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Amorphis: The Beginning Of Times

How do you top and better your last album? Especially if it's the magnificent Skyforger which was crammed packed full of huge melodies, crunching heavy riffs and soaring vocals. Well the answer is simple, you come back with stronger songs, bigger melodies and make it just as heavy…if it aint broke don't fix it, right?

First track 'Battle For Light' combines Finnish folk, guttural vocals and some majestic soaring melodies which encapsulate you in an envelope of metallic riffs. From then on it simply gets better, 'Mermaid' & 'My Enemy' all have the meandering background keyboards while Tomi Joutsen powers through the tracks like his very existence depended on it. First single 'You I Need' will have you ripping up the Fjords in a speedboat while the wave of melodies washes over you in a flood of rippling guitar. Combining all the best elements of Metal, a little sprinkling of Prog with a squeeze of Folk, Amorphis have truly accomplished the unthinkable and bettered their last album. Even the Iron Maiden flavored 'Song Of the Sage' thunders along with the pace of a galloping thoroughbred stopping slightly for a folk tinged break. This is an album that demands repeat listens to fully appreciate the complex layers that lie within, every outing reveals more riffs, solo's and intricate keyboard work that builds a solid structure of an album. The Beginning Of Time is certainly a new chapter in the history of Amorphis, let's just hope that it's the beginning of global domination for this much underrated band.

Track Listing:-
1. Battle For Light
2. Mermaid
3. My Enemy
4. You I Need
5. Song Of The Sage
6. Three Words
7. Reformation
8. Soothsayer
9. On A Stranded Shore
10. Escape
11. Crack In A Stone
12. Beginning Of Time

Added: June 9th 2011
Reviewer: Mark Davies
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 4183
Language: english

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Amorphis: The Beginning Of Times
Posted by Murat Batmaz, SoT Staff Writer on 2011-06-09 17:56:56
My Score:

The Beginning of Times is the fourth studio album with Tomi Joutsen behind the mic, and it continues to expand on the paths forged by its predecessors. Musically, it is informed by similar themes albeit they are somewhat softer and the compositions are slightly simpler. That, however, does not mean there aren't any heavy moments on the CD -- it's just they are not as elaborate as on their earlier releases, particularly the astounding Eclipse.

The songs are all punctuated with soaring clean and growled vocals, supremely melodic guitar passages, folky-driven sections and instrumentation, and female vocals. Unlike previous albums, female vocals feature more prominently on The Beginning of Times, especially on the softer tracks "You I Need" and "Soothsayer," which is decorated by a beautiful Middle Eastern-flavoured guitar solo. Elsewhere, the female vocals are still present on nearly every track, yet they are relegated to background harmonies adding depth to Joutsen's vocals. There is a stronger emphasis on folk-laden themes on this album. "Song of the Sage" boasts a powerful flute arrangement while "Battle for Light" and "Mermaid" are both hugely melodic and reveal their Finnish roots. The transitions between clean and guttural vocals on the former are sublime indeed and the choir-like singing on some of the tunes, especially during the choruses, is powerful and unforgettable. Once again, this is a concept album, but I haven't had the chance to fully examine the lyrics yet.

The instrumentation is varied with an abundance of pianos, synthesizers, and cleaner guitar passages all leading to huge crescendos and soaring vocal moments. There is an undeniable sense of heightened melody, but contrary to Eclipse and Silent Waters, the melodies are more accessible and permeat their whole craft. This may yield different feelings, considering melodies were offered during key points on prior releases thus helping to create thicker and more formidable tension. On The Beginning of Times, each track being imbued with melodic segments does seem to be overkill, as it renders some of the tunes too 'happy' at points. Also, some of the melodies wrought into the compositional framework are not as memorable as others.

Just like the artwork of the previous album Skyforger was influenced by A Static Lullaby's Faso Latido, this one seems to be definitely inspired by Wolfmother's Cosmic Egg. While good in its own way, I still think the cover art (and the songwriting) of Eclipse is their best out of their last four. That noted, this album will not disappoint the band's fanbase.

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