CD Reviews

Amberian Dawn - 'Magic Forest' Hot

Added by Franco     July 17, 2014    
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This is a marvellous album and one that surprised me greatly

I haven't, up to now, had chance to become properly acquainted with Amberian Dawn, although I do know a few songs from the Finnish Symphonic five-piece. When their new record 'Magic Forest' arrived, it seemed an ideal opportunity to rectify this omission. I was aware they'd changed vocalist in 2012 but I assumed a somewhat similar Soprano filled, exhaustingly paced journey was still ahead... how wrong I was!

Rather than being massively grandiose and totally Operatic, '...Forest' is in fact one of the most accessible Symphonic albums I've heard. What awaits potential listeners is a mixture of 'Unforgiving' era Within Temptation with a sprinkling of Sonata Arctica and a massive helping of ABBA...YES, ABBA! Now don't run off... because this unbelievable concoction works fantastically well

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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'...Forest' opens in attention grabbing style with 'Cherish My Memory'. It has lush 1980s synth, a solid rhythm and a chugging riff that all flows into the most infectious chorus, one you'll be requiring hypnosis therapy to remove from your mind; there's a scorching, synth backed solo to boot. The ABBA influence is noticeable in the little keyboard runs, harmonies and other subtle places.

'Dance Of Life' has a skipping rhythm/progression, swirling arrangements and a punchy chorus, whereas 'Agonizing Night' includes cool vocal climbs, a chuntering riff, lively orchestrations and another catchy chorus. It's another that features a strong flavouring of ABBA in its arrangements, keys and vocal melodies. This inspiration rears itself throughout the album but it's more noticeable in certain songs like the above two and the title track where it can be also be heard in the vocal styling, keyboards, arrangements and breaks.

'Son Of Rainbow' and 'Endless Silence' are a little more Power Metal sounding, especially in the double drum filled choruses, glorious keys and highly intricate solos. With its squealing melody, background synth and driving progression, there is an air of 1980s Hard Rock about 'I'm Still Here'; the Hammond Organ in the bridge seals the deal. 'Memorial' is the most Symphonic track with lots of sweeping strings, a chugging riff and Paivi Virkkunen duetting with professional Opera singer Markus Neiminen. The chorus is another that will worm its way into your head and refuse to leave.

This is a marvellous album and one that surprised me greatly; it really got into my head. Virkkunen is a cracking vocalist who has more in common with Sharon Den Adel than Tarja Turunen. The rest of the band plays a blinder and the production is also excellent making this a superb and easily accessible Symphonic album. Irrespective of where this eventually lands in my "2014 Top Albums", it's still up there with the other headline grabbing Female-Fronted albums this year.

Dave Scott

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Franco Cerchiari said:

my friend Dave and i seem to have the same taste in music, and this time is no exception. i completely agree with his remarks, for this is one fantastic release. the melodies are lush, the musicianship is amazing, and the orchestration is spot on. i loved how the vocals float nicely above the music, never being too obtrusive, or having the listener have to choose between the music or the vocals.

it was Amberian Dawn's 'Circus Black' that made me a fan with its CD highlights, the piano of 'Crimson Flower', the guitar work of 'Fight', and 'I Share With You This Dream' that featured a duet with the superb singer Nils Nording, (Dreamtale). the last Amberian Dawn release to feature vocalist Heidi Parvianen, 'Circus Dawn' featured Stratovarius vocalist Timo Kotipleto, and fellow Stravarius bandmate, keyboard virtuoso Jens Johannson.

'Magic Forest, with new songstress Päivi "Capri" Virkkunen, is a blend of the lush orchestration style of Arrayan Path, the incredible keyboards of Delain, and yeah, i'll agree with Dave's comparison to Sonata Arctica. think of these similarities as you hear the symphonic 'Dance Of Life', 'Memorial' would sound incredible as part of a movie soundtrack, and i couldn't seem to turn up 'I'm Still Here' loud enough, and the gorgeous 'Green Eyed' was a track to simply die for.

in every way possible this is about as incredible of a symphonic sounding release as one could hope for. include this as part of your collection, for what a perfect blend of the symphonic, power, and melodic. Amberian Dawn knocked it clean out of the park with this one.
July 17, 2014
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