Amorphis - Queen of Time - (9.5/10)

Published on July 31, 2018

Tracklist:

  1. The Bee
  2. Message in the Amber
  3. Daughter of Hate
  4. The Golden Elk
  5. Wrong Direction
  6. Heart of the Giant
  7. We Accursed
  8. Grain of Sand
  9. Amongst Stars
  10. Pyres on the Coast

Genre:

Progressive Metal / Folk / Death

Label:

Nuclear Blast

Playing Time:

57:29

Country:

Finland

Year:

2018

Website:

Visit page

Evolution and Revolution

 

One of Finland’s longest standing and most successful metal exports, Amorphis have gone through quite the evolutions and revolutions throughout their career, having come a long way since their death metal debut The Karelian Isthmus. Always known for change, some people criticized their last few albums as feeling more stagnant, but while it is true that they seem to have left their revolutionary days behind, it does not detract from them definitely having their very own sound and their exploration of the more immediate vicinity as opposed to the grand adventures they used to go out on. Queen of Light is already their 13th studio album (not counting the Magic and Mayhem compilation) and it is yet another more than worthy addition to their already illustrious back catalogue.

 

As already mentioned for Under the Red Cloud, technically there are no novelties to be found in Amorphis’ sound (and the naysayer will grumble that it has been years since that happened), but the sheer quality of the songs makes it easy to forget this relative “shortcoming”, since they just as successfully avoid the dreaded treading of water or the simple repetition of the same album over again. Sure, their groundbreaking era of Tales From the Thousand Lakes and Elegy was exciting and would take the listener onto an adventure, but despite staying closer to their log cabin these days they are far from just going through the motions.

 

In times where it can be difficult to discern between bands, Amorphis are one shining example how to sculpt a unique style without having to resort to outerworldly elements or complexity, from the first moments of “The Bee”. To describe the Finns’ sound in simple sub-genres listings is nay impossible, because they unite progressive rock with folk, death metal with sublime melodies, creating amazing dynamics within and when a band has a vocalist such as Tomi Joutsen it adds a completely new dimension, with some of the best growls in metal combined with outstanding clear vocals, there is almost no way not to have a winner at one’s hands.

 

 

“Message in the Amber” is one of the best songs Amorphis have written in years (and given the quality of the band’s back catalogue that means something), with a great, playful melody threading throughout the song, utilizing the vocal interplay beautifully to create outstanding dynamics that underlines pretty much Amorphis have stood and still stand for. And the album is chock full of these brilliant moments, be it the saxophone in “Daughter of Hate” (which also has this brilliant melody), the greatly increased heaviness on “Heart of the Giant” that is juxtaposed with a beautiful melody that starts the song and recurs throughout or the female vocals on “Amongst Stars”, even the Amorphis typical Middle Eastern scales can be found on Queen of Time, with “The Golden Elk” and “Grain of Sand” being the two samples here.

 

The only slightly new element is a stronger role of symphonics and some choir, which definitely adds to the songs and pushes them just that little bit extra. Despite many twists and changes, Queen of Time always remains conclusive and cohesive, showing Amorphis on a continued high, which will seriously compete for album of the year honours. A big album by a big band!

Alex Melzer

Author: Alex Melzer

The grey eminence behind TMO. Head of the Brotherhood. Conqueror of Cancer

3 thoughts on “Amorphis – Queen of Time

  1. Easily their worst in a long time. I made a comment on Therion last release review you did, and once again I am at 100% on the opposite side. Amorphis had an awesome streak since the return of the band with the latest singer, but this album is lacking with the core elements that made the other releases what they were. The last album was polished too much and this one is even worst. Sometime, music needs to be a little raw and not something overworked because it is becoming something losing its core appealing… and this album is the perfect example of this.

    Don’t get me wrong, it is better than a lot of what other bands can produce, but as an Amorphis album, this get a 7.5. To this day, Tales of a Thousand Lakes is still their best. It is a classic I can listen indefinitely. However, I probably listened to this one 3 times and I really wanted to give it a chance, but Amorphis seems to be a little bit exhausted from the constant tour/production of the last 10 years.

    This album is far from the greatest and if I compare this to the feeling of overwhelming I had when listening to Carpenter Brut – Leether teeth (my pick for album of the year by the way), then I am a long way from what Amorphis was for me when I was listening to Eclipse for the first time.

    Yeah, the musicianship is better, but the music isn’t.

  2. One of my favourite albums from Amorphis since Skyforger. I was starting to get bored of the same formula after Under the Red Cloud, but somehow this album recaptured my interest and blew me away. The album flows very well from start to finish and almost every song is memorable. And I agree that Message in the Amber is one of their best songs ever written. The choir in that song gave me chills.

    Can’t wait to see them live again. They are in top form and one of the best from Finland alongside Insomnium,

  3. I disagree with Eva. I have been fan for about 20 years, and for me this is their best album for a long time. I think I have to go back to “Elegy” to find better one. I think that Queen of time might be their most entertaining album of all times, and by entertaining I mean that I have listened it dozens of times through without getting bored. “Skyforger” is their only other album after 90’s that has left permanent mark to me.

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