Amberian Dawn – Magic Forest

Amberian Dawn
Magic Forest
symphonic / melodic power metal
Released on 30th June 2014
Via Napalm Records

 photo amberiandawn_zps1426e46a.jpg

I have to admit, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the newest album from the Finnish symphonic metallers Amberian Dawn.  I have to admit though, Magic Forest doesn’t play to the average conventions of what I have to expect from this type of band.  This marks the band’s sixth studio album and they have kept a consistent presence over the years – this is the third album in three years, adding to an already impressive back catalogue. However, how does this new album truly hold up?

The album is actually quite subtle in all the elements that comprise it;  everything feels really well composed and the production is tight, everything just blends together from the synth to the vocals. Each layer of the production is working in harmony making this album very pleasant to listen to. Capri’s vocal work is smooth and hauntingly beautiful, and matched with Tuomas Seppälä’s beautiful synth compositions – you can truly feel like you are transported to a magical and enthralling world.  Also the metal elements are quite nice too, the guitar riffs and guitar solos are heavy and grounded, giving this album a heavier darker side.

From opening to closing, the album is tightly packed with beautiful melodies, interesting and creative lyrics and an imaginative atmosphere that keeps your interest.  Songs like Warning, Memorial and the title track Magic Forest keep a great momentum flowing and are really fun to listen to.  I don’t really have any issues with this album, it’s everything it needs to be –  heavy, fun, upbeat, creative, full of imagination.  However it’s also dark, atmospheric and the lyrics are open to some very creative imagery.  If I were to have any problems with this album it would be in the production.  The “metal” elements are not as pronounced as I would like, they only come to life in the instrumental parts.  I feel the vocals just need that bit more of a backing; obviously in the slow songs this is inappropriate, but with the heavy songs I would have liked to hear more power in the guitars and bass giving the vocals that bit extra boost.

Overall, however, this is a very pleasant album to listen to.  I have enjoyed listening to this record.  Is it one of the best of 2014? No. But I still recommend you to pick this record up: it’s one of those albums you may not “get” right away, but it’s well written and quite beautiful.

3.5/5

Mick Birchall

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