Finnish melancholic progressive metallers AMORPHIS will release their new studio album, "Queen Of Time", on May 18 via Nuclear Blast. The follow-up to 2015's "Under The Red Cloud" will include the use of real strings, flutes, orchestral arrangements and even choirs. In addition, this will be the first time that people will be able to hear their lyricist Pekka Kainulainen on the album as he contributes a speech in Finnish.
"Queen Of Time" was once again produced by Jens Bogren (OPETH, AMON AMARTH, KREATOR), who is well known for challenging and motivating artists during the recording process. He isn't afraid to push them to their limits.
The disc's opening song, "The Bee", can be streamed below.
Guitarist Esa Holopainen states about the new track: "This song is a very powerful opener and gives a nice picture of what the whole album is all about. You can already hear some new elements like choirs and orchestral arrangements in it."
Adds vocalist Tomi Joutsen: "Of course, the lyrical inspiration is a bee, also in a metaphoric way. The tiniest thing can sometimes be the most important thing. A bee can bring life or if we destroy all the bees, life will stop here. It's a very beautiful animal, that's why you can find it on the album cover too. The track itself is a kind of progressive and I'm sure that it will surprise some fans in a positive way. We love it!"
The "Queen Of Time" cover artwork, which was created once again by French artist Jean "Valnoir" Simoulin from Metastazis, captures the feeling of the lyrics and the music. With Pekka Kainulainen's (lyricist) words, the lyrical theme is universal: "Cultures rise, flourish, and are destroyed. The story of man is the story of searching, finding, and forgetting. A single spark can set the world afire, a single idea can give birth to a new culture. The greatest can stagnate into insignificance, the smallest can hold the power for change. The lyrics on this album are distant echoes of ancient forest peoples, from a time when meaning was proportioned by the cosmic forces that govern birth and death. If the connection was lost, they sought for a strand of knowledge, found a new direction, and a new age began."
"Queen Of Time" will be also the first AMORPHIS album to feature the band's old/new bass player Olli-Pekka "Oppu" Laine following the departure of Niclas Etelävuori in 2017. Oppu was one of the founding members of AMORPHIS in 1990 and recorded the first seven records with the band before he exited the group in spring 2000.
"To be honest, 'Oppu' was the only guy we could imagine being in AMORPHIS," says Esa. "It was funny — when we started to play our first shows together again last summer, it all felt so familiar. He was involved with arranging songs and he also even brought some new songs to the table… really good ones, too!" Oppu adds: "Even though the last year with AMORPHIS has been exciting, nostalgic and fun, it's also been truly comfortable to be with the guys again. As a clichéd expression, it's been like returning home from a lengthy odyssey. After 18 years, it feels like we are picking up where we left off from the good ol' days! I'm really looking forward for the upcoming tour. The new album itself is a really strong package, the only hard thing will be picking which songs to play live! It's safe to say we are set to pull off some killer shows over the next few years. After that, I'm predicting a long and fruitful career for the band in its current form..."
"Queen Of Time" track listing:
01. The Bee
02. Message In The Amber
03. Daughter Of Hate
04. The Golden Elk
05. Wrong Direction
06. Heart Of The Giant
07. We Accursed
08. Grain Of Sand
09. Amongst Stars
10. Pyres On The Coast
Bonus tracks (digi, 2LP, and mail-order edition only)
11. As Mountains Crumble
12. Brother And Sister
Holopainen comments: "I guess 'Queen Of Time' turned out as a massive surprise to all of us. During the rehearsing and pre-production, we didn't have any idea that Jens had this huge picture inside of his head about the landscape of the album. It's a very natural continuation to 'Under The Red Cloud' but with steroids. The songs are more aggressive but there's more dynamics, harmonies and orchestral arrangements present. The result is AMORPHIS as something you've never heard before! Essentially, working with Jens worked really well. As a person, he is very similar to us — we share the same kind of weird humor and we all like to work hard."