CD Reviews

Amberian Dawn - 'End Of Eden' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     February 02, 2011    
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A treasure to enjoy.

Oh fan of neo-classical symphonic power metal, seek ye an album of full-on operatic vocals? Then seek ye no further, for 'End Of Eden' is absolutely overflowing with them, including a guest appearance from professional opera singer, baritone Markus Niemanen on the quite splendid 'Virvatulen Laulu'! 

It seems like no time whatsoever has passed since the band's debut 'River Of Tuoni' announced the arrival of soprano/lyricist Heidi Parviainen and her classically-influenced chums led by songwriter/guitarist/keyboardist/musical leader Tuomas Seppälä and bassist Tommi Kuri in 2008. The following year saw the highly listenable 'The Clouds Of Northland Thunder' notching up another notable success and a remarkable degree of consistency and lack of filler amongst the twelve concise tracks.

They've now moved onto a bigger label and technical proficiency of the highest order is to be found once again on third release 'End Of Eden', but this time the music is, if anything, heavier and more diverse than previously whilst the dramatic and powerful approach of the first two albums has been carefully retained. Whereas previously, only one song ('Incubus') had reached the five minute mark – and then only just! On 'End Of Eden' the incredible closing number 'War In Heaven' clocks in at 7:24 and the Nightwish-heavy 'Ghostly Echoes' also comfortably beats the 5 minute barrier. So here we also have a band that is pushing out its boundaries as it increases in confidence and stature.

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The band's first two releases did not reach the Fireworks reviewing team, so if you are also new to Amberian Dawn you need to know that lyrically the band frequently majors upon myths and legends from their native land (Finland, in case you hadn't realised): and particularly the Finnish national poem 'Kalevala'. Heidi Parviainen's vocals on the bombastic and melodic material presented here are pure operatic metal. Her voice is impressively clear and never shrill and neither does she go completely over the top, and this restraint is really the band's crowning glory, and allows them to be distinguished from the burgeoning throng of bands in this sub-genre. Instrumentally, the band features experienced and dexterous players who have stretched themselves with a darker, heavier and frequently faster focus this time around. It's excellent throughout, but for anybody wanting to sample what 'End Of Eden' is all about, I would recommend trying album opener 'Talisman' with its immediately inviting choral sheen, pulsating rhythms and virtuoso guitar breaks; the jaunty 'Come Now Follow', the ambitious, very heavy and keyboards infused 'Ghostly Echoes' and the gothic, menacing and quite outstanding 'War In Heaven'.

Those of you planning to see Amberian Dawn live should note that since recording 'End Of Eden', bassist Tommy Kuri, guitarist and drummer have been replaced by Jukka Koskigen, Kimmo Korhonen and Heikki Saari (who had been a part of the band in its early days) respectively. It will be interesting to hear what impact this has upon the recorded sound of Amberian Dawn. For now, we have this treasure to enjoy.

Paul Jerome Smith

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