Amberian Dawn – Innuendo (Napalm)Sunday, 11th October 2015
Seven albums in eight years – keyboardist/main composer Tuomas Seppälä will never be considered apathetic or lazy in his craft when it comes to Finnish symphonic power metal act Amberian Dawn. Fortunate to take in a majority of their catalog from the River of Tuoni debut in 2008 to last year’s Magic Forest, this journalist has his favorites (2010’s End of Eden) and more casual offerings (the aforementioned Magic Forest a little more keyboard heavy than normal). So taking an album title that many find synonymous with the legendary Queen, Innuendo represents another forward progression for the group in the sense that you can teach musicians to add dynamic nuances from outside categories and make more of an entertaining journey to engage the listener.
Eschewing any prolonged, drawn out intro, the twin guitar churn and double bass that blast from opener “Fame & Gloria” prove Amberian Dawn are firmly entrenched in metal, equally appreciative of Stratovarius and Sonata Arctica as they are into Yngwie Malmsteen and Rainbow. Latest singer Capri can certainly straddle the lines of operatic and gothic/symphonic siren melodies, her pop sensibilities showing through on more commercial-oriented material like “Ladyhawk” and the cinematic piano-driven ballad “Angelique”. Using proper peppy drum tempos from Joonas Pykälä-aho makes uplifting arrangements such as “Chamber of Dreadful Dreams” and the title cut roar from your speakers and promote unison audience involvement when Amberian Dawn choose to present these tracks on stages far and wide.
The keyboard and guitar breaks throughout dazzle in a Jens Johansson/Yngwie Malmsteen neo-classical shred battle – and the surprising blast beat section around 3:10-3:16 for the speedier “Rise of the Evil” made for a fabulous adrenaline pick me up midway through the record. Of course there are Nightwish-like references abound, but another delight was the 80’s keyboard strains against more of an ABBA pacing for “Knock Knock Who’s There”, the type of number that given the right exposure could open Amberian Dawn to even broader appeal beyond their established audience.
Considering the popularity of anything Finnish related in the power/symphonic metal genres, Amberian Dawn took the best time to create their greatest full-length to date. Innuendo could have the legs to push the band on some great tours.