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Παρασκευή, 11 Νοεμβρίου 2011

Review: Amorphis - The Beginning Of Times





From their very beginning, Amorphis were quite diverse. In their 21 years of existence they have gone from death metal, to progressive, folk, even more psychedelic rock. Now they have returned with their tenth full-length album, “The Beginning Of Times”. The title, though, doesn't do justice to the album, as Amorphis aren't going back to their death metal roots.

What we are dealing with here is another concept album, which tells the story of Väinämöinen, a hero of the Finnish mythology, and the creation of the world. A nice thing about this album is that even though it has concept, you don't have to be familiar with the story, and certainly you don't have to be interested in Finnish folklore in order to appreciate it. Every song can stand by itself just fine.
The Beginning of Times”, musically, is picking up where the band’s three previous releases left off, including much denser keyboard-oriented compositions that create bright atmospheres, as well as darker moments. The keys not only add texture to the layers of instrumentation, they also provide solos throughout the album. The guitars are powerful, playing either massive riffs, or soft folk melodies. The vocals of Tomi Joutsen are simply amazing, as he alternates from smooth, deep singing to throaty death growls.
The opening track, “Battle For Light” begins with an airy and whimsical keyboard intro before being joined by guitar, drums, playing the same melody. Using the slow tempo to build intensity, it’s a strong opener. Next up is “Mermaid”, a pop-rock tune complete with another piano intro and guest female vocals. “You I Need” is the single hit of this release, a soft yet powerful song with a really catchy chorus. “Song Of The Sage” is a lively and more Jethro Tull-ish tune, and one of the most progressive. Flute interludes, clean sections, growls, soaring guitar and keyboard solos are all present here, and it’s a uniquely written and pleasantly upbeat song. The last few songs on ”The Beginning Of Times” show just how versatile Amorphis can be. While they tend to dwell on simple melodic moments just a bit too long, they eventually explore darker and more dynamic territory, like on “Crack In A Stone”, which is one of the most brutal compositions in here.
The Beginning of Times” has its fair share of spectacular moments. The album definitely takes a few listens to fully sink in, but it’s worth it. Amorphis blends lovely melodies with churning and explosive riffs, and the vocals, both clean and brutal, are better than ever. The compositions are strong and well-written. All the tracks are very pleasing, no fillers whatsoever. The production is top notch, as well as the artwork. For those who loved Amorphis’ past few releases, this will serve as yet another fantastic edition to their collection. Amorphis has come a long way since their death metal beginnings. Their latest album is a strong and solid offering that improves past material without sacrificing musical integrity.


Label: Nuclear Blast Records

Tomi Joutsen – Vocals
Esa Holopainen – Guitar
Tomi Koivusaari – Guitar
Santeri Kallio – Keyboards
Niclas Etelavuori – Bass, Backing Vocals
Jan Rechberger – Drums







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