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Amberian Dawn - Take a Chance - A Metal Tribute to Abba Award winner

Amberian Dawn
Take a Chance - A Metal Tribute to Abba
by Kevin Lewis at 11 January 2023, 5:54 AM

AMBERIAN DAWN is a Finnish Symphonic Power Metal band formed in 2006. Take A Chance is their tenth studio album and is, as noted in the title, a tribute to Swedish Pop/Rock legends, ABBA. Covering some of their greatest hits and a few deep cuts, they re-imagine the tracks to a more modern sound, but one that could be ABBA in the current era. Take A Chance was released on December 2, 2022, via Nuclear Blast Records. The album opens with “Super Trouper,” one of ABBA’s bigger hits. The guitars are definitely heavier on this version, though they are not overpowering. It sounds like the tuning is deeper, but not so much so that it truly alters the tone of the song. The layered vocals do not contain any male voices that I can hear, so there is that difference. Most of the changes are minor, not meant to create a wholly new version, just enough of a shift to make this true to the AMBERIAN DAWN sound.

The next two tracks are immediately recognizable by name as two of ABBA’s biggest hits. “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)” and “SOS” are songs from my childhood that I remember well. “Gimme” is definitely heavier, though the keyboards do sound pretty close to the original. There is a lot of emphasis on the vocals, lots of layers and dubs to create the four person harmonies ABBA was so famous for. “SOS” has some really good guitar work in it, going much deeper and heavier than the original, but fading out for the first verse to be more like the original. The Symphonic and Power Metal elements give the song more bite, which really is just making the song sound more modern. There just is not all that much stripped-down music put out these days, so this does feel like an accurate representation of what ABBA would sound like in the modern era.

Again, due to my age, I remember some of these tracks from my youth, so they bring back interesting memories. “Mamma Mia” was a skating rink song that all the ladies went out for and the guys followed because that was part of the ritual, literally chase them around the rink hoping to gain their favor. The remake is quite good. Harder than the original, like the rest of the songs, so in line with everything.  Many of the minor hits follow the same theory musically; give the guitars more of a chugging sound and the bass/drum combo match the new guitar sound but keep the tempo accurate to the original. Go heavier, but not so heavy the song loses its’ identity. “Angeleyes” and “Under Attack” are good examples of this. They also mix in plenty of keyboards and synthesizers to give the song that critical tie in to the original.

The album concludes with “Lay All Your Love On Me,” a song that AMBERIAN DAWN does well. They power it up right, giving it a newer feel without taking too many liberties. I will say, I think I prefer this version over the HELLOWEEN one, but AVANTASIA is pretty close. There are many versions of this song, but few as good as this one. AMBERIAN DAWN took a chance (pun intended) and did a good job reworking these songs. The songs feel like they belong to AMBERIAN DAWN, not just a cheap copy of a song to fill space on the end of a disc. They took the time and care to make the songs feels and sound authentic to their band while still honoring the original. They have a modern, current tone that really works in this instance.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Super Trouper
2. Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)
3. SOS
4. Head Over Heels
5. The Day Before You Came
6. Angeleyes
7. That's Me
8. Mamma Mia
9. Under Attack
10. Like An Angel Passing Through My Room
11. Lay All Your Love On Me
Päivi "Capri" Virkkunen – Vocals
Jukka Hoffren – Bass
Joonas Pykälä-aho – Drums
Tuomas Seppälä – Guitar/Keyboards
Emil "Emppu" Pohjalainen – Guitar
Record Label: Napalm Records


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