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The very next year, Amorphis puts out another album that I believe lives vicariously through the success of Eclipse. I wanted more of that, and Silent Waters does enough to deliver. The same can be said about Skyforger, The Beginning Of Times, and Circle, the three albums after this. Yeah, the band stuck to this formula for quite a while. I believe they only hit big with this formula every other album, so Silent Waters takes the hit in terms of general cohesion and brilliance.
From Esa's eclectic leads on "A Servant" to Koivusaari's lurching riffs on the title track and to the adoring melodies on "I Of Crimson Blood," this album's got its unadulterated Amorphis with this modern twist. The clean, rich production works well to enhance the band's tight performances and the album's chunky tone. Best is heard on "Towards And Against" (probably the poppiest song on here) where Rechberger rules the rhythm with his catchy beats and the riffing is on fire. Adding to this is the atmosphere - dark, looming, and accompanied by Joutsen's monstrous, bulky growls (his morose cleans are just as good).
A few songs could have been left off this album. At its core are seven solid tracks that do well to make up a collection of remarkable, enjoyable songs. The best the band has to offer are on these songs, like Esa's echoing harmonies and Joutsen's warm, resonant clean singing. Look no further than the four-track streak of success from "A Servant" through "I Of Crimson Blood". Mesmeric, varied songs like these show the band depicting that cross of old, proggressive Amorphis and the older, melodic death Amorphis while carrying it further into its own sound. Other tracks like the inelegant opener, the overly long "Her Alone," and the monumentally boring "Enigma" are dips in this album that kill the momentum. They lack the same power and / or excitement, along with the writing that makes the rest of these songs terrific and opulent. Every song here has easy standards for hooks and choruses, so hearing songs that don't live up to that makes the album feel padded.
I love the album, but I'm not such a fanboy as to overlook its flaws. It's got spirit and the band's in the right mindset, continuing what Eclipse did while honing it to fit thematically. Those are a couple strengths, plus it's got the structure to support a collection of great songs. It's less of an outstanding album because of the tracks that take me out of the experience, but I wouldn't dismiss the core greatness here. For the same genuine heaviness and coolness of modern Amorphis, any of these later albums will do.
The second record of the new Amorphis era featuring the brilliant new singer Tomi Joutsen focuses a lot more on an emotional atmosphere as the more diversified "Eclipse". Amorphis are able to create a very melancholic mood somewhere between sadness, aggression and mystery that carries on over the full album length. The record is darker than the previous one and also heavier as growls are much more present than on the records before which could please to fans of the band's early years. But once again the band reinvented itself and created something new and addicting. This release is also one of the band's most epic releases.
The song that represents best the album is probably "The White Swan", a beautiful Finnish tale featuring a haunting and emotional chorus, amazing melody lines, soft and dreamy clean vocals as well as technically amazing growls that go straight in your face. The amazing cover artwork fits a lot two the song even if this swan is rose red. This track will really touch you.
On the other side, fans of the previous and calmer records will still find some elements of the recent past on this album. "Her Alone" and especially the calm title track "Silent Waters" is an enchanting ballad for melancholic autumn mornings and lives from its amazing vocal performance. More folk orientated calm tracks as the diversified "I Of CRimson Blood", the calm and beautiful folk ballads "Enigma" and "Shaman" or the progressive piano ballad "Black River" that closes the record on a high note remind somewhat of the middle years of the band and are able to recreate the majesty of "Tuonela" without exactly copying it as the band has evolved since and features a new singer.
The heavier tracks as the solid but not exceptional "A Servant", the modern and very floating album highlight and live favourite "Towards And Against" or the surprisingly straight opener "Weaving The Incantation" represent the other side of Amorphis. Nevertheless, the opener features already more ides in only five minutes than other bands include on entire albums. We have some sweet choirs, some almost thrash orientated riffs, a longing chorus that opposes despaired clean vocals to heavier vocals that are not exactly growls but just one step underneath this singing style. The progressive break in the middle of the song featuring some keyboard and guitar harmonies is also priceless before the song gets back to a heavier part with some growls over a strange discordant solo and a harmonious passage.
Once again, Amorphis are over the top creative. The two sides of the band, light and dark, fusion perfectly on this melancholic and intense output.
I didn't really expect that this release would beat the great previous "Eclipse" which was my first contact with this unique Finnish metal masters but from an objective point of view "Silent Waters" sounds more emotional, coherent and is still almost as diversified as the previous release. This band never ceases to surprise after all these years and this record underlines their unique status in a perfect way. There is not a single truly weak track on this record and this release will easily grow on you. I still think that records such as "Tales From The Thousand Lakes", "Am Universum" or the recent "The Beginning Of Times" have this little kick of genius that distinguishes them as nearly perfect releases from this very great record but this album is nevertheless in my top five of the band's release and quite on the same quality level as "Tuonela".
Every once in a while, a person will discover an album which will, to that particular person, be forever connected with the first time(s) he heard said album. This reality is greatly magnified if the moment of introduction to the album coincides with the music’s original evocative abilities, for example if one would buy an album which evokes autumn during the depths of that season. Such is the case for myself and Amorphis’ eighth album, Silent Waters, the second album from what may be aptly named the Amorphis Renaissance, featuring newfound vocalist Tomi Joutsen and an accompanying evolution in the totality of their sound compared to the previous few albums (the ones before Eclipse). A virtually blind purchase for me during one October day long ago turned into one of the best decisions of my life, music-wise: the discovery of Amorphis in general and this album especially.
The sound of post-Eclipse Amorphis is unique and yet surprisingly accessible, even to those with only a passing interest in metal. The band now plays a kind of melodic metal which has three main influences: at its base it’s a catchy subset of rock music mixed with the band’s old death metal days as well as hints towards the band’s historical doom influence, on the earliest records. On paper this might not be the most attractive proposition ever but it’s pulled off incredibly well, with just the right balance to make everything heavy enough as to not get boring yet melodic enough as to be very strong in the evocation of strong emotions and the creation of a profound atmosphere. This atmosphere is in itself complex, being simultaneously gloomy and depressing yet strangely, almost happy at places, like there’s a glimmer of hope for a future which would surpass the shortcomings of the present. As mentioned earlier, it also has that powerful autumn ambience because of that overall grey feeling present throughout the album, so characteristic of said season.
Silent Waters is one of those albums whose songs are very consistent and go perfectly together yet, once one listens to the album sufficiently to become familiar with it, no two songs are alike. Variation is emphasized on this album, going from the more hard-hitting beginning, made up of the duo that is Weaving the Incantation (arguably the closest the album ever gets to actual death metal) and A Servant before proceeding into the album’s mid-section, which from the title track all the way to Shaman is comprised of almost nothing but cleanly sung, melodic songs, with the notable exception of Towards And Against, a reminder of the album’s somewhat harsher beginning. The softer songs which form this middle part of the album (as well as Black River, the last track on the album) are all unique and rather slow-paced, almost ending up being several ballads in a row. That said, the highlight of the song is most certainly White Swan, a fitting reference to the album’s masterpiece of a cover and a song which alternates perfectly between Tomi Joutsen’s clean vocals during the verses and his growls during the choruses, exactly as he did on one of the previous album’s highlight songs, The Smoke. White Swan is however more complex, with constantly alternating riffs and a solo near the end, not to mention the reversal of the vocal pattern during the last chorus. Speaking of Tomi Joutsen, his performance is mind-blowing, more mature than on i>Eclipse (this is actually true of the entire band’s performance) and generally more satisfying to listen to. He can go the deepest growls and the most melodic of clean vocals with equal ease, and both are excellently balanced.
The rest of the band members are just as good, and they all work towards the high quality of this album with their instruments. The two guitarists play riffs which are, along with the vocals, the highlights of every single song, driving the music forward and making it catchy from beginning to end. The drumming is a little less remarkable in terms of technicality, but is nevertheless used to give the songs the metal edge they need, especially when it comes to the slower numbers, while the faster, more death metal-oriented tracks evidently require this element to be credible, the work being at its most technical here. All this is helped by a production job which is very clean, an approach which is perfectly suited to an album such as this, where all the elements should be heard clearly.
This all sounds perfect, and indeed up to this point it basically is. Unfortunately, the guys also the need to include a bonus track after Black River on some versions of the album; namely, Sign, which pales in comparison with every other track before it. The reason for this is that Sign is driven by a main riff which is melodic but somehow sounds… out of place, almost like a parody, a bad farce. Even Tomi Joutsen’s vocal lines are weaker than everything up until now, proving that the song itself is simply badly written and should’ve been completely left out. That said, this album is still excellent, definitely worth every penny asked for it. Amorphis are on an amazing run right now, as proven both here and on the subsequent Skyforger, a run which I dare hope will continue for a few more albums as good as these.
Of all the material Amorphis has penned in the past decade, it is Silent Waters which comes closest in style to their monumental Elegy, narrowing in lyrically on a particular chapter of the Kalevala folk epic and reaching deep into the band's arsenal of riffs to create a memorable crusher that should please fans of that 1996 effort. About the only major difference would be that Tomi Joutsen now gives voice to the poetry as opposed to Pasi Koskinen, and that a few tunes on the latter half of the album drag it down just a little from the perfect heights it would otherwise have scaled. Like the previous album Eclipse, the production work for this record is breathtaking, also recalling the glories of Elegy, and the writing is diverse, making good on all the band's diverse strengths.
"Weaving the Incantation" is a mug-swilling pummeler, weaving the archaic folk/death of Tales from the Thousand Lakes into some subtle female backing vocals and delightful melodies that ramble off across a field of acoustic guitars. The execution of the vocals is perfect, Joutsen may have been wetting his feet with Eclipse but here his delivery is so fluid that you wonder how there was ever a band before he arrived. "A Servant" gallops along at a hammer pace with more of the solemn melodic lines, Joutsen's growls echoing across the hills and heavens in triumphant confidence, while "Silent Waters" begins in a memorable flow of piano that transforms into a slow bludgeoning below clean vocals, and then the killer thick rasberry jam of the curving riff at :50. "Towards and Against" opens with an electronic pulse as the mystical Tuonela-like guitar patterns conjoin with the vocals into another AMAZING riff that chugs along below the melody before the minute mark, and later blowing into a soaring chorus vocal, proving it is one of the best tracks on the album.
By stone-shoed wanderer I am taught
my visions from fiery eyed iron-armed chanter
I know how to fight, I know how to sing
I know how to bend, I know how to break
"I of Crimson Blood" is slow to rise, but lose yourself to its shining, sanguine rivers of piano and acoustic flourish and it does engross. "Her Alone" is around 6 minutes, and feels similar to the previous track, but does features a few worthwhile vocal lines and builds a pretty solid architecture of sorrow and melody. Then the band adds "Enigma", an acoustic piece with some finely layered vocals, reminding a little of Midnight Oil's more lavish acoustic tracks. After these three tracks, the album could have used a stormer, but instead there is "Shaman", which, while cast in the Elegy mold, doesn't have much of a payoff. "The White Swan" is very evocative, with tiny melodies of both keyboard and guitar fluttering through the verse and a raging chorus slathered in growls. "Black River" is another of the slower, calming songs that dominate this half of the record, and not one of the best on the album, but the bonus track "Sign" (from the Silent Waters CD-single) does kick some ass, and I am glad it was included on the album, with its surging mysteries and powerful guitar line.
Silent Waters is a lot to write home about, an extremely pleasing effort that solidifies Amorphis' return to their prior selves, a band which could balance power and grace on the tip of its tongue. The mesh of folk, death, doom, and progressive rock here may not feel as novel as it did in 1996, but had this been released as Elegy Part II, I would not have been surprised at all. Their experimentation into a lighter sound (1999-2003) was now well past midnight, and for the better. If I were to recommend anything to a newcomer to this band, it would remain Tales from the Thousand Lakes and Elegy. But after that (and assuming you don't want to dive right back to their heavy roots in The Karelian Isthmus), Silent Waters is a very safe bet. There are 2-3 skippable songs, not bad in their own right, but not on par with everything else on the disc, but barring those you've still got 30-35 minutes of prime Amorphis.
Highlights: Weaving the Incantation, Silent Waters, Towards and Against, The White Swan
Prior to this, I hadn’t heard any Amorphis albums in their entirety and I certainly am not someone who only digs their deathy material. In fact, the few snippets I heard were rather boring, plagued with too many annoyances and “strayed from the path” or so to speak. It’s as if they wanted to do this kind of deliberately inoffensive, sappy and easily accessible modern metal all along their careers. I am thankful though, as albums like this are testaments to their true intentions…
Sometimes, their old self tries to gain foothold in the form of a hollow growl and forced aggression, which puzzles me greatly. Why can’t they stick to the mellow stuff, since that’s what garners most of their popularity these days? Is it because the youthful masses unconsciously demand a certain level of danger and aggression in their music? Or is it because they have no coherency in terms of songwriting like Opeth? Even if they did stick to the mellower stuff as I said, they would still drown in the endless sea of urine that is the Finnish metal scene these days. I’m listening to the more aggressive songs here and can’t help but wonder why they’re still crammed with those annoying, at times even gothy and delightfully typical Finnish clean vocals.
"Towards and Against" rises up above others with its incredibly awkward electronic intro melody, which is soon joined by basic instruments, but the melody is still kept underneath (fortunately they drop it quickly). Still, why was that done like it was here? I realize this is just a minor pet peeve, but it sounds like the songwriter was just fucking around, knowing that this kind of thing would just get shrugged off by the fans. It reminds of someone who said that Mike Patton could release an album full of (perhaps rhythmic) farting noises and his followers would just pass it off as experimenting. Why didn’t they replace this fuck-up with one of those Nightwish-esque piano melodies they seem to be so fond of? It would’ve sucked much less in this case. Apart from the aforementioned song, the keyboards are incorporated to the songs rather well. Indeed, they raise the already pleasant and lukewarm atmosphere to the height where bodily fluids turn into sugary syrup. In that respect, the songwriting has succeeded in delivering the goods. Or has it?
The part that offends me the most here is the string section. Utterly lead guitar based and “we’re trying to please your little ear as much as we can” in their delivery, some of the slower “riffs” remind me of Swallow the Sun (which itself is bad) in a bad way. Ironically enough, during choruses the mix of instruments combined with the shrill production of guitars turns everything into a mush, which is anything but easy on the ears. If someone gave me a rough description of this album as a whole, I’d be expecting to hear contemplative and melancholic guitarwork. Instead, I get riffs and solos that sound very uplifting and apologistic, which sort of goes against the whole theme of the album. I suppose that’s one part of the acoustic “folk” strumming that is also so prominent on this album, eh? Add repetition and almost recycled themes and delivery for each song and we have a stinker.
"Weaving the Incantation", which is the most tolerable song here, features a riff that isn’t instantly forgettable, and even that is soon obscured by a mess of a chorus and the other songs to come. How cunning, put the song that stinks the least as the first song and then continue accordingly, shoveling increasing amounts of excrement on my face while I try to find something that resembles actual talent.
I feel there is no need for me to mention rhythmic instruments other than this short paragraph. They don’t steal the attention, their presence is not buried within the mix and they complement the other instruments like they should. In short, they get the job done. Nothing awe-inspiring or anything that resembles pointless technicality. I can’t lash at them for being so bland either, since well, there is no other way that they could be arranged in this record. How else are you supposed to complement as bad music as this?
The waters better not stay silent after this, or "Skyforger" will be another exercise in this horrid style.
Everyone who knows Amorphis knows of the masterpiece Tales of the Thousand Lakes. That album has been at the top of all Amorphis albums. Until now. After Tales of the Thousand Lakes, Amorphis kind of went into a slump with a couple of mediocre albums. Then in 2006 when they released Eclipse i got some hope back, but with this album my faith has completely been restored in this band. This album amazing. Silent Waters goes back to the Death/Doom/Progressive Metal (not really on the Doom side) style displayed on Tales of the Thousand Lakes, but also adds elements of Folk and Gothic Metal too. Prepare yourselves for what is probably the best album of 2007.
The vocalist for Amorphis is named Tomi Joutsen and i'll tell you what, he gives Mikael Akerfeldt a run for his money on this album. Weaving the Incantation starts off with a great death growl by Tomi and a very heavy riff and you might think you're in for a full on Death Metal album. But as the song goes a little longer, in comes Tomi's amazing clean vocals. His clean vocals are more on this side of something you would hear from a Gothic Metal band. The vocals throughout this album are a mixture of the death growls and the clean vocals. Tomi's voice is either extremely menacing or extremely beautiful.
The guitars are definitely on the melodic side on this album. As i stated earlier, the first song starts off with a pretty heavy riff, but after that the riffs are mostly all very melodic. There is also a pretty heavy use of the acoustic guitars on this album on songs like Enigma, Shaman, and Black River. The acoustic guitars are played extremely well. They're not John Zwetsloot good, but they make it sound great. Now i dont know if its just me, but i dont really hear bass on any albums that i listen to. I dont know why, but it seems like i never hear it. It might just be because im not looking for it. Drums on this album are pretty simple. No blast beats or any fast stuff like that, but it definitely keeps the pace of the album very well. The keyboards are played very well too. You're not going to hear any keyboard solos like you do in Children of Bodom, but in Towards and Against there is a sort of industrial atmosphere that the keyboards create.
All in all this album is amazing. Not one bad moment throughout this entire album. If you like bands like Opeth or Cynic, you're definitely going to want to check this out. Some songs such as Weaving the Incantation, A Servant, Towards and Against, and The White Swan show off the Death Metal side of Amorphis and mix it with the progressive side. Other songs like Silent Waters, I of Crimson Blood, Her Alone, and Black River are almost completely on the Progressive Metal side. Then songs like Enigma and Shaman are nice acoustic Folk songs.
Finnish metallers Amorphis are notorious for changing their sound over the years. Initially beginning with a unique death doom metal with melodic additions, the band evolved into a melodic metal band with many elements of contemporary rock comfortably integrated into their sound. Despite the dissolving effect it had on its fanbase, Amorphis continued to release solid enjoyable albums.
Silent Waters is another stage in their doom metal digression. Although this album is notably more metal and heavier than past albums, this evolution could have been expected, looking closely as their 2006 effort Eclipse. The opening track ‘Weaving The Incantation’ is arguably the best on Silent Waters. The guitar has a progressive sound to it; an Opeth influence can be detected. Couple with growls and a convincing atmosphere, this song is utterly convincing in its nature.
Towards the middle of the album, it lags a little, slowly retracing the footprints of Eclipse, losing its metal edge. The clean vocals are rather varied, which is a positive aspect, yet the variation itself is sometimes for the worst. For example, the shouted vocals on ‘Towards And Against’ do not suit the music of Amorphis and act as an aggravating distraction and when the clean vocals fail to inject enough emotion, they come off as bland or average, as heard on ‘The White Swan’.
This album, like a lot of Amorphis’ work is based on something typically and unique to Finland: the national epic the ‘Kalevala’. ‘Enigma’ is an acoustic track that feels like homage to Finland’s heritage and an enjoyable warming song too. This album should be picked up by all fans of melodic metal, especially Amorphis fans that have been diverted by their rock influence.
Originally written for www.rockbeast.co.uk
Amorphis have always lived up to their name in that they rarely stick to one distinctive style and often change their sound with every album. However, in my opinion, they have never failed to deliver quality music with every release. Their latest effort, Silent Waters, travels somewhere back to their roots and re-explores some darker and heavier territory not present on other recent expeditions.
This album doesn’t break any new ground, per se, but instead it fuses all the different sounds from every past album. This is something many long standing bands don’t do, or at least not as well as Amorphis have. One could argue that Eclipse was their comeback album. But I am of the opinion that Silent Waters took everything Eclipse had and took it to the next level, making a more solid release all around.
Opener, Weaving The Incantation sets a nice pace for the album, a good blend of things to come. This means that it displays both melodic harmonies as well as crushing heaviness. It’s nice to hear new vocalist Joutsen use more death growls on this album, as they were sparse on 2006’s Eclipse. Things keep heavy with A Servant but slow way down with the title track and single. This is a great song, piano, awesome guitar melodies, and excellent clean vocals. Bringing fans back to the Tuonela days. Towards And Against is my favourite song on the album. It is a simply massive tune with a catchy chorus, switching tempos from dark and haunting to heavy and devastating.
Amorphis have achieved a very dark atmosphere with this album. One that we haven’t seen since perhaps as far back as Tales From The Thousand Lakes. This isn’t to say Silent Waters Sounds like Thousand Lakes, but it is their heaviest since Elegy, if that’s what you’re into. Amorphis achieve this atmosphere with excellent piano use, and a range of vocal styles.
Ever since Pasi Koskinen left the band after their worst album in ‘03 there has been much discussion about his replacement. Quite frankly, I find Joutsen a much more capable vocalist. His transitions between singing and death growls are both effortless and flawless as are the executions of both. Definitely one of my favourite vocalists and also my favourite hair!
If you are a fan of anything Amorphis have done, I don’t see how this could disappoint you. Silent Waters is another huge highlight of 2007.
Gang, I'm proud to announce that Amorphis, after all these years, all these line-up changes and all these decent-to-excellent-to-classic releases, are still going strong in 2007.
Arguably, the early albums belong in the classic category I was talking about. It's undeniably one of the 10 death metal bands a newcomer should check out and score some for his/her collection. It's also common knowledge that Karelian Isthumus and the EP Privelege of Evil are definite must-haves when it comes to the death metal and doom-death genres. The band, though gradually and steadily, started incorporating progressive, folk and at times even floydian elements into its music. Clean vocals started to take centre-stage leaving the erstwhile death growls to occasional musical peaks. Amorphis kept changing, no, evolving but kept on with their stunning spree of releasing great albums. By the time they released "Am Universum" in 2001, Amorphis had incorporated genuine saxophone in their music. About five songs on the album, correct me if I'm wrong here, featured sax solos. I was quite happy with the results because it worked and we got yet another solid album by this band.
All seemed to have gone wrong with "Far from the sun" though. Their weakest album by far, till date, and the vocalist Pasi Koskinen would soon after leave. Fast forward to 2006 and with "Eclipse", Amorphis signaled out that they haven't lost it yet. The new vocalist Tomi Joutsen fit the band to the T, pun not intended. But seriously, sigh of relief for a long time fan in me. Fast forward again to right fucking now and Amorphis just blows away the last few albums they've put out with the really well produced "Silent Waters".
Lyrically, it is yet again a translated excerpt from the Finnish epic Kalavela. Musically though, Holopainen and Co seem to have figured out a formula where all their (I did say all) ideas so far (and I did say so far) can fit comfortably within the premise of a single album and at times even a single song. You have growls that kicks off the album on a heavy note and returning every now and then, those signature Amorphis delay laden metronome-y clean guitar riff thingies rearing its head once in a while, a lot more folky ideas throughout, loads of piano, keyboards and even a moog solo, Tomi's vocals with more versatility than on "Eclipse", a lot more guitar solos and a lot of acoustic guitars too. While on topic about acoustic guitars, in fact I would like to see an all-acoustic album from them. I loved the acoustic version of "My Kantele" especially and I love it whenever these guys go acoustic/clean so you never know, they might actually better Green Carnation's "Acoustic Verses" or Opeth's "Damnation", both acoustic-perfection-by-metal-bands in my books. Back to "Silent Waters", this is their latest evolution. They don't try out anything new like in the albums so far in their career but they've blended all their sounds together on a single goddamned motherfucker of a release and in doing so, have evolved a bit more in the songwriting department.
Fans are going to be happy. Fans of their old sound will definitely find something for them on this release more than anything in recent times. Metalheads who're not at all familiar with this band (are you for real?) and are willing to listen with an open mind should definitely check this album out and go discovering their other albums depending upon what elements of this they like more.
This is a 4/5-er for sure. You know, not a masterpiece but still pretty fucking great.
First off, because it is obviously the most important thing there is to be said about the new Amorphis: The cover art gets babes. Yes it does. I was stopped twice in the store by curious babe-a-licious passerby who liked the shiny and pretty digipack cover and wanted to see more. Neither encounter went anywhere, but I knew I had something special on my hands, before I even had a chance to pay for it. The most chick-magnet metal cover since uh...that Man o' War one, with the dudes all loin-clothed out...yeah, all, like, zillion of 'em.
But is the promising outer shell of beauty as sexy on the inside as 'tis on the outside? You bet your sweet bippies it is. Silent Water picks up somewhere in betwixt where Elegy left off and Eclipse began. I have nothing against Amorphis's middle-chapter, but by all means, this is the album that should have come between the two aforementioned. It's got all the folk ethnicity of Elegy (with none of the repetition) and most of the heaviness found on Eclipse, all mushed together into one beautiful spicy metal meatball. Yummy.
It only takes a few seconds before Tomi Joutsen lets you know that his brutal (for Amorphis, anway) vocals on Eclipse were no fluke. He roars and he growls, he croons and he soars. And although he is track by track getting more and more remniscent of his predecessor, he is by far the superior of the Amorphis vocalists.
Anyone who missed the overt funky folk of recent Amorphis, which was absent on a good deal of Eclipse (usually for good reasons), well, fear not...It's back, in fuller force than it's ever been. It's amazing how these dudes manage to make almost dancy electronic folk beats sound so quaint and earthy. That's probably the greatest testament to Amorphis', a band whose name is as appropo as band names get, song writing talents. They combine the ancient with the modern while allowing neither to deteriorate or become water down. If anything, the myriad styles complement each other and bring out rich musical colors which would perhaps be otherwise dull and unnoticeable.
One more thing that deserves a respectful mention is how Amorphis' lyrics have grown with each release. Grammatical blunders and botched idioms have become increasingly less present throughout the bands' career, to the point where they are virtually non-existent at this point. It's nice to see a group of dudes who are obviously not the keenest English speakers at least make the effort to get the language they sing in correct. Much appreciation and respect, dudes.
Only a year after "Eclipse", which for me was the most surprising album of the year, Amorphis are back with their newest offering "Silent Waters". Title aside, Amorphis are definitely not silent. This album takes everything that was good about "Eclipse" and cranks it up a notch, improving on an already solid formula.
The album kicks off with "Weaving the Incantation", an awesome title that, after a short intro, gets straight to the point with heavy guitars, sinister sounding keys, and death metal vocals. "A Servant" continues in the same vein and is an almost entirely death metal track, which is of course always nice to see. Joutsen alternates between clean and death vocals very nicely as always, and is able to find a happy medium between heavy and melodic.
One thing that is never lacking in an Amorphis album is powerful choruses, and this album is no different. The title track, "Her Alone", and "The White Swan" are the best examples of this and will lift your spirits even if they don't need lifting.
The album is backed by a nice array of instruments too (of course) with squealing guitars, often times bombastic drums, and a nice solid wall of bass. The occasional acoustic passage is also very nice in "Enigma" and "Shaman" which keeps things fresh. One song even features a string instrument that I can't rightly identify that verges on sounding oriental, even in the mix of guitars and vocals. Another thing worth mentioning is the keys kind of take a back seat for most of this album. While they are certainly still present for some songs, the guitars do most of the work, giving the album an overall more heavy impression.
In addition to the Amorphis formula, a few twists have been added in to the mix to spice things up a bit. While definitely nothing huge or experimental, "Towards and Against" features an electronic intro that I was most certainly not expecting for some reason. There's also small choir work and some very nice vocal harmonizing.
Overall I would recommend this album to any Amorphis fan old or new. If you're a fan of melodic metal with an ever so small folk twist, this album is for you.
Stan out tracks: Weaving the Incantation, The White Swan, Silent Waters, Sign.
To write music, a person (or a collective) sits down with a weapon in hand, experiments a little, reverses to the beginning of the process whenever things are going badly, and makes sure to note everything special that results from these trials. But, for all the work that is done in constructing a work of art, nothing compares to the work done in building the foundation for it. In the case of Silent Waters, Amorphis was aiming to continue the sound established with Eclipse, only in a darker vein. Their vision was one of grandeur, one that didn’t need to take many chances, but that, once completed, delivered everything it promised to.
It has been said that the songs on Silent Waters were basically Eclipse b-sides, which, despite being demeaning, is probably true. These songs are cut from the same cloth as the songs that came before them, and I wouldn’t be surprised if many of them were left over from the previous Amorphis album because both were released within a year of eachother. They are brothers in the truest sense, and as the band has alluded to on multiple occasions, they are a part of a trilogy that will be finished soon. Who knows where they’ll go after this chapter in their career, the band featuring arguably their strongest lineup ever, and certainly their strongest vocalist?
I cannot stress just how great Tomi Joutsen is on this disc. He’s been good elsewhere, but here he’s found his niche, and pulls out all the stops. On “The White Swan”, he’s ferocious, whereas on “Enigma”, he sounds like the most haunting of folk singers, his deep voice overpowering the glorious acoustic work layered underneath. I can’t help but think how good the early Amorphis albums would’ve sounded with him at the helm, because as good as those records were, Pasi Koskinen performed on a decidedly average level too often. Joutsen would’ve owned those recordings, no doubt.
The album’s cover art is one of the most gorgeous I’ve seen. Here’s a pink flaswango in the middle of a sickled dusk, its pink feathers the only bright spot in an otherwise bleak setting. You could say that the image is symbolic of the album as a whole, because even though all of these compositions are dark, they are home to moments of warmth as well. I’d argue that, although the record is undoubtedly their bleakest since Tales from the Thousand Lakes, it has more somber moments than anything else they’ve done in their career.
The only problem with the album is that it’s devoid of obvious stand-outs. It’s ruthlessly consistent, which is an undeniable positive, but unlike “Divinity” on Tuonela or “Veil of Sin” on Am Universum, there’s nothing that jumps out at you and pushes the record over-the-edge. Even on Eclipse, there were songs like “Two Moons” and “The Smoke” that you found yourself listening to more than anything else. Here, although “Towards and Against” and “I of Crimson Blood” come close, they miss the mark.
An invalid criticism of the record that I’ve read is that it’s too simple. It’s too straight-forward, some have said. Even though it is indeed simple, I don’t see why that’s a bad thing. What matters are its melodies, which hold up against any melodies by any other band writing today, regardless of genre. And, when you take the lush instruments driving every composition into account, you’re left with one of the most dense metal releases in recent memory. I look forward to whatever small step forward follows Silent Waters, because although I’m not sure it built on Eclipse, it was a worthy successor. And being worthy of an effort that good is no small vision to aspire to.
Well, Amorphis have finally done it. They have created an album that stands strongly alongside Tales from the Thousand Lakes as their greatest achievement. Eclipse was an excellent album that truly reinvigorated the band with the addition of Tomi Joutsen, but Silent Waters is simply stunning.
The album starts of with a powerful and dark riff accompanied by death growls with 'Weaving the Incantation', and the song brilliantly combines death metal, heavy metal, folk and rock into one cohesive piece. "A Servant" is next, and what we have here is basically a great melodic death metal song (with clean vocals added to the chorus) complete with double bass drumming and a great solo section. It contains a beautiful lead guitar melody played by Esa. These first two songs contain strong influences from Tales and Elegy. 'Silent Waters is next, more mellow with a piano intro and some very emotional and beautiful vocals over the verse. The song does become powerful and heavy during the bridge and chorus however. 'Towards and Against' begins with a strange keyboard tone before launching into another agressive, metal driven riff with more death vocals. 'I Of Crimson Blood' begins a section of the album where the focus becomes melancholy and atmosphere as opposed to heaviness. It contains an amazing, epic chorus that is very heavy, but the rest of the song is fairly mellow with a lot of nice work on the keyboards. 'Her Alone' also begins quite calmly, moving into a very emotional chorus and a heavy chugging riff on the guitars following that. Next is the acoustic piece entitled 'Enigma'. Absolutely beautifully played and another great vocal performance by Tomi, layering multiple harmonies over the main chorus and mixing different vocal lines over one another over the outro of the song. 'Shaman begins acoustically and Amorphis trick you into thinking it will be another mellow song like the one before, but it soon is rocking like the first half of the album with one of the best choruses on the album with more double bass drumming. 'White Swan' is another powerful piece, beginning with a Tuonela like section before becoming heavy and haunting. The chorus combines a bewitching piano melody, a dark chord pattern, and the vocals go from death to the more gruff metal style halfway through. It also contains a great guitar solo with key changes and a nice walking bassline in the background. 'Black River' is a fitting close for the album, containing several elements from the whole album (acoustic sections, mellow piano verses, heavy bridges and some very epic and fitting guitar solos). It is a melancholic, atmospheric and epic way to end the album and works beautifully.
Basically you will see that the first half of the album contians most of the death vocals and straight heaviness, while the second half tends more towards the melancholic/atmospheric side of the band (even in the heavier songs on the second half such as 'Shaman' and 'White Swan' this melancholy atmosphere is still very strong, marrying the first half of the album with second half). While it is similar to Eclipse in a certain way it is also very different, largely due to the increased use of acoustic guitars (even in the background on the very heavy tracks), a darker and more melancholic tone, and the best vocal performance ever on an Amorphis album. Joutsen has really taken it to a new level on his second album with the band, and whether it be the amazing and powerful death growls (listen to 'A Servant' for the sickest gorwl ever on an Amorphis album), his regular gruff metal voice (which is often accompanied with harmonies and the growl in the background on choruses), or his very serene and clean tone displayed on the verse of 'Silent Waters' and songs like 'I of Crimson Blood' and 'Her Alone', he simply sounds stunning. A powerful, dark, melancholic, and extremely diverse journey that has been expertly crafted and arranged (in terms of the
order of the tracks) and will take you from melodic death metal to acoustic folk music and everything in between.
I want to love this album. Why? Since the year 1996, when I turned 13 years old and got “Elegy” as a birthday present by my brother, Amorphis as a band has been a sign of success for me. While they let the music slip a little with the albums between, it was last years “Eclipse” which raised the band to their highest peak music-wise so far. Here I sit on my bed, spinning through “Silent Waters” for the 10th or 11th time, and I can’t but feel a little bit sad about the fact that it’s not exactly what I hoped for. Maybe it’s because they released a new album so soon after last years masterpiece, but this is not a good release as such. The content doesn’t stray far from “Eclipse”. It’s in the same sport, but not the same league. While the album may sound pretty much equal judging from the production and mixing matters, this one is simply weaker in structure.
What we’ve got is basically three very good songs, two okay, and six totally worthless pieces of shit (counting the bonus track “Sign”, which fits best into the last category). That’s it. While the six fuck-ups may or may not contain good or bad parts, I will simply call them “shit”, because I do not like them one bit. “Weaving the Incantation” starts the album off in an old-fashioned way. Merciless guitars, powerfully executed vocals and a sad chorus turn it into a good track. Very good actually. The main guitar melody in the chorus mixed with the perfection of Mr. Joutsen’s clean vocals makes the sad themed listening process hard to pass through without shedding a tear. It’s reminiscent of their earlier works, and it sure gets your hopes up for nothing. “A servant” is shit! It tries to be catchy, but comes out rather dull and bland. Joutsen tries to sound more like a tough guy than a harmonic singer, the solo guitar makes up very weak melodies along the way, and the whole thing is a disaster. The title-track does very little to heighten the mood, but it’s still a lot better than the abomination that is “A servant”. A slow tune was probably needed here anyway, but it lacks the extra something Amorphis usually deliver with style. “Towards and against” features really good parts, which reminds one of action movies. The theme works, it’s new and refreshing as well as challenging for the listener. This is something not all fans will appreciate, but I for one think it’s great. The worst streak has to be in the middle of the record, when four slow tracks in a row drags your listening innovation down to sub zero. From the first second of “I of crimson blood” to the last chord of “Shaman” I find myself in disgust. The only exception is “Enigma” which actually tries to sound more like Blind Guardian than is necessary, but brings something to my ears I can’t resist but to call “good”. “The White Swan” is hands down the best song on the album. This brings out the emotion and dedication the guys in Amorphis are known for. As they show us; beautiful melodies, morose vocal lines, and an uplifting atmosphere are the ingredients to perfection. The joy ends here, though. “Black river” is totally unnecessary; they should’ve left this one out. It is way out of place since it doesn’t really do anything, and should be considered as filler.
The statement I made in the beginning of this review quickly turns into a question mark. I wanted to love this album? Now most of you should know why I don’t. As sad as I may be that my idols didn’t release another magnum opus, I’m glad it at least exists. I wouldn’t want them to quit just yet. Three good songs out of eleven is better than no songs at all when it comes to a band like this. Don’t buy this album though. It lacks the consistency of “Eclipse”, the melodies to die for of “Elegy”, the folkish aspects of “Tales…”, the progression of “Am Universum” and the continual charm of “Tuonela”. Come to think of it, hadn’t “Far from the sun” existed, I would regard this one as Amorphis’ weakest album yet. But remember, the three good songs are really good, find them, get them, listen to them and embrace the fact that Amorphis isn’t out of the game. It’s hopefully just a phase that will pass ‘til the next album.
Amorphis made history with “Tales From the Thousand Lakes”. It was perfection, the epitome of diverse metal. Since then, a lot of stuff has happened, most importantly, they’ve switched vocalists; Pasi Koskinen left, Tomi Joutsen came in.
“Silent Waters” is the album, at least to my mind, that all Amorphis fans were expecting since 2006. Fuck, this is the album I’ve been waiting for since 2001. I can’t pinpoint exactly what it is that makes me love this album so much, especially in comparison to the previous one. It might be the fact that Tomi is singing his ass off, a lot more comfortable with the band’s sound and showing off all his versatility. The vocal lines and performance alone deserve a perfect 100% here, and that’s saying something. Great mix of growls and clean vocals.
“A Servant”, for instance, which is the second track on this album… It’s absolutely gorgeous. A lot of melodies that remind me of “Tales..” and the better moments of “Tuonela”.
While “Eclipse” showed the band going back to its heavier moments left behind in the Pasi days, “Silent Waters“continues down that path, with the exception that the more soothing, melodic moments are amazingly haunting and appropriate. The title track is the perfect example of this, as well as the beautiful “I of Crimson Blood”.
“Her Alone” is godly, with a folksy violin playing along with the guitar harmonies. “Enigma” also treads that folk path, an acoustic refreshing moment that will anticipate the equally compelling “Shaman”.
Did you happen to notice how many times I mentioned the word “perfect” in this review? That’s not lack of vocabulary, my friends (although one could make that argument). Sometimes a band simply does achieve that. Perfection!
The cover: It’s a red swan in a very cool black and gray background. Awesome!!!