Tomi Joutsen - vocals
Tomi Koivusaari - rhythm guitar
Esa Holopainen - lead guitar
Niclas Etelavuori - bass guitar
Santeri Kallio - keyboards
Jan Rechberger - drums
True to their namesake, finnish melodic death metal band Amorphis have kept their core sound a very fluid concept. "Skyforger" (May 29 2009) a concept album revolving around the traditional finnish folkstories of the Kalevala is the band's ninth full-length album and it's just as much a radical departure from their famous early album "Tales From the Thousand Lakes" as was their middle album "Am Universum". While it appeared that the band had finally decided to stick solely with the death metal style in their last offering "Silent Waters" they have again gone for a dip into the technical waters of prog, which could either excite or disappoint any given fan, depending on how they liked the band's previous excursions into more mellow territory.
Anyone who now thinks that Amorphis are repeating themselves, however, could not be more wrong. Within the 'new' sound we have come to love and expect from the Fins, the overall feeling is that they have toned down a bit yet again. On the other hand they have even further perfected their compositional & musical craftsmanship. However, the show is absolutely stolen by the brilliant interplay between Tomi Joutsen's amazing ability to instantaneously switch between clean and harsh vocals and the addictive catchy riffs from the crafty hands of Esa Holopainen.
A perfect example of this can be found in the intriguing chorus of opening track "Sampo". This song's subtle and supple transition into a heavy and dark mood in the middle of the song is also a prime example of Amorphis's control over atmosphere and feeling. Each and every song in fact has something going on which sets it apart from the rest. Whether it is the fragile and sentimental heights that are reached in "Sky Is Mine" or the raw and heavy aggressive nature of "Majestic Beast". Or the slow and continuously repeated theme of "My Sun" which adds another level of intrigue to this album as does the gothic folksy intro and the powerful chorus of the title song "Skyforger". The influence of the imagery of the Kalevala is no more stronger than in the catchy riffs (and music video for that matter) of the band's first single "Silver Bride". And the band's prog experimentation goes into overdrive within the fine guitar/keyboard duel in "From Earth I Rose".
Each and every track is more than convincing and together they form a balanced record that takes the listener through a range of ever changing melodic landscapes. Absolutely recommended for melodic death metal fans.
2. Silver Bride
3. From the Heaven of My Heart
4. Sky Is Mine
5. Majestic Beast
6. My Sun
7. Highest Star
9. Course of Fate
10. From Earth I Rose
11. Godlike Machine (Digipak Bonus Track)
12. Separated (Japanese Bonus Track)
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