The Ninth Hour

Now, I know my obsession with power metal and album covers bleeds over into Phantasmagorium a bit more often than is strictly called for, but I need to share Sonata Arcitca’s “The Ninth Hour.”

This cover raises so many questions–and so many things I’d like to write about. What is the relation between the woman with the red umbrella and the wolf? Does the tree give anyone else Yggdrasil vibes? A Norse mythology-inspired steampunk werewolf fantasy is something I’m dying to read.

Or maybe the afterlife turns out to be a very bizarre amusement park?Perhaps a sort of green apocalypse occurred, everything has reverted to the ownership of nature, and this is the last human city ever.

As it turns out, I’m not too far off. The official explanation, according to Wikipedia, from Sonata Arctica’s vocalist/keyboardist/songrwriter Tony Kakko, is this:

“The artwork of our ninth studio album The Ninth Hour depicts a future utopian landscape on the background. Nature and human technologies are in balance. In the middle we have an hour glass contraption with a knob for us to meddle with. The right-hand side cup represents the nature side with no humans left, on the left we have the human dystopia after we have destroyed Nature. The idea I had was, that turning the knob will tilt the hour glass in one direction or another, and the other cup will slowly empty and that future will be erased.

Biblically we are expected to repent and sacrifice on The Ninth Hour…to dive right back to a more mundane reality, it’s a fact that we are currently living in critical, historical times. Our decisions will define the future. Not only ours as a race, but the future of this entire planet. We need to make sacrifices and in many cases we will repent our already made choices.”

Huh. Ain’t that a thing. Tony Kakko should make his own writing prompts. Anyway, some of the best writing inspiration comes from looking at something you don’t know the whole story of and trying to create your own “why”s and “how”s for it (also from power metal). Happy writing!

Favorites from this album:

White Pearl, Black Oceans Part II” and “Til Death’s Done Us Apart

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