Album Reviews, Culture, Metal / Hard Rock — June 3, 2013 at 1:07 pm

REVIEW: Amorphis – Circle

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Artist Name: Amorphis
Title Name: Circle
Label: Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by: Fabio Marraccini

Finnish metalheads Amorphis pioneered both death/doom metal – with their heavy and seminal first full-length The Karelian Isthmus – and then folk influenced metal – by forging the masterpiece Tales from the Thousand Lakes. They kept progressing in their career, and they kept bringing in new elements, be it from progressive, more Finnish folklore, or straight to metal and rock influences.

They now reach their eleventh full-length studio effort, having built a unique plateau and a loyal fan base with their music. New release Circle right from the start seems to be destined to be their best effort in years. The Finnish national epic Kalevala (which was used as an inspiration for their past releases) wasn’t the fuel in the inspiration engine this time around, but rather an original story created by a writer named Pekka Kainulainen.

“Shades of Grey” opens the album in a high note: heavy riffs, eerie growls and pounding rhythms are combined with the majestic and dreamy clean vocals, inter-layered with beautiful guitar melodies. Piano intro announces “Mission” that has that mid-90s Amorphis feeling yet clean vocals again, very dramatic and somewhat melancholic. But the first standout comes a little but latter with “Narrow Path”, a classic-doom-meets-prog-tune that could rub shoulders with any of their past gems. The real surprise however – and perhaps another stand out – is “Nightbird’s Song”, that in contrary to the quite easygoing title, is a dark tune, with a growled and ominous first part that talks back with their earliest releases – and even black metal – and then evolves to the more classic and recent Amorphis sound, ending in majestic prog beauty, with an inspired flute mid-section.

Circle is a very distinct, varied, and cleverly crafted effort from a band well known to those who had their ears plugged somewhere else, in a time when the mainstream was dominated by grunge and alternative. By the way, if Amorphis aren’t an alternative band – and a darn good one – for mainstream music, I don’t know what is.  

 

LINKS

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Circle - Amorphis

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