Lights years away in terms of depth, emotion and intelligence from the current flush (HIM, The Rasmus, Children Of Bodom, Stratovarius, Divinefire and lots more) of rock and metal bands emanating from Finland, Amorphis continue to grow as one of the finest metal bands on earth. They are so utterly brilliant at creating dark, brooding music that is compelling and thoughtful yet exhilarating as all good metal should be.
Jan Rechberger and Esa Holopainen formed the core of the band in 1990 when the explosion of death metal bands from European soil was touching its zenith. Over the years and a few albums on (and with members arriving and going along the way), they have developed from a being typical death metal to a more commercial and melodic band while retaining loyalty to their earlier roots.
With Eclipse as an example, Amorphis derive influences from the deep progressive bands of the seventies and classic metal bands like Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and Venom as well as modern metal bands. Their influences and passion are not only for classic rock music: they are also known for using the Finnish national epic of mythology the Kalevala as a source of influence for their lyrics, as well as ancient Finnish mythology, eulogies and fairy tales.
Eclipse is straightforward, but is at times breathtaking in its size. It barely lasts half an hour but its sheer girth is apparent, making the whole stimulating ride an exhaustive one. Born From Fire, one of the more complex tracks on the album, is a brilliantly melodic track that doesn’t stop for lack of stamina. Far from being one-dimensional, Eclipse has songs like Under A Soil And Black Stone to illustrate Amorphis’ maturity and emotional depth.
Perkele (The God Of Fire) shows that the six-piece have not lost their deadly bite with an ear piecing song. The Smoke is on fire with its growling vocals and alluring riff. Two Moons is a deep, atmospheric tune and the perfect opening tracking bringing the listener into this haunted house of horror and excitement. Same Flesh is an ambient song with its chases in tone that creep up on but manage to keep you enthralled. Brother Moon opens slowly but crashes into a frenzy of riffs, drums and bass. Whole Empty Opening is the perfect closer – hard, throaty and powerful.
For a standard tracking listing of ten songs, Amorphis have composed an exemplary album that should rightly gain them more reverence and credibility than they already have bestowed upon them legions of admirers and metal enthusiasts.
After more than a decade as pioneers of Finnish metal, they’re at the top of their game and could be there for a while yet. Brilliant.