Amorphis - The Beginning Of Times
Nuclear Blast
Melodic Metal with Folk influences
12 songs (54:42)
Release year: 2011
Amorphis, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Khelek
Album of the month

There are few bands that I listen to as much as Amorphis, mostly because they have such a wide range of styles and songs, covering everything from old-school melodic death metal to folk and even gothic. It is for this reason that I get excited every time these guys release an album; they have not let me down for the past 8 years or so. On this album there are of course some similarities and differences to their past work. This time the band has once again given the lyric-writing duties to Finnish lyricist Pekka Kainulainen. I personally think the band has done another great job creating the sound of this album, and the lyrics really fit well with Tomi Joutsen's expressive vocal style. As far as a comparison to their past two albums, there is not a whole lot here that Amorphis has not done before, although this album does incorporate more of an epic sound in some of the songs, and they have also gone with some more complex arrangements that don't just jump out and grab you as the past couple albums have. There are times when it doesn't work all that well, but for the most part I think Amorphis fans will be pleased once again with the consistently great songwriting and attention to detail presented here.

Battle For Light starts the album off softly with piano, put opens into a more epic sound as the guitar riffs of Esa Holopainen and Tomi Koivusaari sweep in and the deep, clean vocals of Joutsen back them up. There are also some more folky, old-school elements heard here, which sets the initial mood of the album quite well I think. The song keeps a subtle edge of aggression, with Joutsen's death growls being featured prominently along with some harder guitar riffs that offset the more melodic guitar and keyboards quite well. Mermaid has a bit more of a catchier feel to it, but keeps the epic feeling going. The guitar lead sounds more like something that would be from one of the previous albums, catchy and melodic. The female vocals are also a nice touch, though I think if they were more prominent it would have made the song a bit more interesting. It is nice to hear some varied keyboard work from Santeri Kallio as well. The first single from the album, You I Need, is another blend of catchy guitar and melancholy keyboard, with the smooth vocals of Joutsen taking center stage. An easy song to get into that also fits with the rest of the album. Three Words catches my attention with its sheer heaviness and almost power metal-like approach. Reformation also uses this same heaviness in some parts of the song, but takes a bit more of a serious, somber tone. There are also some really great songs near the end of the album. On A Stranded Shore is a very melodic track that uses calm guitar leads and strong piano to create a lonely yet powerful atmosphere. The subtle female vocals are also a nice touch. Escape starts of serious once again, but opens up with some big riffs, especially in the chorus, in which Joutsen uses his death growls to create a very powerful atmosphere. Crack In A Stone goes for this same type of feeling, but it doesn't work as well. The opening sounds are equally heavy and melodic, but Joutsen's death growls and the changing tempo are a bit jarring to start the song off I think. His clean singing after the initial part of the verse is good as always, but the song simply ends up repeating this pattern and it doesn't really work for me.

This is definitely an album that has a lot to take in, and didn't grab hold for me right away. It took several listens before I could really pick out my favorite songs. I found that even after 4-5 listens, the songs did not stick in my head as much as I would expect, yet when I put the album on, I really enjoy what I hear. It's a strange sort of feeling. However, there are a few times when the music can get monotonous. Song Of The Sage, despite having some excellent instrumental work, tries to do too many things in my opinion, and just gets confusing. My attention is captured much more easily by the simpler yet more iconic Three Words. Something else that can be a downside is the sheer length of the album: 12 tracks at almost an hour long if you don't count the bonus track Heart's Song (which is also quite good). I did find it difficult, especially when I first put the album on, to listen to it all the way through, in part simply because of the sheer volume of music. Another reason for this is that I think these guys really tried to vary the types of songs a bit more this time, and at times the songs don't flow well from one to the other. However, perseverance did pay off, and I ended up really enjoying most of the songs here. Although it does not come together quite as well as Skyforger, it is still an excellent album, and certainly another solid addition to this band's still growing catalog.

Killing Songs :
Mermaid, You I Need, Three Words, Escape
Khelek quoted 90 / 100
Aleksie quoted 91 / 100
Other albums by Amorphis that we have reviewed:
Amorphis - Circle reviewed by Khelek and quoted 90 / 100
Amorphis - Tuonela reviewed by Khelek and quoted 89 / 100
Amorphis - Skyforger reviewed by Khelek and quoted 95 / 100
Amorphis - Silent Waters reviewed by Alex and quoted 88 / 100
Amorphis - Eclipse reviewed by Al and quoted 91 / 100
To see all 8 reviews click here
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