Written by: The Voiceless Apparition
Hello everyone! Welcome to 2022. I feel like it's been a while since I've been here to provide you all an album review. I know that the 200 Stab Wounds album wasn't that long ago, but so much has happened since then. Thank you for sticking around with me, and with the Sleeping Village. We're kicking off the year with a new album from one of my favorite bands of all time, Amorphis, with their latest album Halo. Not much has changed in the Amorphis camp, with the exception of them leaving Nuclear Blast Records and signing with upstart label Atomic Fire Records. Now that we have that out of the way, let's dive in.
First thing you'll notice with this album is that it is HEAVY. This possibly one of the heaviest albums in Amorphis' discography. They've dialed back on the symphonic elements and went for an outright progressive assault on their folk and melodic death metal sound. The songs are more concise than on previous album Queen of Time, but pack more into these 4-5 minute run times. "Northwards" begins on a typical Amorphis note with big double bass patterns and Tomi Joutsen's signature growls and epic clean vocals backed by grandiose choir vocals, and a tasty mellotron solo in the middle of the song.
Halo is still biologically Amorphis. All of the core elements are there, with songs like "The Moon" and "When the God's Came" being some of the more standout melodic cuts on the album. The biggest thing that struck me about this album was the vocals. This is a surprisingly very growl dominated album, the most growls I've heard from Amorphis in quite a while. Every song employs Tomi's beastly growls, but not without including his sweeping melodic vocals. Another standout is drummer Jan Rechberg's drumming. There is a large amount of double bass work throughout the album, and I feel like his employment of fills on the album is more tasteful than ever before.
Another thing that struck me about the album is how it closes. Whereas many bands typically like to end an album on a triumphant and bombastic note, Amorphis take the complete opposite route and end with a haunting and beautiful ballad... AND IT WORKS! Coming from someone who typically hates ballads, this is just so well done. The interplay between the female vocals and Tomi's vocals is compelling and engaging. You can feel the passion and emotion in both of their performances. I have absolutely no complaints about how this album ends.
Amorphis are 32 years into their career. Just let that sink in. They're legends at this point. They have nothing left to prove, and they don't need to. Some band's try to reinvent the wheel later on in their career, to varying degrees of success and failure. Others simply fine-tune their sound, adding new embellishments here and there. Amorphis take the latter route, and that's perfect. It's risky to take a sharp left turn this late into your career. While my biggest complaint with the album is simply down to the placement of some of the songs in the tracklist, there's simply no denying that Amorphis are just as passionate as ever with their art. And that deserves praise in and of itself.
Amorphis - Halo was released Feb. 11th, 2022 via Atomic Fire Records.
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We provide thoughtful reviews of music that wakes us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry.