Here’s another album review for the #IntoThePitUniverse to help us wind down the year in metallic glory! Earlier this year Helsinki, Finland based melodic death metal band, Amorphis went on to release their 14th studio LP, Queen of Time. The album is just over an hour of listening time spread throughout 12 tracks, 10 of which with a playback time of over five minutes. It’s easy to tell that this project wasn’t just thrown together, but carefully thought out and executed. With a career spanning across 2 decades, Amorphis continues to display growth and the determination of maintaining the rebellious nature of the death core genre. Here’s the #IntoThePitWithAnnie take on their latest album, Queen of Time.
Let’s dive in.
The first thing you’ll receive as a listener is the diversity of instrumentation being utilized. The soundscape being created does a fantastic job of capturing the ear and immersing the listener into the musical environment. Choir selection particularly stuck out to me in the overall fullness of the record. Guitar solo’s were executed with proficiency when needed and snuck back lending it’s voice as a layering role player when required. Drums were excellent at directing and enhancing the dynamics of the collective and performed to industry quality standards as a whole. There were a few instances where drum patterns seemed musically random and forced primarily in snare hits when laying back with the rhythm and riding the groove seemed more appropriate. The vocals on the project were a key component to how well the songs were able to capture mood of the atmosphere. Instruments were able to consistently transition with the contrasting vocal tones used throughout the album. Growls enabled the group to showcase throttling traditional death metal motifs, while the progressive, cleaner vocal tones allowed for melodic swings to convey a mixture of emotion. There were a multitude of synthetic elements as well that catered towards more of a modern sound. An #IntoToThePitKudos is given to the producer of the album for properly bringing the synthetic and acoustic metal elements together nicely.
Production Score: 3.9/5
Into The Mix:
To prevent from beating around the bush, Queen of Time’s mix was clean and well polished to say the least. Low elements had the appropriate amount of cut through and width without seeming muddy in it’s sub frequency range. The higher aspects of the mix rarely clashed between upper frequency instruments. The project had a couple elements that really stuck out to me mix-wise. The echos/delays, and choice of reverbs used for the LP greatly assisted in making the mix worth the listen. The swells of the selected reverbs decayed in a such a way that they could be considered in time musically. Filter effects applied to selected echos left me in an atmospheric trance which made the listening ride more enjoyable. There were moments when vocals, especially growls seemed a little dry but the decay of a reverb or an automated delay would quickly make up for the shortfall. As a whole, the mix was performed professionally and had a consistent sonic response through all of my listening devices.
Mix Score: 4.3/5
A Mastered Experience:
Having been on both ends of the mastering process, there’s one thing that I look for when critiquing a mastered record or project..
Can I listen to this project from top to bottom and it sound cohesive all the way through?
Queen of Time is the sound of a seasoned death metal establishment. Amorphis understands what it takes for a studio release to be well received by it’s fan and the latter. That being said, the mastering of the album will compete with any top tier master in the genre. Each band of the frequency spectrum resonated well throughout a multitude of listening devices which is always the primary goal for a mastering engineer. The master achieves industry standard sonic weight and openness in it’s dynamic range and an eq carved to shimmer for radio. Nothing translates great artistry better than a tasteful mix and master on the record. In this case, Queen of Time showcases both.
Master Score: 4.4/5
Treading into the final month of 2018, metal and progressive fans have had an exciting year as far as releases go. Amorphis’s release early in the year has shown to be an album still worth enjoying months later. Seasoned artistry is always respected here in the #IntoThePitUniverse and 14 studio albums is nothing to batt an eye at. Amorphis did an exemplary job of showcasing top tier performances, diverse instrumentation as well as a mixing and mastering profile that rivals top-selling bands in the genre. Follow-ups are never easy or simple, and it seems Amorphis embraces that very fact. So if you find yourself running short on stocking stuffer ideas for the holidays or just have a friend in mind who loves progressive metal LP’s, Queens of Time will make the ideal gift for them. Congrats to Amorphis and their label Nuclear Blast on this successful album release and Happy Holidays from us here at #IntoThePitWithAnnie!
Into The Pit Score: 4.1/5
See Savage Annie’s show review from their visit to Vegas: Here