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The debut Ecliptica arrived by the end of and had a worldwide release. Tony Kakko then decided to focus on singing and the band began seeking a new keyboard player.
At the beginning of , Sonata Arctica was chosen to support the well-known power metal band Stratovarius throughout their European tour. Marko Paasikoski returned to the band to play bass in the wake of Janne Kivilahti's departure after the tour. According to Kakko, Kivilahti left because he thought they weren't going anywhere  and Paasikoski was their first choice as the new bassist since he left just before the band got their first record deal.
An extensive tour followed, which included concerts throughout Europe together with Gamma Ray and Japan. A live album entitled Songs of Silence was also released that year, consisting of gigs from their tour in Japan. In the search for another keyboardist, the band received many applications and two of them were invited for auditions.
Since they were well aware of the candidates' ability, the band decided to pick the new member based on personality. To this end, they spent a night drinking with each of the potentials to find out which one would fit best into the band's personality and mentality. Henrik Klingenberg was eventually chosen and joined the band in time to take part in the tour that followed the release of Winterheart's Guild. With the end of their contract with Spinefarm Records , the band received invitations from most European recording labels and eventually opted for Nuclear Blast.
Their third album — Winterheart's Guild was recorded with the help of the seasoned keyboard player Jens Johansson from Stratovarius who recorded the keyboard solos, while Kakko took care of the basics. The album was released in In early , the band was chosen as the opener for Iron Maiden 's Japanese tour. Additionally, Tommy Portimo became a father; his wife gave birth to a baby girl in March. Reckoning Night was recorded in three months and released in October, with Klingenberg introducing the use of the organ to the band.
Both the single and the EP of this release remained on the top of the Finnish charts simultaneously for over six weeks. A promotional tour was to follow, but Sonata Arctica was invited by the popular Nightwish to join their European tour, and thus made a change of plans.
In early , Nightwish invited the band to open the concerts of their North American tour. This tour eventually got cancelled, but the members of Sonata Arctica opted to still make a short tour, playing concerts in Canada and the United States.
Then, Spinefarm Records released a compilation album to get the most out of their contract with the band, since Sonata Arctica had changed to another label. A computer video game was also planned, based on Sonata Arctica characters and music. The name of the game was going to be Winterheart's Guild , after the album. The game was cancelled for unannounced reasons but a demo was shown at the Leipzig video game conference in , featuring Henrik Klingenberg as the playable character.
In December , the band began recording their fifth studio album. On May 25, , Unia was released. The album's first single, " Paid in Full ", was released on April 27, You cannot heal the feeling burning deep inside your spine You now collapse, cave in revealing scabby marks of life Mother I've seen too much, I hate to live my life.
Forgot every word you told me, stubborn little child, angel of your life I have to find my Eden now, the gates I left behind. But the pain will remain. No power to gain. Now I have time to dwell on, self-awareness, dreadful crime. I saw colors too bright, not knowing that I was blind. I slayed a man who took a chance and drank the forbidden wine. The map I draw reveals that I have been complete, machine, in team.
Father I've seen too much, I hate to live my life. The pain will remain. Mother where's your son. When has this begun' Who has been the fool' No one was born to be a servant or a slave.
Who can tell me the color of the rain' In the world that we live in, the things said and done They can well overrun The power of one. No one was born to be a servant etc. To leave and let die To give hope and take life Is that what you're here for' To think you are right To make sure it won't fly Is a making of a hate crime In the homes of the brave, In the homes of the land slaves, We are all the same I need to believe.
There's more than the eye can see All colors of rainbow."Silence" takes a slight turn from the more thrash-influenced "Ecliptica" in the sense that it is their first album on which the keyboards can be heard predominantly over the thick, massive guitar sound, depending on the song. Quite possibly my favorite song on this album is "The End Of This Chapter."/5(63).