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Amorphis - 'Under The Red Cloud' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/2c/45/1b/amorphis-under-the-red-cloud-19-1443725260.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     October 01, 2015    
 
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The material is laden with melodic hooks and a healthy slab of heaviness without getting too extreme.

Purveyors of fine Finnish melancholic, dark Rock and Metal since 1990, Amorphis is one band who may have passed you by despite being in the game long enough to recently be celebrating the twentieth anniversary of their break-though album, 'Tales From The Thousand Lakes'. If they haven't broken through onto your radar, then maybe there's a chance they will with their twelfth studio album 'Under The Red Cloud' – what they describe as a heavy yet melodic statement – which they've recorded over a couple of months during their frantic touring schedule.

Produced (mixed and mastered) by Jens Bogren, the album sees the sextet (featuring new vocalist Tomi Joutsen) pulling in guest appearances from the likes of Martin Lopez (ex-Opeth) on percussion and flautist Chrigel Glanzmann (Eluveitie) with Aleah Standbridge adding guest vocals on three tracks. With the album's lyrics written by the "ghost member" of the band – Pekka Kainulainen – it seems like they're not afraid to work beyond their own means, adding whatever is necessary to embellish their ambition.

Encased in a package whose extravagant art (produced by Jean-Emmanuel "Valnoir" Simoulin) reflects the musical contents, its melodic and Eastern influences crop up all over the record right from the opening title track, sneaking in unexpectedly smoothly before the sense of expectation boils over and the drums kick in to introduce the songs theme big style. Prepare for quite a ride as you're taken off on a journey led by the pair of guitars with the keyboards providing the depth and texture rather than unnecessary twiddling and soloing.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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On the one hand Amorphis produce songs like 'The Skull' which opens in a fury of darkness, taking a breath for some respite before another battering emerges, yet 'Tree Of Ages' takes off in a different direction with an almost Folky feel about it – think Blackmore's Night with attitude – as the harshness of the vocal contrasts with the jigging pace of the track.

'Death Of A King', selected as the single, combines all the elements of what Amorphis offer in a nutshell and goes to emphasise something that seems to be underplayed, which is the appealingly melodic nature of the songs. It epitomises the fact that what most bands need are damn good songs! Saving the best until last, 'White Night' is a belter and you can sense from the moody opening that something ambitiously epic is about to evolve.

Overall, the mix of clean and rough-edged vocals works well as the harshness doesn't grate, while the material is laden with melodic hooks and a healthy slab of heaviness without getting too extreme.

The biggest question remains – why on earth aren't Amorphis a household name and why haven't more people haven't discovered them?

Mike Ainscoe

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