish Metal Expo at Kaapelitehdas, Helsinki.. The last show of the Finnish tour wasn’t only a sold out performance with an enormous audience, it was also a good practise for the band for the coming Japan tour. For the first time, Sonata Arctica had played the same set which would be later released as their first DVD “For The Sake Of Revenge”, it was recorded in Tokyo.
The Japanese label Marquee/ Avalon released the compilation album “The End Of This Chapter”. The composition contained a previously unreleased version, an instrumental issue of “Draw Me” of the album “Winterheart’s Guild”. The first limited pressing of the compilation was arranged with a DVD, which contains seven acoustic songs.
In the second half of December 2005, once again the magic of Sonata Arctica was showed: Their third album “Winterheart’s Guild” received the gold disc, because more than 15.000 copies were sold before the beginning of 2006. Once again the have captured Finland and for the second time they gained the once-in-a-lifetime goal during one month.
Shortly after “Winterheart’s Guild”, the fourth studio album “Reckoning Night” was also awarded with the golden disc in Finland, while the band still toured through North America in February 2006. More than 100.000 copies of this album were sold worldwide. In a little while after the end of the North American tour in February, Sonata Arctica started a Europe tour to promote their forthcoming live DVD “For The Sake Of Revenge”.
While the band recorded the fifth album “Unia” in different studios, the Finnish press announced an official documentary film about Sonata Arctica. This documentary followed Sonata Arctica in their hometown Kemi and also showed how a song of Sonata Arctica is developing from the scratch to the very end of the creative process. Meanwhile this documentary isn’t the only non-musical work in combination with Sonata Arctica, there was also a Sonata Arctica 3d role playing game for PC, with the name “Winterheart’s Guild”, developed.
In May 2007 the album “Unia” was released. Before the release of the album, the single “Paid In Full” was released in Finland, Japan and Germany. This single got the first place in the official Finnish charts, the second place in the following week and stayed in the national top ten, till the release of “Unia”, a month later.
After 17 years as a team, the wolf pack has moved from classic Power Metal to more progressive shores, but went back to their initial roots on the last release ‘Pariah’s Child. Fans know that SONATA ARCTICA constantly deliver their high quality sound, but are also up for a little surprise here and there, hence every one of the band’s 8 full-length releases carried its own charm that always added a fresh new touch to the genre.
Therefore the ever-active quintet rarely finds time to breathe and once again, it only took them less than two years to produce the follow-up to their last hit album – their new brainchild The Ninth Hour will see the light of day on October 2016. But just like their last two releases, this album also gives the listener food for thought due to its thoughtful lyrical and visual content. After a North American tour plus many headline shows around the globe, the band was able to take a close look at the entire world as it is at the moment – on the edge of a possible armageddon.