Looking For You

Amberian Dawn are a melodic symphonic power metal band from Finland formed in 2006 by Tuomas Seppala (keyboards/guitars) and Tommi Kuri (bass). The band have endured numerous line up changes over the years, including the death of founding member Tommi (died 2015). The band have released eight albums, with 2013's 'Re-Evolution', a re-recorded compilation with their new singer Paivi 'Capri' Virkkunen. 'Looking For You' is the bands ninth album, released at the beginning of 2020, and features a cover of the ABBA classic 'Lay All Your Love On Me' (from the bands 1980 'Super Trouper' album). Why you may ask, is an ABBA cover song included - well, although founding member Seppala's musical heroes are Ritchie Blackmore and Ronnie James Dio, his influences range from the guitar virtuoso Yngwie Malmsteen to the Swedish pop supergroup, (the aforementioned) ABBA...    
...but hang on a second, what's that I hear? An ABBA influence is actually sprinkled all over the album! Oh yes indeed sports fans... The band began changing their sound with 2017's 'Darkness Of Eternity', and have gone the full monty with 'Looking For You' - high energy and bombastic synth pop straight out of the eighties, yet still heavily structured within the realms of symphonic power metal. The pop feel is undeniable, the album as catchy as hell - where's that hair brush, I wanna sing into it like I did in the eighties - like everyone did, bopping around the floor like a maniac! Amberian Dawn have breathed new life into the symphonic power metal genre, a breath of fresh air if you like, or a new lick of paint, and an air of excitement - and given 2020 a major startle. Opening with the bombastic bravado of 'United', the album begins with an explosion of pop meets metal. Anyone who knows the sound of ABBA, will immediately recognise the bands influence, but never heard it so metalized. Amberian Dawn still stand on the metal side of the fence, but are having fun with this album - fun that many bands these days seem to lack. The punch the band have is so very powerful, 'Eternal Fire Burning' jabbing the senses time and again with a bombastic thunder that hits so very hard.    
Every song is catchy, sing a long able and smile inducing, invoking a happy party feel that is gonna infect everyone who listens. The title song 'Looking For You' is an up tempo swagger, a beautiful angelic vocal performance from singer Capri, soaring across the chorus break - absolutely mesmerising, and I don't just mean her voice. 'Two Blades' is a heavy hitting stomp with a slight menacing undertone, not too menacing, just enough to give 'Two Blades' a bit more beef than what has gone before. 'Symphony Nr. 1 Part 3 - Awakening' features the vocal talents of Angra lead singer Fabio Lione, and is six minutes of highly intense symphonic power metal, portraying an epic, tension filled atmosphere. It has such a theatrical feel, that visions of a big stage, big costumes and big orchestra spring to mind. 'Go For A Ride' is a pure adrenaline rush of classic synth pop meets power metal. It has gusto and bravado woven into its hard hitting rhythm, and will have feet stomping everywhere. The energy levels throughout this album do not drop for a second, where on earth Amberian Dawn get it all from I don't know - but it seems like an endless supply.    
The party continues in full swing with the melodic and pop blended hard rocker 'Butterfly' - and just like a butterfly, 'Butterfly' flies gracefully. The choruses held within every song have been infectious and catchy, sing a long able to the max, and an incredible party feel. And the party isn't over yet cause the party piece is still to come... But before then, 'Universe' unfolds in an array of soulful vocals and mellow keyboards, a power ballad for want of a better expression. A lighters held high moment with swaying from side to side 'Universe' is the only breather you get in an otherwise energetic, entertaining and a thouroughly enthralling album. And now, the ABBA cover - 'Lay All Your Love On Me'. A match for the originals pace, Amberian Dawn make it as energetic, but even more bombastic than the forty year old original... Yes, this is a forty year old song that Amberian Dawn have covered and made it feel as though it is one of their own, and it fits into the soundscape of the album perfectly. An album that ends with the exquisite 'Au Revoir', a short keyboards led instrumental that acts as a wind down from all the energy that has passed by - and err, it's not the end actually, there is a re-mastered version of 'Cherish My Memory' (taken from the bands 2014 album 'Magic') to finally bring the curtain on a performance deserving of a standing ovation.    
Overall, a highly energetic and extremely bombastic barrage of pop meets symphonic metal - entertaining, exciting, and something just a little bit different from the norm.    
Review By Iron Mathew Collins    
Reviewed For Metal Gods TV