Saturday, May 26, 2018

Amorphis - Queen of Time (2018)

I do not know if I am beginning to get old and grumpy, but I have not found many records of high quality this year. 2018 so far has been disappointment after disappointment, with very few real highlights. Hopefully, it all might change now, since last week's releases did at least spark some interesting albums. No, I am not talking about the new 5FDP album, instead I want to focus on two other giants that just keeps on giving us some great music, one being death metal legends At The Gates delivering another face crusher in "To Drink The Night Away", and the other being the Finnish juggernaut Amorphis.

While Amorphis has never been one of my all time favourites, these lads have still produced quality work with each new record, and "Queen of Time", lucky number 13 for the band, is of course no exception. It is yet another Amorphis release that takes their patented brand of melodic folk death metal to new territories. Sure, it is not that much different from its predecessor, 2015's "Under The Red Cloud", but everything here feels more refined, perfected just a tad bit more to elevate it further.

With its 57 minutes divided into 10 songs (all between 4:50 to 6:40 minutes), "Queen of Time" certainly is a meaty record, but the flow is just so god damn fluent, it never feels tiring or stale. Amorphis does a good job in balancing all of the tracks, giving each and every one of the songs something that the listener can connect to, whether it be a catchy melody line, or an Anneke Van Giersbergen who pops up in "Amongst Stars". It also helps a lot that each song is of good quality, each one holding up on its own without any problem.

The performances are crisp as well, with the dual guitar attack of Esa Holopainen and Tomi Koivusaari as the show stoppers. Some of these riffs that they line up here are so addictive, and kind of unreal as well, like they should not be coming from a guitar. The opening riff of the opening track "The Bee" sets the bar, and it just gets lifted higher in "The Golden Elk", and "Wrong Direction", there are so many fantastic riffs and licks in here. Obviously, singer Tomi Joutsen deserves a shout out as well, ever since he joined the band in 2004 he has been flat out brilliant.

So this is just a wall to wall fantastic album, with no filler, all killer. The only remark I might have against it is that they could have used Anneke in a more interesting way in "Amongst Stars", and maybe put in one or two songs that were more different, to diversify the album even further, but that is just petty remarks for an album that is sure to be one of the front runners in the race for the number one spot of the year end lists. There are so many epic moments in here to fill the listener up easily, and it leaves a lasting impression on you. But do not stare at the album artwork for too long, or you might be able to see time itself and its frightening sight.

Songs worthy of recognition: Wrong Direction, The Bee, Daughter of Hate, The Golden Elk, We Accursed

Rating: 9,5/10 Grains of Sand

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