Amberian Dawn

The Clouds Of Northland Thunder

Written by: PP on 20/07/2009 15:41:13

When it comes to gothic music, Finland is usually the country that produces bands with the best compositions in the genre. Amberian Dawn, a brilliant example of that statement, won me over a little over a year ago with their debut album "River Of Tuoni" almost instantly, despite sounding like a perfect "Wishmaster"-era Nightwish clone on every account. The songwriting on the album was just too good to criticize for being unoriginal, and besides, how many other bands are there who sound precisely like Nightwish before their sound changed with "Once"? That's right, none, and even Nightwish itself doesn't sound like that anymore. Fast-forward a year into June 2009, and here we are with their sophomore album "The Clouds Of Northland Thunder".

Thunderous is precisely the word to use when describing this album. For those not in the know, Amberian Dawn's music is classified as melodic, dramatic, and powerful symphonic metal, where the vocalist Heidi Parviainen is a classically trained female soprano with a nothing short of astonishing vocal range. The debut record consisted mostly of medium speed tracks and an overload of symphonic keyboards, which are both still present on "The Clouds...", but the guitars seem to be just a little bit more complex and interesting while the keyboards have been pushed slightly more to the background. That's a welcome change, as a song like "Incubus" has a twin-guitar solo battle that's bound to leave cold chills on your back, regardless of your genre affiliation. Parviainen still sings like a Goddess, dominating the entire soundscape with her dramatic soprano vocals that contest Tarja Turunen on many instances, but particularly on "Willow Of Tears" and "He Sleeps In A Grove". Listening to either song - or actually any track on the record - will display Amberian Dawn's ability to not only write solid choruses, but fill the in-between passages with fantastic instrumentation that can be called some of the best power metal around for sure.

Still, there's an omnipresent feeling that the songs were just a tad bit better on "River Of Tuoni". I don't know if it's the abundance of guitar in comparison to the keyboards, or that Heidi's voice was more of a novelty experience on the first record and it is starting to wear off, but especially the second half of "The Clouds Of Northland Thunder" leaves me somewhat disappointed. That being said, however, there are still more than enough great songs here to rate it a solid release overall.

Download: Willow Of Tears, Incubus, Saga, Shallow Waters
For the fans of: Nightwish
Listen: Myspace

Release date 29.06.2009
Ascendance Records

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