The year 2012 has had it’s fair share of album releases occuring in the early stages of it’s inception, and among those releases comes an album from the well-known Finnish symphonic power metal band Amberian Dawn, which was formed in 2006 by Tuomas Seppälä and Tommi Kuri. The group is composed of Heidi Parviainen the lead vocalist; Tuomas Seppälä the keyboardist, guitarist, producer and engineer; Kasperi Heikkinen and Kimmo Korhonen, fellow guitarists, Jukka Koskinen the bassist and Heikki Saari, drummer and percussion handler.
Circus Black is the fourth studio album of Amberian Dawn released in February 2012 under Spinefarm Records. Consisting of 10 tracks spanning from 3 minutes to over 5 minutes, giving a total music time of 40 minutes 47 seconds from the very first track to the last one. The album is solely symphonic rock, with elements of fast paced drumbeats and slow guitar solos dotting the tracks at one point or the other.
With Circus Black, Amberian Dawn outdid themselves in immersive ways. One particular thing to note is the symmetry in which they flow with their songs. The name Circus Black does not just go as far as being the album’s name, but also depicts its meaning on the album art. Besides that, the songs in the album maintain that circus theme; dark clowns and sinister rides that may lead to your imminent demise. Amberian Dawn stay true to the theme, and never once falter from the circus theme flow. The first song, which is also called Circus Black, introduces listeners with high pitched circus guitar strings, which is supported seconds later by incredible fast paced drumbeats. The symphony and the rock blend properly to immerse you in it’s addictive rhythm. It’s a welcome introduction into Circus Black, like the man you see in front of a tent who cleverly works words to pique your interest into entering. Other songs do not fail to captivate you, whether it is the lyrics that bind you or the awe you’re struck with at how beautifully the instruments are strung together.
Each song on the album is based on a story, meaning listeners will be able to pick up references here and there while listening and enjoying their fill. Heidi Parviainen, the lead singer does not fail in the use of the supremacy that is her soprano voice, as she clearly goes over the top and delivers breath-taking vocals that would have you speechless. Circus Black is a healthy mix of fast and slow, with tracks like Circus Black, Cold Kiss, Fight and Letter giving you quick steps and resonating sounds to follow while tracks like Crimson Flower (which has references to Beauty And The Beast), Charnel’s Ball and Guardian give you more slow, melancholic rhythms that have you silenced in awe as you search for the undying meanings to Heidi’s lyrics. Notable tracks that stay very true to the circus theme are Circus Black, Charnel’s Ball and Letter. The 8th track, The Rivalry Between Good And Evil, is a 3 minutes 58 seconds track consisting of nothing but instrumentals, displaying the prowess of band’s mechanical skills. Guardian, the 9th track, as well as the longest offers a more melancholic and orchestra rendered sound; with hooks containing nothing but the chorus of several voices singing in harmony to nothing but a tune, residing to allow Heidi tell the story of a lost child who is saved by her Guardian. Thie story is almost reminiscent to River Of Tuoni, except here the child lives to see her mother. The album ends with the explosive, invigorating song Lily Of The Moon, delivering lasting effects to make you want to get back to the top of the playlist and relish each track again.
Amberian Dawn had the sole purpose of doing something rather different with Circus Black, and while their other albums (River Of Tuoni, The Clouds Of Northland Thunder and End of Eden) are pieces that have graced airwaves, Circus Black has managed to carve out a new niche in symphonic rock. The vocal content is inspiring, the drums and percussions are outstanding and the overall output rock that makes you appreciate it for its sincerity and acknowledgement of its roots.
Stand out tracks: Circus Black, Charnel’s Ball, Letter, Guardian.