What? You want more than that? Surely that’s all you need to know. Well, OK, I guess the pub can wait a little longer and I suppose that the professionalism and quality of this Amberian Dawn release deserves it. It’s just that tag y’know? I feel I know what to expect from the band already and from that aspect Amberian Dawn don’t disappoint, but as a seasoned listener of the genre I’m always listening for something new that a band brings to the table. So, with that in mind…into the forest we go…
Firstly, the band seem to prefer the term Neoclassical Power Metal. So, “My Bad” as my niece says… Another thing of note is that this is the first album proper that new singer Capri has had a hand in (there was also last year’s “Re-Evolution” – re-workings of older tracks, that she did a damn fine job on), so there’s interest there. The news is as expected. She does as good a job as the last vocalist, probably even better (she was a pretty good act to follow) with a little more enthusiasm that you would hope for when the energy is still fresh. And because of this, “Magic Forest” is definitely one of the band’s best album’s to date.
Amberian Dawn’s musical style hasn’t changed, it’s still the polished, slick Symphonic (sorry, Neoclassical) Power Metal it always was – there’s maybe a slightly heavier touch to the rhythm section and a few of the riffs this time around, but on the whole existing fans should be pleased. Also Capri has a slightly more distinctive voice – not trying to be the next Tarja or Simone, just doing her own thing which I really like to hear. Maybe I’d like to hear a bit more experimentation with her voice, but she mixes it up well enough with the material she’s given (The quirky title track gives her the opportunity to be a little more avant-garde – a song-writing style I like to hear the band attempting). I suppose that leads me to my one particular negative with “Magic Forest” – It’s a rather safe release. I understand why, I mean it’s a difficult choice, either use getting a new singer to explore different avenues (like Xandria have done recently) or release a relatively safe album to please your existing fan-base. It’s probably the best course of action for the band really as they can always push the boundaries on subsequent releases if they so desire. And there’s some great songs on here (‘Warning’ and ‘Son Of Rainbow’ are real highlights)! Basically the overall feel seems to be towards Sonata Arctica with a female singer. So if that’s what you’ve been craving then look no further – Amberian Dawn are for you!
So OK, I concede. Finland. New Female Singer. Very Well Executed Symphonic/Neoclassical Power Metal. If that ticks all your boxes then I’m sure Amberian Dawn will not disappoint.
(7.5/10 Andy Barker)