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Death metal beginnings - 85%

MaDTransilvanian, May 18th, 2009

Amorphis’ self-titled single release contains no songs actually named Amorphis. Instead, this single contains two tracks: Vulgar Necrolatry, a cover of Finnish death metal band Abhorrence, and Misery Path, a song which would end up both on the debut album, The Karelian Isthmus, and on the Privilege of Evil EP.

Vulgar Necrolatry is a cover of a rather little-known Finnish band, Abhorrence, who had released the original version of the song little more than a year earlier as a demo. Unlike the staple of Amorphis’ later discography, this is pure, uncompromising death metal. The song kicks in with pounding blast beats followed by a series of excellent riffs and Tomi Koivussaari’s growled vocals, which he would go on to do more and more sporadically as the years passed until stopping 1997. I haven’t heard the original version of this song by Abhorrence but Amorphis do an impressive job with the song.

On the other hand, Misery Path is an original Amorphis song which distinguishes itself by not only being more slow-paced than the previous track, but also by containing the elements which would become an essential part of the band’s unique sound. The opening riff is highly reminiscent of the band’s early material, moving beyond simple death metal with audible hints of doom as well as the band’s later, more progressive side. Despite this, the song is still essentially death metal, albeit with an Amorphis twist. Their particular form of death metal is very well done, featuring a particular type of atmosphere rarely encountered in this genre of metal.

The lyrical themes present here also provide evidence as to the songs’ origin. Vulgar Necrolatry deals with the typical death metal subjects of dying, burial of the dead, rotting corpses and basically everything dealing with morbidity. Misery Path, however, is far more interesting lyrically: the song deals with epic voyages, the gods and man’s achievement, anticipating the complex lyrical themes to be found on later Amorphis albums.

Interesting from a historical standpoint, this release contains two tracks which are also found on the Privilege of Evil EP, making this single devoid of any exclusive material. The songs themselves are however excellent, with Misery Path being the more interesting of the two simply because it’s one of the first manifestations of the early Amorphis sound.