Amorphis are one of those bands that shouldn’t be allowed to release music in the summer. Since their melodic turn that properly began with Eclipse, what has followed is a succession of part folk, part melodeath, part gothic/doom/vegetable samosa. While Skyforger wasn’t quite the roaring success that Silent Waters  had been, The Beginning Of Times gives us a dozen songs of Scandinavian metal that is perfectly suited to a frozen winter night.

The lyrical matter, as usual, deals with both pagan ideas and the slightly more ethereal and ‘other world’ kind of vibe, which leaks through in The Song Of The Sage as it crescendos with an 80s keyboard solo (no, seriously, listen to it). It suits the sound of Amorphis perfectly, as crisp guitar tones are picked out of the air in Three Words as the familiar wall of chords crash underneath the melancholic pseudo-folk melodies. As the album progresses it’s clear that the band have moved even further away from their death metal roots, although old school fans will be pleased to hear that Tomi still growls as much as he has done the previous couple of records.

TBoT is easily also the bands least heavy album to date, nearly all tracks containing at least one clean passage. While it’s certainly not detrimental to the now-established Amorphis sound, there is an air of the template on some songs, although My Enemy uses that template that the great Amorphis songs like House Of Sleep from Eclipse fantastically and pulls of a grand coup d’état that stops this from being just ‘another’ Amorphis album.

The band have found their new sound and honed it to perfection. The Beginning Of Times is aggressive and thoughtful, although it can blend together slightly due to the stubbornness of the band to stick unwaveringly to their path. However, that’s not really a bad thing considering the standard that the band hold themselves to.