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I'll hang on for Seducia 2, I think - 61%

joncheetham88, November 22nd, 2009

After the extravagant fusion of rock and gothic doom of Seducia, Silentium couldn't have done better than simply build on that album. There were plenty of things that still could have been done with that wintry, desolate sound. Sadly, yet in some respects admirably, they decided to continue "evolving." The result is a rather confused and disparate collection of songs that goes by the name of Amortean.

'Leave the Fallen Behind', apart from Riina's vocal melodies and tone, is a dead ringer for Nightwish. The symphonic twirls, the upbeat power chords, even the same exact style of little drum fill before the last chorus. As a way to begin your album, as a Finnish band with a female singer, this is not good. Whatever you think of Nightwish (I like 'em), imitating them for your opening song when on your last album you had a melancholic, cello-driven epic can be in no way a positive. Meanwhile the meandering middle-section and ending flourishes of 'The Cradle of Nameless', as well as the finale of 'La Fin Du Monde' begin sounding suspiciously like the orchestral breakdowns of Nightwish's 'The Poet and the Pendulum.'

The symphonic element is a recurring one throughout the album, and where Silentium turn back to the more expressive and exploratory forms found on Seducia, the orchestra provides a distracting presence. In its own right, the symphonic sound isn't a negative thing; it's just Silentium aren't doing anything with it that many bands haven't done before, and also it is far less appropriate and effective for their music than the cello on the previous album or the lone violin of earlier releases. A lumbering track like 'The Messenger' or 'A Knife in the Back' could have sounded far darker without the saccharine symphonies constantly in the background, not to mention the deep and powerful intonations of Riina deserve to be partnered with a more husky instrument, like the cello.

Silentium were clearly intent on a more varied result this time round. The morose clean break of 'The Messenger' provides a very welcome moment of nostalgic gothic misery and a rousing guitar solo much in the vein of all Aegis-era Theatre of Tragedy. With 'The Fallen Ones With You Tonight' they look both to the screeching, feral guitar solos that characterized Seducia and the quirky sense of drama from Sufferion. This last is also one of their lengthiest tracks to date, and in fairness they do a decent job of maintaining interest across its nearly nine minutes. The focus seems to be on a "progressive" (which they interpret as "disjointed") mood, so any slow-burning build or real cohesion is left lacking. The band seems to have reinvented themselves as a more simplistic power metal group and be building on that basis to create more complex songs, rather than just running with what they had before.

Ballads have never particularly been the band's strong suit, usually representing the low-point of an album, and 'My Broken Angel' is no exception to that pattern. This is possibly their poorest song to date, mostly due to the male vocals. Matti Aikio's high-pitched, hoarse moans on Seducia weren't excellent, but they did a decent job of contrasting with Riina. This, one of his very few appearances on Amortean sees him singing in a weak tenor more like his limp performance on Sufferion.

Amortean is not the place to start with Silentium. As you have probably figured out by now, Seducia holds that title. Amortean keeps only slim shreds of the dark and hollow, grandiose feel of that album. What you get here is a lost-sounding band trying to be all things to all men, challenging various of their countrymen at their own game and losing. They do still benefit from an extremely talented singer in Riina Rinkinen, but amongst a reasonably accomplished discography it is recommendable only over Sufferion.

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