Amorphis - Eclipse
A lot of twists and turns has coloured the history of Amorphis from the very beginning in 1990. Their sound has shifted between a lot of diverse styles such as death metal, gothic metal and progressive folkrock for example. Now when it's time to release their seventh album another chapter in the history of Amorphis is getting written. After the release of their previous album Far From The Sun long time member and vocalist Pasi Koskinen decided to leave the band which created quite a fuzz amongst the die-hard fans. The new singer was shortly hereafter announced as Tomi Joutsen from the band Sinisthra.
Eclipse is an album that took a couple of extra spins than usual for me to digest. I really liked what I heard from the very beginning but the songs wouldn't stick and I also got the feeling they followed the same pattern. This however changed dramatically on the fourth or fifth listening session. For starters I can declare that everybody who was worried about the vocalist change now can relax. Tomi sets his mark from the very beginning and you can't tell that he is a rookie in the band. With a lot of self confidence he delivers diverse vocals that range from deep death metal grunts to beautiful clean vocals with a lot of emotion. This grants the record depth and makes it dynamic despite the fact that the tempo is quite constant through the record.
One thing that struck me about Eclipse is that the highlight of the songs not necessarily has to be the chorus. Instead a lot of effort has been put down on the melody lines through the entire composition and a verse or bridge can work as the song's trademark as well as the chorus. Thanks to the fantastic melody work I have found myself humming along with the music every single time and I can't stop since it's so addictive.
When it comes to detailed comments on separate tracks I have to mention House Of Sleep, which remind me a bit of Charon by the way. This is a song that with the right promotion has the potential of becoming a hit in the charts. Born From Fire has a fantastic vocal melody through the verse and the tempo change in the chorus works as a proof that Amorphis know how to arrange their already great songs. If I had to choose only one song from the album it would probably be The Smoke. Tomi really shines on this song with fantastic melodic and emotional vocals during the verse and great deep growls in the chorus.
At last I would like to comment on the production. In these days due to cut-and-paste productions and so forth the records tend to sound almost too perfect. This however has nothing to do with such productions. I don't know if it is intentional but it was a long time since I heard such an organic and live sounding album as Eclipse. You almost get the feeling that it was recorded live, but then again, maybe it is. This album surpassed my expectations greatly and I really hope they will continue working together with this line-up. If you give the album the chance it rightfully deserve I'm sure you will be greatly rewarded also.
also review of: Circle