Vera : On the 18th of May, Nuclear Blast will release the new Amorphis album ‘Queen Of Time’, the successor of the magnificent ’Under The Red Cloud’ (2015). With their thirteenth album and many years’ experience, these veterans – once they put Finland on the metal map – need no further introduction. The melancholic nature of their music, the crystal clear guitar sound, harshness versus nearly super sweet melodies and above all the focus on Finnish folklore and characteristics. All this makes Amorphis an echelon in the genre.
Yet the band still manages to surprise us when we listen to ‘Queen Of Time’. For the second time, they engaged producer Jens Bogren to lead the recordings and this means that he added his signature orchestrations and choirs to their songs. This happens in such a tasteful, scanty way that we never get a feeling of overkill. Fortunately, since it would be a pity that the signature sound of established bands would disappear. From the very first track ‘The Bee’ on, there are elements that leap to the eye, because they are new or unexpected. ‘The Bee’ sounds pretty ethnic from time to time, due to any esoteric chants. But soon Amorphis cuts loose with folkloristic catchiness and a long scream of Tomi Joutsen. His clean vocals sound wonderful and solemn, but harshness is added by his proper grunts. A folky undercurrent, rough versus clean vocals and catchy melodies: this is the foundation Amorphis eagerly builds on and it makes the fast and up-tempo ‘Message In The Amber’ and the smooth ‘The Golden Elk’ easygoing and fetching songs. ‘Daughter Of Hate’ happens to be one of those stunning surprises. With accelerations and vocals that prone to black metal, and on the other hand acoustic guitars and solemn spoken parts by lyricist Pekka Kainulainen. The structure is more complex here and a sax solo (guest musician Jørgen Munkeby from Shining) as well as a marvelous guitar solo catch our attention. In the up-tempo ‘Wrong Direction’, flute additions of Chrigel Glanzmann (Eluveitie) are obvious, while bluesy guitar, a keyboard solo and choirs complete ‘Heart Of The Giant’. The duet with Anneke van Giersbergen in ‘Amongst Stars’ is done to a turn as well, while ‘Pyres On The Coast’ opens all registers once more with progressive twists and turns and epic grandness.
This is an amazing combination of all their strongest features! More multilayered than ever, but always maintaining that idiosyncratic Finnish brightness. Consequently ‘Queen Of Time’ happens to be a new stunner that cannot be missing in your collection!