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Unlimited Heights - 93%

OzzyApu, May 1st, 2013

Every other Amorphis album since Eclipse has impressed me more than the one that came before it. Silent Waters and The Beginning Of Times don't stack up to Skyforger and Circle. The cohesion, flow, and zest on here signifies a re-rejuvenated band. Many times on here am I reminded of Insomnium in terms of that immense lead guitar angle, gracefully executed here by Esa Holopainen. His (at times) spacey, colossal delivery maintains the band's vast scope and Skyforger's larger-than-life appeal. Put him up with the album's beefy, rich production and that means a heavier, chunkier offering (the bass support on this is weighty like globs of sludge).

To get the bad out of the way, "My Sun" is disjointed with its verses and choruses. It doesn't have the same impact or structure to make it sound like one unforgettable, organized song. Other than that one dip, Skyforger is a remarkable album. It's got the humbleness of Amorphis' clean, modern sound and the uplifting, lighter tone that keeps it from getting too coarse. It's got maybe one song that adopts of death metal influence, "Majestic Beast". This one's (Ghost Reveries) Opeth-heavy with the proggy keys, riff-style, and deep, demonic growling while still maintaining its own identity. Joutsen's growling is throughout the album, but it's at its most authoritative and intimidating on this one song. Joutsen's affectionate, plush, profound cleans are much more prominent.

Going with the fatter production, the bass and drums are powerful. Hear a song like "Course Of Fate" slam at the start with its meaty bass lines, crashing drums, and the colossal riffs. Others like "Sampo" take their time to build up to a climax, unleashing wave after wave of carefully interwoven clean vocals, guitar harmonies, and lurid keys. "From The Heaven Of My Heart" is the same with its memorable keyboard melody and Joutsen's far-reaching cleans profuse with passion. Other times it's the straightforward style that maintains supremacy, like with "Sky Is Mine" (Esa's echoing harmony reminds me of the one in “Under A Soil And Black Stone" off Eclipse) and my album-favorite, "Silver Bride". Both of these songs are hit-material, with "Silver Bride" being Skyforger's peak in terms of intensity, emotion, and tremendous leads, verses, and choruses.

Amorphis is one of my favorite bands because of albums just like this one. It's got professional presentation and carries itself glowingly. Performances from everyone in the band are highlighted and it's got appropriate production to back it up. It can be a grower at first, but that means it's worth will also grow with it. For a somewhat lighter, elevating Amorphis, Skyforger's definitely the thing that'll capture your attention.