Album Reviews : Amorphis – Forging The Land of Thousand Lakes
20 years is a pretty long time. Sure, in the grand scheme of the universe it’s not much, but to survive in the fickle music industry for two decades is nothing to sneeze at. Having started their musical life as a fairly rough and raw death metal act, it didn’t take long for Finland’s Amorphis to evolve into a much more progressive and melodic entity. Celebrating their 20th anniversary as a band, as well as the release of their fantastic album Skyforger, the six piece have freshly released their first ever DVD, the double disc set “Forging the Land of a Thousand Lakes”. On the first DVD is a 16 song show recorded in Oulu, Finland, while the second comprises of their set at Summer Breeze Open Air 2009, a insightful hour long documentary on the band, as well as all of their film clips and a photo gallery.
The first thing that is obvious about the live in Oulu show is the frankly staggeringly quality of the footage, with every minuscule detail caught by the film crew. Despite being the newest member of the band, frontman Tomi Joutsenis easily the star of the performance, with his vocal talents on fine display throughout the DVD, with tracks such as “Sampo” and “Sky Is Mine” showing off the singer’s powerful clean vocals and occasional growl, while older numbers such as “Alone” and “Divinity” add a touch of class to former vocalist’s Pasi Koskinen original recordings. However, one annoying fault on the DVD is the audio track doesn’t line up footage in some spots; which is most apparent when the camera focuses on guitarist Esa Holopainen performing a lead break, when the audio track has him playing a riff or chords – definitely something that the average viewer probably wouldn’t pick up, but it did slightly irritate this reviewer. The setlist serves as essentially a live ‘best of’ of the band, with older cuts such as “The Castaway” and the medley of the “Elegy” record snugly fitting next to newer classics like “From The Heaven of My Heart”.
The included documentary is exceptionally in-depth, and features some truthful and often amusing interviews with all the current and some ex-members of Amorphis, as well as some great archival footage of the band’s early tours in Europe and the United States. Meanwhile the band’s set at Summer Breeze carries the same high level of quality featured on disc one, with the ecstatic German crowd seemingly more into the band’s set than the slightly flat audience at the Finland show.
Featuring incredibly well shot and amazingly high quality video footage, on top of an impressive amount of extra features, “Forging The Land of a Thousand Lakes” is a must have for both fans of Amorphis and progressive metal in general.
Album: Forging The Land of a Thousand Lakes (‘Live in Oulu’)
Genre: Progressive Metal
Label: Nuclear Blast/Riot
1. Silver Bride
3. Towards and Against
4. The Castaway
5. Smithereens/The Smoke
6. Majestic Beast
8. Silent Waters
10. Elegy Medley (Against Widows/Cares/On Rich and Poor)
11. From The Heaven Of My Heart
12. Sky Is Mine
13 Magic and Mayhem/Black Winter Day
14 Sign From The Northside
15 House of Sleep
16. My Kantele