The Beginning Of Times
27 May 2011
by Tom Dare
The phrase “new Amorphis album” is one of the most reassuring things you can hear in modern metal. You can pretty much guarantee that it’s going to be one shade of good or another, and it quickly becomes apparent that Amorphis have truly exceeded even their own consistently high standards in every aspect with The Beginning Of Times.
Stylistically following on right from where previous outing Skyforger left off, Amorphis continue to play their distinctive mixture of heavy metallic riffs and utterly beautiful keyboard melodies with an ever so slightly progressive leaning. Over this, Tomi Joutsen is once again in staggering form, his rich baritone almost floating across the balance between heft and prettiness of the music in precisely the manner required for the moment- sometimes instantaneously hook-laden, sometimes accentuating the instrumental refrains and occasionally slipping effortlessly into death growl to provide impact.
Instrumentally, vocally and in terms of songwriting, the quality is relentless and the resulting music is, without so much as a second’s exception, stunning. From the instantly singable tune opening ‘Battle For Light‘ to the soft twanging guitars closing ‘Beginning Of Time‘, Amorphis will have you raptly hypnotised.
What marks this out so dramatically is the absence of melodrama with which proceedings unfold. There is nothing over-the-top or excessive about The Beginning Of Times – the proggy aspects never make things crazy or impenetrable, the melodies are subtle and the vocal delivery is emotive without needing to ram it down your ears. The music is sufficiently powerful that there is no need to play them in a “dripping with sincerity” affect. The band are audibly not pretending to be something they are not.
Watch Amorphis discussing The Beginning Of Times here:
Whether it be the dancing instrumental refrain harmonised so beautifully on ‘Song Of The Sage‘, the breathtaking vocal interplay on ‘Soothsayer‘ or the uplifting momentum of ‘Escape‘, Amorphis have managed to ram The Beginning Of Time full of individually splendid songs that blend almost seamlessly into the stupendous whole. This may be a band that consistently releases good records and probably couldn’t release crap if they tried, but The Beginning Of Time stands up with the best albums of Amorphis’ resounding back catalogue.
Sounds like: later-era Sentenced, only much prettier, more cheerful and slightly proggier
Top tracks: Battle For Light, Soothsayer, Beginning Of Time
Amorphis – The Beginning Of Times tracklisting:
Battle For Light
You I Need
Song Of The Sage
On A Stranded Shore
Crack In A Stone
Beginning Of Time