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AMBERIAN DAWN - Magic Forest cover
3.21 | 6 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 2014


1. Cherish My Memory (4:27)
2. Dance of Life (3:18)
3. Magic Forest (4:48)
4. Agonizing Night (3:59)
5. Warning (3:28)
6. Son of Rainbow (3:36)
7. I'm Still Here (4:00)
8. Memorial (3:56)
9. Endless Silence (3:49)
10. Green-Eyed (4:37)

Total time: 39:58


- Capri / Vocals
- Emil "Emppu" Pohjalainen / Guitars
- Kimmo Korhonen / Guitars
- Tuomas Seppälä / Keyboards
- Joonas Pykälä-aho / Drums


- Jens Johansson / Keyboards (#2)
- Markus Nieminen / Vocals (#8)

About this release

Released by Napalm Records, June 27th, 2014.

Thanks to adg211288 for the addition


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Finland's Amberian Dawn is not a band that I've followed in the past, but it's my understanding that 2014's Magic Forest is an important album in their discography. As their first album of wholly original material without longtime vocalist Heidi Parviainen, Magic Forest serves as a proving ground for new singer Capri. Though she has previous experience in the music industry, her presence in Amberian Dawn marks her first appearance as a frontwoman in a metal group - and even though I'm currently unable to compare Capri to her predecessor, I know that she does a damn good job on Magic Forest.

As a matter of fact, I would say that she even elevates this record from a fairly average symphonic metal outing to something worth hearing for fans of the genre. Comparisons to bands like Epica, Within Temptation, and Nightwish are inevitable when listening to Magic Forest, but Capri's powerful and "rock-inspired" vocal performance serves as a nice contrast from the more operatic styles heard from popular frontwomen like Simone Simons or Tarja Turunen. The music itself is well-written and meticulously arranged, though nothing totally stands out to my ears. While catchy enough, Magic Forest doesn't pack the same punch that recent Epica outings have (perhaps because of this album's general lack of aggression and preference for mid-tempo grooves) and doesn't stand out enough from the crowd to make for a stunning observation.

That being said, Amberian Dawn have absolutely put together a solid collection of tunes for Magic Forest, and fans of symphonic metal will find plenty to enjoy here. As a well-produced, well-performed, and catchy album that features some truly terrific vocals, Magic Forest has enough going for it to warrant a listen from fans and newcomers alike.
Magic Forest (2014) is the sixth full-length album by Finnish symphonic power metal act Amberian Dawn. Although Magic Forest is the second album by feature the vocals of new singer Capri it is only the first to feature new material as Re-Evolution (2013) was a re-recordings album of songs from the band's first four records to introduce their new singer. Magic Forest is therefore Amberian Dawn's first new material since Circus Black (2012).

I've actually followed Amberian Dawn since the time of their debut album River of Tuoni (2008) and I was quite surprised when it was announced that after four albums together original vocalist Heidi Parviainen (now in Dark Sarah) was parting ways with the band. Though never a stable band in terms of its personnel it had seemed clear to me that no matter how many line-up changes they had Amberian Dawn could still be Amberian Dawn so long as Heidi Parviainen and Tuomas Seppälä were still there, so the former's departure had me concerned. I did not like her replacement Capri at first at all and I do not think that what the band did on Re-Evolution was really the best way to go to win concerned fans like me over. Fortunately by the time of Magic Forest's release (or rather, my receiving a promo copy of it), thanks in no small part to this album's excellent title track, Capri has won me over.

Despite that I have to say that my experience with Magic Forest as a whole is that Amberian Dawn have served up their weakest album to date here. As I said previously, the title track Magic Forest is brilliant, but it's rare that the band keep things up to that level on the album. The album feels more like a typical symphonic metal album than the neoclassical influenced symphonic power metal sound that I've come to expect of an Amberian Dawn album. I don't detect any neoclassical elements here and the power metal elements have been greatly reduced. They still appear in most songs but only usually in shorts bursts, feeling more like seasoning than the actual flavour of the dish though some songs like Endless Silence are still power metal songs while others including Dance of Life mix symphonic power metal with more traditional symphonic metal ideas. While I do enjoy more straight-forward symphonic metal (and indeed the title track counts as that) the sound of Magic Forest simply feels toned down compared to their older work, like an Amberian Dawn Lite.

The best songs aside from the title track would be Dance of Life (which features Jens Johansson), Endless Silence and Son of Rainbow though I'm Still Here is also pretty good. There's an unfortunate tendency for the rest of the album to feel a bit bland by comparison though. The songs are enjoyable is general but are not the attention grabbers those I singled out are. The real downer though is Memorial where Capri duets with opera singer Markus Nieminen. This singer has featured with Amberian Dawn before on End of Eden (2010) where he sang with Heidi Parviainen on a purely classical based track. I didn't like that song either and having him and Capri together in a metal context doesn't make me enjoy his contribution to Amberian Dawn's music any more, in fact I like the song even less. Memorial simply sounds messy, delivering a real blow to an already below par album.

Magic Forest (the song) got my hopes up for Magic Forest (the album) so it's definitely a disappointment to find that the compositions aren't up to the standard I've come to expect from the band, especially since Capri won me over after my earlier scepticism. I actually ended up enjoying her vocals the most out of everything on this album. 3 Stars because the album is not horrible except for the one exception that I pointed out, but it does come over as very mid-range for the genre with too many ups and downs in quality to really earn even an extra half star.


(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven:

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