Amorphis – The Beginning Of Times (Nuclear Blast Records, 2011)
Ah, Amorphis. I have to confess that I have a weak spot for them, although I am not a fan of their mid-era, namely “Tuonela, Am Universum” and “Far Away From The Sun”. To me, those albums lack something that I cannot explain. Maybe the death growls, but overall I found that era pretty uninspiring and quite boring. Almost when I was giving up on them, they released “Eclipse” in 2006 and that was the beginning of a new worship era for me. They followed with two more great albums “Silent Waters” (2007) and “Skyforger” (2009). Well, they are back with a new album titled “The Beginning Of Times”, and I was expecting something along the lines of those past three albums, and they somewhat did that, but to my surprise they included some new things into their songs, with excellent results.
“The Beginning Of Times” has one new trick never used by the band: the use of some female vocals. They don’t abuse of them as they use them in only a couple of songs, but when used, the results are godly. Also they feature many new melodies and arrangements, which combined with their typical ones, leave the listener wondering about the incredible talent behind the compositions. Overall the production is very similar to their last 3 albums, with the difference that the keyboards sound even more 70’s in parts, but without losing that modern vibe.
They do offer us plenty of death growls majestically handled on tracks like “Battle Of Light” and “My Enemy”. Speaking about vocals, main singer Tomi Joutsen did one hell of an amazing job. Tomi’s debut was on “Eclipse” and I have always liked his style, but on “The Beginning Of Times” he surpassed anything he has previously done. He put a lot of passion into his singing and more melody as well. As for individual songs, tracks like “Mermaid”, “Song of The Sage” and “On A Stranded Shore” are among the best songs they have ever done.
“The Beginning Of Times” is just a perfect album in every sense. It’s impossible to point at a weak track, there are none! Just when I thought that they reached their peak, they delivered this masterpiece that no matter how hard I try to find a flaw on it, I can’t find any. “The Beginning Of Times” is not just their best album with Tomi Joutsen on vocals; it’s simply one of the best albums of their career. I would even go as far as saying that it’s the best thing they have done since “Tales Of The Thousand Lakes”. Yeah yeah, most of you would think I am exaggerating, so just wait until you listen to it and then come back and read my review again.
“The Beginning Of Times” is due to be released on May 30th in Europe, and on June 7th in the USA. It can be preordered via Amazon or by visiting the band’s webshop at http://www.fanzone.fi/amorphis.
HMT Rating: 9/10