Amorphis - Queen Of Time

Amorphis - Queen Of Time

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(CD, Nuclear Blast, 2018)

It is pretty impossible to find a weak album when looking at the AMORPHIS backcatalogue and I am saying this knowing that the argument that the Finnish band went soft once Tomi took the spot behind the mic is (strangely) still active. Yeah, AMORPHIS belong to the category of bands that some metalheads like to state that I like only their first albums. No matter what, one thing has become a undisputable fact; AMORPHIS is a consistent band and has an impressive winning streak with amazing albums released in an almost 2-3 year basis. However, just adding “Queen Of Time” to this streak would be unfair as this album is a ‘perfect 10’ and stands on step above the previous LP(s). Care to find why? Read on, then...

“The Bee” opens the album with the trademark melancholy breathing through the keyboards, the female backing vocals and on top of everything Tomi’s deep growl that creeps in to lead the song on an impressive entrance. AMORPHIS are well-known into writing amazing melodies that are catchy and in some bizarre way carry a moody or even dark atmosphere. And it gets even better with the singing being based more on the growling which adds points to the overall heaviness and, at the same time, create this beautiful antithesis with the clean vocals. The main keyboard melody is something that you’ll have a hard time to get off your hand and especially the way it climaxes the song somewhere past its midpoint is a beauty. There are so many layers packed in this song that it is mandatory to listen again and again to capture all the flavours so well-placed here. Olli-Pekka Laine returned to AMORPHIS and I am sure you will enjoy a bit more the mix in “Message In The Amber” and if you use headphones, you can dive deeper into the bass lines. As always, the guitars serve beautiful down-tuned melodies and along with the keyboards pave the way for Tomi’s multi-character singing as it’s balanced between clean and growls. But brace yourself, because “The Golden Elk” pushes the guitars into the spotlight to compete with the vocal melodies which once again shine all the way through. The Eastern melodies (you may think of ORPHANED LAND for a bit) is a fantastic addition and I believe shows the band’s intentions to push the envelope and challenge the listener to do the same. In fact, to further enhance this, SCARDUST’s Noa Gruman is guest singing here as she does in the first two songs of the album. This Eastern breeze is also present in “Hear Of The Giant” being cleverly mixed in the orchestration with the choirs adding another dramatic tone leaving the keyboards to take a Progressive turn during the solo. Being a bit Progressive is also the mood in “Daughter Of Hate” where the Finnish band has brought some saxophone melodies which have impressively embedded in the song’s heaviness and still-going dark atmosphere.

There is quite a long list of guests contributing in “Queen Of Time” and they have to excuse me for making a special commendation on the singer appearing on “Amongst Stars”. If you are familiar with her mesmerizing voice, then you should get a strong hint of her identity by the vocalisms in the beginning of the song. If you don’t, then the moment she starts singing, you should recognize her unique pronunciation and beautiful timbre of Anneke van Giersbergen who makes this excellent song even more excellent [sic]. The album drops the curtain after the six minutes of “Pyres On The Coast” with the dramatic atmosphere being enhanced by the symphonic orchestrations and the riffs that will definitely remind of the older AMORPHIS albums and I hope will convince even the most hardheaded metalheads that the Finns have embraced their entire discography.

It is official; “Queen Of Time” has a secured a position between the best albums of this year and, to be honest, I am already curious to see if or how AMORPHIS can surpass this album in the near future. But until then, I hope that they will use as many songs as they can for their upcoming touring cycle to see how better they can sound from the stage. If it was up to me, I’d play the entire thing straight up!

10/10


Links:

www.Amorphis.Net
www.FaceBook.Com/Amorphis
www.Twitter.Com/Amorphis


Tracklist:

01. The Bee
02. Message In The Amber
03. Daughter Of Hate
04. The Golden Elk
05. Wrong Direction
06. Heart Of The Giant
07. We Accursed
08. Grain Of Sand
09. Amongst Stars
10. Pyres On The Coast


Lineup:

Olli-Pekka Laine - Bass
Jan Rechberger - Drums
Esa Holopainen - Lead Guitar
Tomi Koivusaari - Rhythm Guitar
Santeri Kallio - Keyboards
Tomi Joutsen - Vocals