AMORPHIS: THE BEGINNING OF TIMES (2011)
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.
This fourth volume of Eclipse is marginally more interesting than Skyforger (mumbled the uncomfortable reviewer, as much in need of new words as he was in need of new emotions), for the following two reasons:
(1) approximately one minute into 'Song Of The Sage', the good old sludge is cut down, and in its place we see a nice little flute-driven passage, one that is not so much influenced by classic Jethro Tull as it is directly or almost directly lifted from some Tull song — but it still sounds nice enough on its own, next to all the growling vocals and shit;
(2) 'Three Words', I think, is as close to a really good song as this band ever got to in the last ten years of its existence. The stop-and-start structure of the melody, with its thumping («earth-burrowing») riff, is attractive, as is the modestly catchy, singalong chorus, even though the latter may sound a bit too commercial and slick to the demanding listener.
Other than that, I am still not able to warm up to the band's post-Ad Universum sound. All I can say is that, with each new album since 2003, they have been trying to improve upon the melodicity of the content, so that, with The Beginning Of Times, I am beginning to think I could almost end up liking some of it, had they bothered to return their production values to what they used to be around the times of Elegy. No dice. A big thank you to Iikka Kahri for providing occasional flute and sax support, and to Netta Dahlberg for adding female vocal harmonies in a few spots, but this just isn't enough.
So let me simply pass the mike over to an anonymous reviewer at Amazon, whose admiration for the album was so uncontainable, it had to spill over in poetic form: "Skyforger blew me away / I can listen to it all day / But it was time for something new / The Beginning Of Times is Skyforger Part 2". The innocence and, at the same time, inevitability of the oxymoron in the last two lines, I must say, «blew me away» far more than anything on this record. Still, it did not suffice to save the album from the usual thumbs down. Bring on more flute!
Check "The Beginning Of Times" (CD) on Amazon
Check "The Beginning Of Times" (MP3) on Amazon