Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Amberian Dawn - Darkness of Eternity (2017)

I am not the last to admit that I miss the good old days, at least when it comes to the Finnish power metal group Amberian Dawn. Ever since they changed lead singer, the band has lost an edge in both originality and energy, making two fairly decent records in "Magic Forest" and "Innuendo", but they did not stay in my mind for very long. I still like the band, a single member change does not affect me that much, but it does feel like that their best work is behind them.

Which leads me to "Darkness of Eternity", an album that is very close to literally piss me off. You see, it opens up really nicely with "I'm The One", a more or less classic Amberian Dawn song that has power, drive, and a sense of wonder that you can only get from some kind of fairy forest. Yes, this is a track that breathes Amberian Dawn from start to finish, and so does the aggressive "Dragonflies" a little later in the album, another very good track with some crunchy riffing.

Unfortunately, it goes pretty much downhill from there, with almost the rest of the material being head scratchingly weird. No seriously, I am fine with the band and what they have done in the last couple of albums, but this is just awkward. Several of the songs in "Darkness of Eternity" sounds like, and I kid you not, ABBA songs. Yes, freaking Sweden's first international super star group, that is what Amberian Dawn sounds like today. Jesus Christ...

So what exactly is it with the music that makes me claim this statement. Well, a lot of the songs, like "Maybe", "Sky Is Falling", and "Breathe Again", are very bright and jolly, drenching in 70's glory. Add to the fact that the fantasy vibes that is the personality of the band is very toned down, almost missing completely. You can just take any famous ABBA song to compare with, then try to tell me with a straight face that Päivi "Capri" Selo would not fit in as the fifth member of the group. It drives me nuts, I may like ABBA, and I respect everything they have done for Swedish music, but a Finnish symphonic power metal group should not sound like them.

Okay, I am being a little too harsh, I do still think that "Darkness of Eternity" has some redeeming qualities. Production is nice, several songs are memorable, and we also get some really nice instrumental performances here and there, but this album is hurt badly by its incredibly uneven nature, it goes back and forth without settling for something to latch on to. I want more of "Dragonflies, "Luna My Darling", "Abyss", and "I'm The One", that is the Amberian Dawn I know and love, but we do not get enough of it in this record.

So this leaves me with this question, do I prefer "Innuendo", which is a solid, but easily forgettable album, or do I like the more memorable "Darkness of Eternity" better despite its inconsistencies? It is kind of a coin flip, but I do at least get a couple of songs here that will stick with me for some time. It does not mean I like the album as a whole, it is a very bumpy ride with strange decisions, but it is kind of interesting to see this band take this path, hearing them dive deep into their inspirational banks. So yeah, while "Darkness of Eternity" can be frustrating, it is still an intriguing listen, even if it does sound like 70's pop at times.

Songs worthy of recognition: Luna My Darling, I'm The One, Dragonflies

Rating: 6,5/10 Golden Coins

More reviews of Amberian Dawn
Magic Forest

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