AmberianAmberian Dawn will be well known to those with an interest in female fronted symphonic metal, and this, their sixth album (not counting a re-recorded compilation), sees them evolve further still. Hot on the heels of 2014’s “Magic Forest”, the latest offering from this Finnish troupe, “Innuendo” is the second with Paivi “Capri” Virkkunen on vocal duties. Capri has an outstanding voice, far more powerful than most of her peers, but refreshingly she does not feel the need to try to shatter glass with ear piercingly high notes, and she really adds to the Amberian Dawn sound.

“Innuendo” comprises ten tracks which are all relatively short and punchy, with immediately catchy, infectious melodies, and are probably best described as symphonic female fronted power metal. The vocals are naturally the focal point but closer inspection reveals impressive intricacies in the music, and of course there are the shredding guitar solos.

The album opens with “Fame and Gloria” which gets straight into things with catchy hooks and vocal melodies. “Ladyhawk” and “Innuendo” follow, pushing things in the power metal direction, showcasing Capri’s voice, as well as the rest of the bands musical prowess.

“The Court of Mirror Hall” veers in a more pop direction, bringing to mind Abba,
and would not sound out of place as a Eurovision entry! Is Abba-metal a recognised genre?? The pace slows for ballad “Angelique”, which would not sound out of place in a musical on Broadway. During this, the depth and power of Capri’s voice is apparent, but she also takes on a vulnerable quality which works well with the track.

The pace soon picks up with “Rise of the Evil” which is one of the stand out tracks to my ears. “Knock Knock Who’s There” has a poppier feel reminiscent of fellow Finns Indica or even 80’s Spanish pop act Mecano…..

The album is brought to a close by “Symphony nr 1, pt 1 – The Witchcraft” and “Your Time – My Time” which bring more of the same big, memorable tunes and top notch musicianship.

Ultimately, this album will not be to every metalhead’s taste, but it is a great example of female fronted symphonic Abba-metal, and I for one am looking forward to hearing some of these tracks live when I catch them supporting Delain in Europe in a couple of weeks.

(8/10 Andy Pountney)