Hitting a huge milestone in their career Amorphis have just entered the double digits by releasing their tenth studio album, The Beginning of Times, an honor that not many metal bands get to experience. Over their illustrious career the vast majority of those albums have been rock solid, top notch listens, especially with their last trio of albums(Eclipse, Silent Waters, and the mind blowing Skyforger). The Beginning of Times shows experimenting with their sound and style once again while keeping the integrity of their ever evolving musical style and continuing with the theme of using characters from the Finnish epic the Kalevala for lyrical inspiration. This time around they add a heavy 70’s prog rock vibe to their music with great influence from bands such as Yes and Jethro Tull.

One great thing about Amorphis is how accessible their music has been lately even though their main styles belong to rather inaccessible genres of music, death metal and prog rock. The Beginning of Times continues this accessibility by giving us wonderful melodies and chorus’ to get stuck in our heads and a large part is due to Tomi Joutsen’s molasses thick and smooth clean singing voice. These things are very apparent right at the start of the album. “Battle for Light” starts of with memorable piano melody and continues the catchy melodic theme throughout the song as Tomi starts to sing the story of Väinämöinen. During the refrain he breaks into his growling style of singing which feels very organic and really adds a stronger impact to the song as well as other songs on the album. Another impressive aspect of this song that continues throughout the album is how well the band takes a melody and has that melody float between different instruments making said melody much more catchy and since we hear it on a variety of sounds the melody never becomes dull or stagnant.

The song “Mermaid” introduces female backing vocalist Netta Dahlberg to Amorphis‘ ever growing repertoire of sounds and adds yet another layer of depth to their songs showing an organic contrast to Tomi’s deep voice. “My Enemy” is a great example on how Amorphis can create a brutal song while keeping their music deep and melodic. The single of the album is the hook filled song “You I Need” which shares a lot of similarities with their previous album’s singles such as “House of Sleep” and “Silver Bride” and with a bit of exposure(hint, hint, fans) it is sure to be a big hit.

“Song of the Sage”(my personal favorite from the album) is one of the most fun songs that Amorphis has written and is filled with Iron Maiden style riffing and delightful folk melodies with great keyboard playing and wonderful flute work and yet again Tomi’s voice adds much to the song by switching to his growls at exactly the right moments. Other stand out song on the album include proggy mid tempo song “Three Words”, the heavy and epic “Soothsayer” and “Crack in a Stone”, and the closer “Beginning of Time” which brings The Beginning of Times out with a strong close.

During the middle part of the album it tends to suffer from some pacing issues but it isn’t enough of a problem to be a turn off for the album. A couple songs(“Reformation” and “On a Stranded Shore”), while being quite good, do tend to lack a certain oomph that could transform them from being good to being great songs; considering the pedigree of Amorphis this is a bit of a letdown. Also, on a whole, parts of the album do feel a bit rushed and some of the “great” songs on the album could have used a little bit more time and work to let them bloom to bring them to “F’n awesome” status.

In the end The Beginning of Times is a really good album even though it may not live up to the bar that Skyforger set(and being how damn spectacular that album is, the bar is set really high) and the negative points should not deter you from checking this album out, especially if you may have never listened to Amorphis before. The good of this album highly outweighs the bad and is worth sinking your teeth into.

Photo Credits:

Amorphis.net

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