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Storming the silent waters. - 10%

Vipunen, April 6th, 2009

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.