After more than 25 years of extolling finnish myths musically, Amorphis once again read through the Kalevala to find new topics which could be turned into music. It’s already the 12th time that Amorphis are hitting the studio, and on 4th September the new album Under The Red Cloud will be released.
It’s not only the 12th time Amorphis are creating a new record, it is also the 12th time Amorphis are defining themselves anew. 12 albums, and none of them sounded like the others. While Circle (2013) was very dark and mainly brutal melodic death metal with folk influences, Under The Red Cloud is softer, with more flutes and instruments which add a special Finland feeling, but nevertheless they still draw on well-tried elements.
With such elements, the first track “Under The Red Cloud” introduces the same-titled album. Amorphis often use a piano as the leading instrument, as for example in the title track. The piano starts playing a melody and slowly, the guitar, followed by the other instruments, repeats the melody and finally, the whole band plays it. “Under The Red Cloud” is sung using clean vocals only, while the second track (and one of my personal favourites, if not THE favourite) “The Four Wise Ones” contrasts enormously with amazing growling and a dynamic melody. The song also contains short, but calm folk elements, which results in an aggressive song which doesn’t really seem to be aggressive.
Amorphis aren’t among the bands who produce the same album over and over again, the music as well as the members’ musical talent refines. Especially Tomi Joutsen, who is one of my favourite singers in metal (insert fangirling) got even better with this album. I was stunned how much his guttural vocals improved, even after so many years of singing like that. Also, he is extremely variable in his singing. Tomi could sing you to sleep and one moment later, he is able to growl you awake. And every single one of Amorphis‘ songs need this kind of variety.
The only reason why I don’t rate Under The Red Cloud with ten devils is my opinion about Circle being an even better album. I loved the brutality and directness of it and I miss this on Under The Red Cloud. But nonetheless, Amorphis’ new masterpiece is a potential album of the year.
01. Under The Red Cloud
02. The Four Wise Ones
03. Bad Blood
04. The Skull
05. Death Of A King
07. Dark Path
08. Enemy At The Gates
09 Tree Of Ages
10. White Night
Playing time: 50:01
Release date: 4 September, 2015
Label: Nuclear Blast Records