Amberian Dawn are a Symphonic Power Metal band based out of Finland. They are made up of vocalist Capri, keyboardist/composer Tuomas Seppälä, guitarist Emil Pohjalainen, bassist Jukka Hoffre, and drummer Joonas Pykälä-aho. The band formed in 2006 and have released a total of nine full-length albums, with their first being River of Tuoni in 2008. In April of 2009, the band followed up with The Clouds of Northland Thunder, both of which were released through KHY Suomen Musiikki Oy. A year and a half later they released End of Eden in October of 2010, then in 2012 came the release of Circus Black in February, both through Spinefarm Records. The band furthermore dropped Re-Evolution through KHY Suomen Musikki Oy in 2013. Soon after, the band signed to Napalm Records, a label based out of Austria, where they have released Magic Forest in 2014, Innuendo in 2015, Darkness of Eternity in 2017, and Looking For You in 2020.
Fast forward to 2022, the band is about to release their tenth album, also through Napalm Records, on December 2nd titled, Take A Chance: A Metal Tribute To ABBA. The album is a collection of ten ABBA songs they have reworked and covered in their style, along with a bonus track of the song Lay All Your Love On Me, which was originally released on Amberian Dawn’s 2020 album, Looking For You. It was the first cover song they had ever done and after recording the song, Tuomas introduced the idea to the rest of the band and they liked it right away, “This song is one of my favorite ABBA songs and the awesome keyboard riff that starts the song at the intro. When I started to practice the song and wanted to achieve the same sound in those keyboards, it was really hard because Benny Andersson used those certain old synthesizers back then. It was really hard to make the sound identical or even close, and I used to so many hours trying to nail the sound. I think eventually, I managed to make it work. I think I like the keyboard parts… And of course, the lyrics are great. There are so many good songs to choose from when you’re talking about a band like ABBA. They have dozens of great songs, it’s not easy to pick just one, but if you’re picking just one, it’s still going to be a great song because all of their songs are great.”
The entire band are fans of ABBA and had fun recording the album. Capri enjoyed doing this project, not only because she’s a fan, but was also very familiar with the songs already because she’s been performing in ABBA Musicals throughout the years. Tuomas commented, “I think we have achieved some of their magic, of course we can never compete with ABBA because they’re just perfect and their Music is so perfect. I think we have achieved something about their magic and I’m happy with the results because we didn’t try to copy their Music, we added something of our own. It’s kind of a combination of their Music and our Music. And ABBA Music blends in so nicely. If you listen to our latest album Looking For You, it’s not so different, if you really listen to those songs. There’s some kind of feeling somehow. Of course, it’s not as good as ABBA Music, but I tried my best!” Tuomas said while laughing.
When they began making the album, Amberian Dawn wanted to keep a lot of the Music as original as possible, “For example, all the vocal lines are almost identical to the originals. Also, with the keyboards, I wanted to keep the original feeling and sound, which was really hard with those synthesizers.”
Tuomas feels this is a good album to introduce new fans to Amberian Dawn as the songs are very close to the style they play today, “We were more of a Power Metal kind of band, but recently we’ve played more melodic and even Pop Metal kind of Music. So, I think these ABBA songs are quite close to our current style.”
The band have released two singles with visualizers for Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!, which was originally on ABBA’s Greatest Hits Vol 2 album as a new song in 1979, and also for the song S.O.S., which was from their 1975 self-titled album. The rest of Take A Chance: A Metal Tribute To ABBA is comprised of classics and including the opening track, Super Trouper originally from their 1980 album, Mamma Mia also from their self-titled 1975 record, Angeleyes from 1979’s Voulez-Vous, and one ballad closing the album with Like An Angel Passing Through My Room from 1981’s The Visitors, before it heads into the bonus track.
The Day Before You Came, which is the fifth track, originally from the 1975 self-titled album, is one of Tuomas‘ absolute favorite ABBA songs, “It’s kind of Musical… It would be easy mistaking it for some kind of Musical. That was ABBA in their late years, where their Music became more dramatic, and more Musical kind of Music at the end. And on their 1981 album, The Visitors, there’s so many good songs, I Let The Music Speak, for example. I like that style the most, very dramatic. When you’re talking about ABBA Music, most of the people immediately talk about the happy songs and uplifting songs. Ok, most of the songs are happy and uplifting. There’s also that really dramatic side. The Day Before You Came is really dramatic, it almost makes me cry, it’s a sad song, one of my favorites.”
In our interview, Tuomas emphasized the importance of their debut album, which featured Heidi Parviainen, who was their vocalist from 2006 up until 2012 when Capri took over, “In the beginning our Music was more Power Metal kind of Music, then we had this Symphonic Metal base, but I think the debut album is always the most important to me because I wasn’t so young, I was maybe 35 years old, but I didn’t have so much experience playing in bands. I only had to play in one band before, and maybe five or six years with that band. So, I was not so experienced. Of course, I was playing Music all of my Life. I am a classically trained pianist, for example, I have been playing Classical Music for all my Life. I had such a short history with bands, so the debut album, River of Tuoni, everything was new to me. Working in the studio was quite new to me and my band members were also same like me, not so experienced, so we all were learning so much about the whole thing. That’s why I think the whole album is so special to me, I can’t name one song, but the whole album.”
When Tuomas was four years old, his Mother and Father took him to Music school to learn and play piano, “So, I played until I was maybe sixteen, then I stopped, because when you’re fifteen or sixteen, you really need to start thinking about your future, what you want to do. Do you want to be a professional pianist, or do you want to be a doctor or engineer or something? It was kind of fading away from me to play piano, so I started to play guitar instead, and I started to listen to Metal Music. It was the beginning of the eighties, there were bands like Iron Maiden, Ronnie James Dio, etcetera, and I started to listen to Metal Music and the Classical Music kind of faded away, but later I found Classical Music again.”
He was also introduced to Metal through his schoolmates when his best friend gave him the Holy Diver album by Ronnie James Dio, “I think that might be one of the first albums I’d ever heard. But we’re talking about the eighties, the Music was kind of softer, it was not so heavy as it is today. Metal Music was maybe more melodic, today there’s so much extreme kind of Metal, there’s so much different Metal bands and I think it’s totally different now. And also, we didn’t have so much to choose from, there was no Internet, so we just had cassettes and cassettes players, and we copied those and there was not so much Music available again, compared to the situation now where you have thousands of thousands of bands, you just need to play one button. “
Take a Chance: A Metal Tribute to ABBA Tracklist:
1. Super Trouper
2. Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)
4. Head Over Heels
5. The Day Before You Came
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
You can pre-order Take a Chance: A Metal Tribute to ABBA through Napalm Records here!
Article & Interview by Jenna Williams, The Scream Queen