Amorphis comes under the category of one of those bands which sound just a powerful on stage and equally soothing on pair of earphones midway a long journey. So I happened to learn while listening to this album recently. After doing my bit of research and reading many other views on The Beginning of Times, I listed my sets of pro and cons.
Firstly, this album is a continuation on the story that the Skyforger started. The production sounds very similar and that would be a good thing, seeing the popularity that album got. Considered as one of their best ventures, Skyforger had music both melodic as well as potent. It was the peak of Amorphis’s transition from their more folk-esque/death sound to a more progressive melo tracks. This album I feel has done no more to contribute to that transition. With this album I believe we have reached the soundscape that Amorphis would operate and experiment with (tiny bits with the latter).
Shades of their former musical preferences are visible with the work on the keyboards. Vocals are beautiful when clean and the growls though unexpected, are welcome still. They are at just the right temperature with the setting of the songs. I wouldn’t comment on other parts of the production majorly because of their similarity with Skyforger.
Another aspect that really strikes a listener is the sheer number of tracks. 13 tracks, laid out well and in an order which almost makes this album gapless. Only if I am actually listening to the tracks individually (analysis mode :D), am I capable of differentiating. Else they beguile me, leave me in this state of perpetual day dreams involving distant wars and hymns that being sung about them (most Nordic bands of this genre leave this essence in me).
What I did not like about this album was not its lack of progress, for even though I am a fan of their earlier ventures I do like what the band has grown into. No, what this album lacked was that potency and that thrill. It does grow on you, but man does that take a long time. Thankfully, their music is awing enough for me to listen to over and over again; else I generally leave albums like these in my library, there for me to discover them later.
I was impressed but not to the point which was being so hyped about on the internet, hence for slight disappointment there I would give this album a 7/10.