Released: 2014, Napalm Records
As this is my first Amberian Dawn review, let me start with some background. The seed from which Amberian Dawn grew was brought to my attention when I attended Rock to the River in Finland in 2006 (review available on metal-rules). I was presented with an EP CD containing 4 fabulous, melodic, power metal songs with male vocals. While keeping tabs on that band, it changed, ceased to exist and some members moved into the band Amberian Dawn.
In 2013 Amberian Dawn gained a new singer and decided to record a best of collection with Capri on vocals. I always find this so frustrating when bands do this–it’s like they are trying to wipe away history. Face it; in reality when has a cover ever surpassed an original recording of a song? In this instance the labour actually worked and I didn’t feel like the new versions were substandard to the originals. Capri also took over writing the lyrics for Amberian Dawn. All the lyrics on MAGIC FOREST are by Capri.
2014 has been a big year for Amberian Dawn with not only a new album, but a new label to represent them worldwide. According to the media material Amberian Dawn have provided a soundtrack to a journey through the MAGIC FOREST, where enchanted and fantastic creatures dwell. MAGIC FOREST is female fronted power metal with the minimalist of symphonics for those times when you just don’t want to listen to anything over the top and any other time.
The album starts with ‘Cherish My Memory’, followed by ‘Dance of Life’ with guest keyboardist, keyboard Jens Johanssen. This isn’t the first song of Amberian Dawn’s where keyboard Jens Johanssen has contributed. He has also added his nimble touches to the albums END OF EDEN and CIRCUS BLACK.
‘Magic Forest’ was the song chosen for the album’s single and rightly so. It’s a springy number with a memorable melody which easily hums in my throat. ‘Son of Rainbow’ is also another song of this calibre.
‘Memorial’ features the vocals of baritone Markus Nieminen who also contributed to album END OF EDEN. And here’s where Amberian Dawn ignore a vocal approach that most symphonic bands would not be able to resist. Even though it is obvious Capri is classically trained and can sing belle canto, they have chosen to keep her vocals ‘normal’ giving the duet contrast.
The simple structure and melody of ‘Endless Silence’ makes it memorable. My main criticism of this album is that the last track ‘Green-Eyed’ is a ballad–yes a constant complaint of mine. But that’s just me and I’ll probably complain about this until my last breath. Amberian Dawn is one of those bands where patience to allow the band to mature has definitely paid off. MAGIC FOREST is definitely an album worthy of buying in the deluxe set edition.