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Album Reviews : Amorphis – Skyforger

By on September 27, 2009

Amorphis - SkyforgerSkyforger is Amorphis‘ ninth studio album, yet album number three for the band’s recent vocalist, Tomi Joutsen.

Since Joutsen joined Amorphis back in 2006 the band have been on a permanent high offering great solid releases thus far.

Much like Amorphis‘ previous albums ‘Eclipse’ and ‘Silent Waters’, the latest album ‘Skyforger’ is based on tales and poems from an ancient Finnish folklore scripture entitled ‘Kalevala’ which has been translated into English.

Skyforger offers a plethora of upbeat and radio friendly tracks yet doesn’t completely sacrifice on heaviness or intensity. To put it simply the album is a contemporary blend of progressive metal with hinted melodic elements ranging from Paradise Lost, Porcupine Tree and Evergrey, whilst delivering a heavier aspect with the likes of Opeth and Candlemass, respectively. Skyforger in itself showcases the great contrast in Tomi Joutsen‘s vocal efforts,  which add both melancholy and theatrical elements to the album.

The opening track ‘Sampo’ kicks things into gear with a nice piano introduction and quickly builds to a mild mannered melodic number which infuses Jousten‘s amazing blend of melodic death metal and clean charismatic vocals,  whilst guitarist’s Tomi Koivusaari and Esa Holopainen add a nice selection of riffs to accompany the eerie orchestral influence in the background . Next we are seamlessly pushed into the track ‘Silver Bride’, which raises the tempo offering more uplifting riffs and chorus’, as seems to be the album’s common theme.

‘From The Heaven Of My Heart’ would be considered the albums quintessential radio friendly track. Offering simple melodies and riffs which in turn draw back a lot of aggression of tracks such as ‘Sampo’ and ‘Majestic Beast’.

The track ‘Sky is Mine’ is a perfect example of when the band can pull off an amazing song. Offering both a memorable chorus and hypnotizing riffs, the guitar intro to ‘Sky is Mine’ is very reminiscent of something U2′s, The Edge would conjur up. Thankfully, it doesn’t prance about or sound like mindless repetitive Celtic dribble. It’s one of the more uplifting tracks on Skyforger and one of my personal favorites on the album at the moment.

‘Majestic Beast’ changes things all together as it quickly shifts into an Opeth vain. The song offers a darker, yet heavier aspect to the scheme of the album and dramatically changes Joutsen‘s clean vocals to his commonly sort after melodic death metal vocals. His vocals fit beautifully to the track, yet strangely the song sounds alittle to familiar to Opeth‘s ‘Ghost Reveries’. I can hear all the influences, but thankfully the track is in a league of its own and doesn’t sound like a cheap knock off.

Much like ‘From The Heaven of My Heart’,  the track ‘Highest Star’ is one of few slower numbers on the album. It seems to influences some quant folk elements whilst incorporating the bands dominant progressive metal sound. The track starts off slow but quickly reverts back to the band’s uplifting spirit by the tale end of the song.

Skyforger continues in the bands modern day tradition of releasing yet another simply amazing album. It offers a great variation of tracks for lovers of dominant progressive metal and melodic death metal. The album boasts plenty of hooks and memorable chorus, but doesn’t completely skim on heaviness which looms a somewhat gloomy and atmospheric theme to the entire scheme of the album. 8/10

Band: Amorphis
Album: Skyforger
Year: 2009
Genre: Metal
Label: Nuclear Blast Europe
Australian Distribution: Riot! Entertainment Click here to purchase
Origin: Helsinki, Finland
www.amorphis.net
www.myspace.com/amorphis

Track listing:

1. Sampo < – Reviewer’s choice
2. Silver Bride
3. From the Heaven of My Heart
4. Sky Is Mine <- Reviewer’s choice
5. Majestic Beast
6. My Sun
7. Highest Star
8. Skyforger
9. Course of Fate
10. From Earth I Rose

About

Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.