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Amberian Dawn - Re-Evolution
CD Reviews
Written by Ton Dekkers   
Wednesday, 26 June 2013
Amberian Dawn - CD Review
Amberian Dwan - Re-Evolution

CD Info


 KHY Suomen Musiikki
 11 Tracks

English Lyrics

It's interesting to do my first CD review for Sonic Cathedral. But it’s also challenging because of the type of album, more on that later. My first encounter with this type of music (Female fronted Metal) was with a Finnish band called Nightwish. This first review is the album Re-Evolution of the Finnish band Amberian Dawn. They have build up a great reputation too, being very successful on RockBandNetwork with far more than 100,000 downloads world-wide.

I saw them live at Female Metal Voices Fest in 2012. That gig showcased their trademark: great melodic metal with deep poetic lyrics of an amazing technical standard. It ended up being the last show with the classical soprano Heidi Parviainen because the band decided to part ways with Heidi, who had been a member of Amberian Dawn from the beginning.

After a long search the band presented their new singer Paivi "Capri" Virkkunen to their fans in late December 2012. She is from Finland and a professional vocalist with a strong background: she has had a full classical training but her passion has always been to be a rock singer. Now she is presented to the world, as she performs the vocals on this new special album.

Here’s what Tuomas Seppälä (guitarist and principal songwriter in AD) has to say about Capri and the new record:

"We all thought that the best way to introduce our new singer to our fans is by re-recording a compilation album of our best songs. It was very important for us to give you all a broad overview about Capri’s great talent in all its facets and present her vocal sound and way of singing to you before we start recording a whole new studio album".

See here is the real challenge for this review. It's not "simply" reviewing a new album. The songs are not new, only newly recorded with another vocalist. Basically it ends up reviewing the vocalists.

I will start the review with the easy bit. In their press release AD states "All songs on Re-EVOLUTION were carefully compiled from previous Amberian Dawn releases". I can agree with that, it gives a nice overview of their (best) songs up until now. The mixing is slightly different, but the authenticity of the songs is not changed.

The album starts with " Valkyries" from the 1st album River of Tuoni (2008), then "Incubus" and "Kokko Eagle of Fire", two songs from The Clouds of Northland Thunder (2009) straight into "Lily of the Moon" from the last album Circus Black (2012). It’s about 16 minutes through the life of AD, in which you can hear that the songs get more mature, as expected of course. The fifth song is the only one from End of Eden (2010) , which means that all previous releases are covered. A nice blend of older and newer songs completes the compilation. The compilation shows that good music will not decay by time; it will only change in little nuances. And if you have a clear signature, as AD has, it will stay clearly visible in all songs.

And now to the hard bit. Some people will say this ends up as a 'political' review. As always, there will be fans that will keep saying the music was better with Heidi, and there will be people that say it's better with Capri. With the digital options it's easy to create your own compilation. For this review I created a set with the old and new version mixed (old-new-new-old). Which version I heard was not that important; AD's music was great anyway. And looking into the individual songs, sometimes I preferred Heidi, sometimes Capri. When I listened the set later that day, that preference might change. Clearly mood and circumstances influences your opinion. Heidi (a classical soprano) and Capri (classical metal) are completely different and not to comparable. Sometimes you prefer the difference (Heidi's soprano voice) and sometimes the balance (Capri's metal voice). Anyway both have their advantages and more relevant both add value to the songs (in a different way).

If you're not familiar with the old album and will hear Amberian Dawn for the first time, it's an album that gives you a lot of musical pleasure. The symphonic up-tempo metal is of a high level, with a great vocalist, strong beats, interesting guitar solos/duets and very good keyboards supported by attractive arrangements. Sometimes you could make associations with the other well known Finnish band mentioned earlier, however you should not think they're copying. AD definitely has their own sound.

The album is overall very good. I would the say a little bit more on three songs that were for me the best. They are from three different albums, which really indicates that "age" not is relevant. To keep to sequence on the album, the fist one is "Incubus". The song opens with mysterious keyboards followed by beats to prepare for the "singing" guitars. The harmony of Capri 's singing and later the male vocals combine very well. The spoken text in the quiet part of the song creates an additional layer. The song finishes strong with great guitar work and very well fitting keyboards.

The second song is "Circus Black". The rhythmic guitars at the opening immediately attracts and continues in Capri's singing. The symphonic instrumental part has a nice guitar solo.

The up-tempo "River of Tuoni" also starts with nice guitars that keep playing an important role in this song. Capri's metal voice is challenged in the fast harmony but also in the higher vocals. She's not a soprano, but it works out very well. 

With this album, we now know that we don't have to worry over the future of AD. I’m looking forward to see them live and have expectations for a new CD where we can hear Capri's and AD's new sound to the full extent. 

8.5 / 10

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