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Amberian Dawn – End of Eden: Review

October 22, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

The new-ish symphonic power metal band Amberian Dawn released their newest album on October 20, entitled End of Eden. Only recently I got wind this band, so this is the first of their albums which I have heard, and it truly is a strong starting point. Amberian Dawn manages to avoid conforming to many of  the strict, genre-defining characteristics of symphonic power metal. The album has its ups and downs, but End of Eden is likely to leave listeners with a positive impression.

The Music (rating: B)

  1. Talisman
  2. Come Now Follow
  3. Arctica
  4. Ghostly Echoes
  5. Sampo
  6. Blackbird
  7. Field of Serpents
  8. City of Corruption
  9. Virvatulen Laulu
  10. War in Heaven

Having a female vocalist, Amberian Dawn produces a sound somewhat similar to that of early Nightwish, but with a lesser emphasis on the gothic tone. End of Eden has its fair share of speedy riffs and power ballads; it is undoubtedly a power metal album. With the light, choir-appropriate vocals and the symphonic presence, the album has a consistent epic feel. However, all that has been said does not firmly set the music aside from that of the genre.

The most standout characteristic (at least in my opinion) is the female vocalist. But this also happens to be my biggest issue with the album. For certain, the vocals add to its stylistic uniqueness, but can also restrict the music to the confines of the style. In this case, it does so. As angelic as the voice is, it lacks power. Therefore, there is an absence of vocal buildups and dynamics. To me, this is a missing “requirement” of the power metal genre. In the big picture of music, it would not be an issue. But in End of Eden, every instrument strives towards making quality power metal music (and successfully does so). As a negative consequence, the vocals are not completely competent in following the remaining instruments into the genre. That being said, the vocals are well-done and pleasant to listen to. They are simply not a perfect fit to what the band is seemingly trying to achieve. Do they fit? Yes, but not perfectly.

But the other band members are quite effective in creating quality power metal. They rarely burst out of the comfort realm, but do offer high quality of what is there. The guitar produces great riffs and even better solos. In both the foreground and background, the keyboards are stellar. This is especially true in my favorite song of the album, “Field of Serpents,” where the keyboards atmospheric presence meshes finely with the music, while also exploding in the front with power and vigor. The drums and bass are primarily there for support, but do a fine job nonetheless. Overall, the band displays great instrumental capabilities, but nothing over-the-top fantastic.

All in all, this is a good album. The key difference between this band and the rest of the symphonic power metal scene is the female vocalist. Though there are several of them in today’s scene, I would still consider them a rarity. Regarding End of Eden, it has both pros and cons. It adds distinctiveness to the music, but also limits to what makes it distinct; light, female vocals. For this band, it does not seem to be the primary option, though this statement should not at all detract from the talent in which is displayed by the vocalist. In fact, all the instrumentalists show a respectable degree of talent, especially on the soloing front for the keyboardist and guitarist. There happen to be a few issues with the album, though it may just be me. But altogether, I think this is a well-crafted symphonic power metal album, and a definite recommendation for fans of the genre (especially those of Nightwish).

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