Release DetailsLABEL Nuclear Blast
RELEASED ON 6/7/2011
The Beginning Of Times
posted on 5/2011 By:
Over the past twenty years, Amorphis has experienced several dynamic transformations. These Finns have gone from death metal to straight-ahead rock, and everywhere in between. Needless to say, this has created many different sub-cultures of fans, many of which crave consistency from Amorphis’ indecisive genre-bending. For their last three albums, this wish has been granted, as Amorphis has delivered unswerving melancholic rock infused with just enough death metal vocals to keep more “brutal” listeners contented.
The Beginning of Times is very much in keeping with the band’s three previous releases, and includes dense 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. Fans of 2009’s Skyforger will find that The Beginning of Times picks up where that earlier album left off, in the sense that it’s a more unique, but stylistically similar sequel. However, the album is softer and more drawn out than its predecessor, and while there are moments of heaviness, it’s a largely subdued record with fewer blatantly catchy moments than Amorphis has written in the past.
The opening track, “Battle For Light” begins with an airy and whimsical keyboard intro before being joined by guitar, drums, and added tiers of synth. Using the slow tempo to build intensity, it’s a strong opener and very much consistent with Amorphis’ signature sound. Next up is “Mermaid”, a pop-rock tune complete with another piano intro and guest female vocals. It’s not terribly memorable, but undoubtedly well written.
“Song Of The Sage” is the fifth song off the album, a lively and oddly Jethro Tull inspired tune, and one of the most progressive. Jaunty flute interludes, clean sections, growls, and soaring guitar and keyboard solos are all present here, and it’s a uniquely written and pleasantly upbeat piece with an 80’s vibe.
The last few songs on The Beginning Of Times showcase Amorphis’ undeniable versatility. While they tend to dwell on simple melodic moments just a tad too long, when they eventually explore darker and more dynamic territory, like on “Crack In A Stone”, it makes for a deeply effective and inspiring track. With retro-sounding synths punctuating screaming guitars and vicious vocals at the end of the tune, it’s one of the most climactic, powerful, and memorable elements of the album.
The Beginning of Times is not without 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 (clean and harsh) are better than ever. For those who loved Amorphis’ past few releases, this will serve as yet another fantastic edition to their collection. Masters of their craft, Amorphis has come a long way since their death metal beginnings. Their latest album is a strong and solid offering that improves upon past material without sacrificing musical integrity.
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