Amberian Dawn - 'Innuendo'

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Amberian Dawn - 'Innuendo'

A closely guarded secret for far too long, it's time Amberian Dawn had a serious profile hike in the U.K.

Sophisticated and supremely melodic Symphonic Metal from Finland (wish we could bottle what those buggers have clearly been putting in the water for the past few years!), Amberian Dawn have been wowing European audiences for the best part of a decade now, yet for some curious reason their profile in the U.K. remains stubbornly low key. Given the popularity of other, in some instances less meritorious, Female-Fronted bands that strikes me as increasingly odd, but hey that's the fickle nature of this ramshackle business I guess.

'Innuendo' is their sixth full-length studio album if you exclude 2013's re-recorded 'Re-Evolution' set, and for anyone inquisitive enough to wonder what this jaded old hack is babbling on about, it serves as a very good introduction to the band. Blending together Classical themes, bombastic arrangements, svelte vocals and a rapier like hint of Metallic zeal, the AD sound draws upon a bountiful well of influences that includes anyone from Sonata Arctica to Mozart, Edenbridge to Handel, Nightwish to Bach...

Light and breathy one minute, melodramatic and urgent the next, 'Innuendo' (like all its predecessors) marks a calculated step forward for the band as they soak up more ideas and integrate them into the AD sound. The fragile beauty of 'Angelique' for example could quite easily have emanated from the pen of Andrew Lloyd Webber, whilst the galloping 'Rise Of The Evil' is a resolutely Neo-Classical romp through Stratovarius/SA territory (with a touch of Nightwish).

"New" vocalist Päivi "Capri" Virkkunen builds upon the solid start she made on her 2014 debut 'Magic Forest'... indeed, the biggest compliment to her (I think) is that you don't really miss her predecessor Heidi Parviainen, so seamlessly has she slotted into the AD set-up. The band sound as assured and adept as ever, the musical collage they've created perhaps their most ambitious and diverse sounding to date without ever losing the core appeal of what they band is all about.

Song-wise the album ebbs and flows as you'd expect (more often than not within the context of one song), dramatic peaks like 'Fame & Gloria' or 'Chamber Of Dreadful Dreams' contrasting well with brooding mini epics such as 'Your Time – My Time'... jeez, if only Yngwie Malmsteen still had the inclination to come up with classical refrains as strong as that!

A closely guarded secret for far too long, it's time Amberian Dawn had a serious profile hike in the U.K., and to these ears, 'Innuendo' is the album to do it!

Dave Cockett

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