Changing musical direction in a career can for some bands bring on the footsteps of doom, yet for some it becomes their calling. Yes, a few fans will undoubtedly turn their backs on the band, claiming divorce, yes the band has altered course and certainly in Amorphis’s case it was done for the right reasons.
Amorphis hail from the magical metal world of Finland, where bands seem to spring up and create such fantastic and mesmerizing music that accomplishes two major things. Firstly, they appear to be able to appeal to the general public ala Nightwish, secondly, Amorphis and others from their country appeal essentially to the Metal throws, tread that line so perfectly.
Ok so with that in mind let’s get into the new album `Queen of Time`. Produced again by Jens Bogren, whose influence certainly pushed the band’s versatile elements from `Upon a Red Cloud’ into what we have before us.
Taking the album as a whole, it’s one that personally was on repeat and so easy to lose oneself in the music and go on the fantastical journey through the Finnish mindset.
A huge part of the album is how the band utilize Tomi’s vocals, he can take both death metal growls that are not just grunts but very audible and soaring vocals and mix them together with ease. Take the song `The Bee’, a perfect example of the album as a whole and Tomi’s vocals are used similar to that of symphonic bands like Nightwish use their singers and instruments to lift the band and the music to a crescendo.
Another interesting aspect of the album is how the band have implemented other instrument into the fold, in particular, the use of choirs throughout and especially on the track `Message In Amber`. The best thing here is nothing sounds out of place or disjointed, the use of the choir and indeed, later in the album a Saxophone on `Daughter of Hate’. It’s all perfectly balanced.
The album as a whole has a very cinematic feel and takes you on a journey, `Wrong Direction` and `Amongst Stars` are just huge, grand epics. Listening to the track `Amongst Stars’ which has guest vocals by Anneke van Giersbergen, whose voice coupled with Tomi’s lends the track a huge sense of a majestic tale.
Overall, I personally loved this album. Amorphis combines so many sounds together within their music and `Queen of Time` perfectly represents their ethos. It’s got massive melodic moments that soar and lifts the music into such magical moments that are arena ready; the album has some very fascinating uses of instruments that within the realms of Metal aren’t commonplace such as a Saxophone. Although, the album in parts may feel a little long to some, yet personally, it takes you on a journey and one that’s not over too quickly.
`Queen of Time’ is a fantastic representation of Amorphis, it has everything. It boarders the cinematic, the accessible nature of pop music along with the driving heart of death metal.
10/10 – Amorphis have built upon `Upon A Red Cloud’ to create a genuine masterpiece!
Stand out tracks:
`The Bee’, `Daughter of Hate’ and `Amongst Stars’
1. The Bee
2. Message In The Amber
3. Daughter of Hate
4. The Golden Elk
5. Wrong Direction
6. Heart of the Giant
7. We Accursed
8. Grain of Sand
9. Amongst Stars
10. Pyres on the Coast