Amorphis is one of those bands that I will always hold dear to my heart. Many of the Amorphis fanboys bitch about how they shifted from a more melodic death-doom approach to an almost psychedelic 70's progressive sound (with occasional death overtones).Much to the dismay of the fanboys, however, Amorphis continue to evolve as a musical entity and Eclipse is their greatest offering yet.
Eclipse is a disc which mixes the death-doom parts of Tales from the Thousand Lakes and the mellow, more "trippy" parts from Tuonela and has created a new face for Amorphis. I tend to think it is the best of both worlds.
However, the real secret weapon is new vocalist Tomi Joutsen. To say that Joutsen is amazing is an understatement. This man can do amazing death roars (yes, I said roars) as well as sing his heart out melodically. Every song contains vocals performed with the utmost passion and eloquence. Joutsen is truly an inspiration for aspiring metal vocalists today.
The songs themselves are amazing and sonically diverse. "House of Sleep" was the first single off of this album, and many jumped to conclusions of this band "trying to sound like H.I.M" and "selling out".
Well, they can shove it. "House of Sleep" is one of the best (if not THE best) songs released in 2006. An infectious lead guitar melody, somber and aching vocals, emotional lyrics, and a GREAT piano solo near the end all make this song quite an epic, even if it only runs for just as long as any regular single that one would hear on the radio. This is the beauty of Amorphis; they can fit all sorts of styles into one song, and not have it come out as garbage. Even such short phrases on this song, such as "Sleep is a house, for lovers" come across as raw and poetic, and not sap-laden drivel that Finland's "other" band likes to come up with.
And that is just one song! The rest of the album is just as majestic, however. "Leaves Scar" is the first song on the album where the death vocals are really prevalent, but in Amorphis (or at least Amorphis under the vocal reins of Joutsen) they are not harsh and overbearing, per se. They just seem to add to the already passionate atmosphere this band seems to conjure up naturally. The next track after that, "Born From Fire" has this almost positive "awakening" essence to it ("I have a mind, a good memory, here's how my life begins, I wasn't born from a woman's thighs, but from fire") that is not fully realized till the second chorus when Joutsen defiantly proclaims "On the day I was born, they denied my rights, even the right to die !"
However, the album's true genius and power is revealed with the epic song "Brother Moon". When I mean epic, I do not mean "epic" in the sense of Lord of the Rings/ Star Wars sort of nonsense. No
I mean epic in the sense of lifting and expanding one's soul to places that were previously thought to be unattainable. Successfully mixing folk music and rock music with metal undertones, along with lyrics exemplifying the sometimes overbearing beauty of the natural world around us, Amorphis has created a masterpiece of a song that deserves a place near the other landmark hits of their time, such as "Black Winter Day", "My Kantele", and "Divinty".
Simply put, this was THE greatest album of 2006, and no matter what form of metal you primarily listen to, no true MUSIC fan would be complete without this landmark album in their collection. Amorphis are back, and they want us all to know it!
1. Two Moons
2. House of Sleep
3. Leaves Scar
4. Born From Fire
5. Under a Soil and Black Stone
6. Perkele (The God of Fire).
7. The Smoke
8. Same Flesh
9. Brother Moon
10. Empty Opening
Stone Woman (Bonus Track)