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Amorphis – The Beginning of Times

Amorphis released their latest record on May 27. It is entitled The Beginning of Times and was released through Nuclear Blast. The band had been on an excellent streak with records in recent years. Unfortunately, I do not consider this a continuation of their chain of stellar releases.

The Music (rating: B)

  1. Battle for Light
  2. Mermaid
  3. My Enemy
  4. You I Need
  5. Song of the Sage
  6. Three Words
  7. Reformation
  8. Soothsayer
  9. On a Stranded Shore
  10. Escape
  11. Crack in a Stone
  12. Beginning of Time

Progressive melodic death metal with folk influences…? That pretty well sums up The Beginning of Times. Seeing how there are so many descriptors in its classification, it is clear that this record has some safe ground from becoming generic. Still, when all the aforementioned genres are combined into one, the expected result is that which Amorphis gives. Good or bad, there are no surprises. Look at the description; that is exactly what is in store with this record.

Sometimes, The Beginning of Times can be a tad predictable. In fact, in “Battle for Light,” it can very easily be guessed what is coming before it arrives – intro; burst; verse (clean to growl); heavy section with growl; epic, clean chorus… and so on and so forth. It is certainly a plus that the music is never shockingly disappointing, but there are hardly any pleasant surprises due to the lack of risk. And moreover, it is usually a safe bet that the choruses will contain clean vocals holding long, powerful notes. The choruses, though often good, are rather repetitive and usually evoke the same emotional response. Also, most songs revolve strongly around a melody which, more often than not, introduces the track. The melody is put in many situations throughout the song – with a familiar riff, with general calamity and intricate cymbals, after a chorus, etc. Again, this is all done well, but too often and familiarly and predictably.

Most of what is done in The Beginning of Times is at a high level. Sure there are some bland riffs that occur multiple times throughout, but it is a rarity. And there are good riffs to negate the lesser ones; that in “Crack in a Stone” is stellar. The clean rhythm guitar parts are also very well done, which is usually unexpected from a metal band. And on the bass front, “Beginning of Time” really puts the instrument out there appropriately and impressively. There are also great melodies peppered throughout the album, such as on “Song of the Sage”. Still, there are weaker ones, like that in “Escape”. The majority of what the record offers is very good, but it is somewhat spotty.

The Beginning of Times is overall a fine record. There are some noticeable issues throughout, none of which are too grand though. But sometimes, it can feel slightly one-sided, predictable, and repetitive. And there are riffs and leads that are less substantial than others. That being said, the album still maintains a high standard and overcomes its negatives with positives. There are many good melodies and the instrumental work on many fronts is commendable. Yes, there are weaker points, but for the most part, The Beginning of Times is decent music.

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