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  Sonata Arctica was born in 1996 on the edge of the world, in northern
 Finish town of Kemi. The very first incarnation of the band was named 
 Tricky Beans. As Tricky Beans, the group produced three demos (Friend till
 the End, Agre Pamppers and PeaceMaker) and played twice in Jyrki S?k?irkus.
 After some personnel changes in 1997, the outfit changed their name to
 Tricky Means. Let it be know to the Metal community that initially the band
 experimented in musical styles far from heavy metal.

  Turning the page in 1999, Tricky Means recorded new demo "FullMoon" in
 Tico Tico Studios located in their hometown, Kemi. At the time of recording
 the line-up consisted of: Tony (vocals/keys), Jani (guitars), Tommy (drums),
 and Janne (bass). This new demo was the first exploration of the band in heavy
 metal waters. Band's trademark sound of fast, melodic and keyboard oriented
 heavy metal with clear and high vocals was born. As fate would have it and
 with help from Ahti Kortelainen of Tico-Tico Studio, the "FullMoon" demo
 found its way to the premier metal label of Finland, Spinefarm. At the same
 time Tricky Means became Sonata Arctica.

  Summer of 1999 brought us the first single from Sonata Arctica - UnOpened.
 The title song was simultaneously included in Metalliliitto 1999 compilation
 CD. Two furious tracks from the single, UnOpened and Mary-Lou marked the
 arrival of SA to power metal community. Of course, not everything went
 smoothly. During the first mix/pressing of UnOpened single, Track 1, UnOpened,
 was unintentionally slowed down. The mistake was discovered shortly after
 the first batch of disks was sent to music stores. Entire first pressing
 was recalled. Approximately 200 copies from that first run were sold and are
 now considered rare collector's items.

  Autumn of 1999 marked the release of the very first full-length album,
 Ecliptica. Initially released in Finland, other countries quickly followed.
 Widely successful, Ecliptica opened doors for Sonata Arctica to participate
 in two tribute records. 'I Want Out' for Helloween tribute album "Keepers
 of Jericho" and 'Still Loving You' for Scorpions tribute, "A Tribute to the
 Scorpions" were both kick-ass versions of originals.

  Soon after the release of Ecliptica, band's mastermind Tony Kakko decided
 to concentrate more on singing, as opposed to trying to sing and play keyboards
 at the same time. Mikko Harkin (ex-Kenziner) joined the band to releif Tony from
 keys and to allow the front man to roam the stage. This change allowed for much
 more energetic live shows. It introduced a new capability for Sonata Arctica 
 to have two keyboard players simultaneously, adding a new cool twist to the live 

  Quick rise to fame continued through the end of 1999 and beginning of 2000.
 Soon after release of Ecliptica, Sonata Arctica was chosen as support band for
 Stratovarius European Tour, winning over 32 other bands from 15 different record
 companies. The tour started in April of 2000 with Strato and Rhapsody on the
 road. It lasted for two months, during which Sonata played over 30 gigs in 10
 countries, traveling more then a thousand kilometers. 

  Very successful tour was followed by the release of new mini-CD Successor. This
 new disk included two previously unreleased tracks, two cover tracks for upcoming
 tribute albums, some live tracks from Provinssi Rock and one edited track from 

  In a small line-up change, Janne Kivilahti made a decision to depart with the band
 due to personal reasons. Janne's last gig took place in Kemi on 30th June in the summer
 of 2000. Janne was replaced by Marko Paasikoski, who happened to be one of the founding
 members of Tricky Beans. Being a familiar face to the entire band, the transition was
 smooth and transparent.

  Year 2000 brought not only a big tour, new mini-CD, and a small line-up change, but
 also media recognition. Sonata Arctica was chosen as a candidate for "the best new-comer
 band" category by Emma in Finland. The new millennium is also treating the Sonata beans
 well. In the spring of 2001 Sonata Arctica opened two gigs for Alice Cooper, Dio and Ratt
 (in Oulu and Helsinki) in Monsters of the Millennium 2001 -tour.

  Striking metal while it is hot, the band worked on the second full-length offering from
 autumn of 2000 through the winter of 2001. All the songs have been composed again by the
 band's mastermind Tony Kakko. The single, "Wolf & Raven" from the second album, was
 released in May 01'. The album is scheduled for initial release in Japan, with other
 territories to follow shortly after. This recognition towards Japanese fans comes
 for a reason. The first album, Ecliptica, has sold more than 30000 copies in Japan. Band
 also plans to play its first four concerts in Japan in September of 2001.

  This year is shaping up to be very busy for the band. In July, a Finish tour kicks off,
 with separate gigs (including Wacken Open Air in Germany) in Europe. Than comes the visit
 to the Land of The Rising Sun. Than in September, a full blown European tour, as a support
 act for the monsters Gamma Ray. This trip will span 5 weeks, 12 countries and 28 shows.
 The traveling "vacation" will be finalized by the show in Helsinki, Finland to the delight
 of Finnish fans.