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Simple Enjoyment - 73%

Razakel, June 12th, 2009

Far From the Sun is Amorphis’ last full length album with Pasi Koskinen as their vocalist and, in that sense, it’s an end of an era, and also a bit of an anticlimax. While this certainly isn’t a bad album, it’s not as original or imaginative as their past few releases. It sort of sounds like a band whose creativity is slowly starting to wind down as they become a bit tired of what they are doing.

There are several exceptional moments on Far From the Sun, which actually make it somewhat frustrating to listen to because it’s clear that the potential was there for this to be a masterpiece. The opening track, Day of Your Beliefs, for example, is an incredibly strong track. It opens with a melodic intro with folk aspects reminiscent of the Elegy days, before thundering into a very catchy, very energetic rock anthem that sounds like a highlight off of Am Universum. It’s too bad that Amorphis blew their load too quickly on this one, because nothing else is able to compare to the opener. Still, there are interesting moments to be found. Planetary Misfortune has a great chorus and a very nice interlude with some strange, yet captivating middle eastern instruments. Evil Inside was the single off of this one, but I must say it doesn’t really do much for me. It’s undoubtedly catchy, but it just comes off as a very standard rock single with nothing really there that Amorphis have made their own. The title track, a very nice relaxing ballad, succeeds in bringing some diverse and appealing flavour to the overall mix.

Diversity is really what saves this album from being boring. Some songs aren’t as interesting as others, but at least they are different sounding enough to avoid repetition; a plague that claims too many albums with potential. Because all of the instruments are performed well, none really stand out, to me at least. The piano is a highlight at times, such as on the closer, Smithereens. One thing that did somewhat disappoint me was Pasi. I love his vocal style, but he didn’t really click this time around. He sounds a bit tired and uninspired; certainly not performing with the same passion he did on the three previous albums he recorded with this band. Still, his lack of enthusiasm isn’t too detrimental to the overall sound.

Far From the Sun is not as strong as most Amorphis releases, but Amorphis have never released a poor album. It’s fairly more subdued than past albums, but definitely enjoyable and worth listening to. I would recommend this to anyone who is a fan of Amorphis’ mid-era, or anyone looking for a good, diverse rock album in general.