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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.