Amorphis - Eclipse
Nuclear Blast
Progressive / Folk Influenced Heavy Metal
11 songs (47:54)
Release year: 2006
Amorphis, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Al

Amorphis is a rather unique prospect. If you were to listen to the Finnish band’s 1994 effort Tales of A Thousand Lakes and Eclipse, the band’s latest effort, you could be forgiven for thinking that you were listening to two completely different groups. This is due to the fact that they have not only changed their lead vocalist for this outing but also changed their sound completely. While they started out playing pretty brutal and rather inspired death metal, their recent albums have taken a far more melodic, folk and gothic bent.

They are of course not the first band to undergo such a drastic change, take Paradise Lost for example. And like Paradise Lost the change was far from smooth. When such a change occurs you not only run the risk of alienating many old fans but you also cast your lot into musical territory in which you may not have much experience or expertise. While it is admirable for a band which undoubtedly enjoyed success in it’s original genre to change so drastically the pitfalls can wreck an otherwise promising career.

This (artistic if not monetary) downfall very nearly came Amorphis’s way with the disappointing 2003 release Far From the Sun. The band seemed to have lost their momentum, playing music that would sell well as opposed to something that would leave a lasting imprint on the scene. Thankfully the band seems to have realised their mistake and with new vocalist Tomi Joutsen on board recorded a fine piece of modern metal.

The band produce a unique sound mixing soaring melodic vocals, the occasional death metal growl, some truly wonderful if simplistic guitar work and a plethora of instruments both classical and modern. Joutsen’s vocal performance is solid throughout the album and has the admirable ability to convey emotion exceptionally well. The lyrics on the other hand don’t particularly grab me but as usual I feel this is up to personal taste so it hasn’t affected the rating.

When the band is firing on all cylinders the music they produce is fascinating, emotive and beautiful. Take for example Leaves Scar. The song builds up with acoustic guitar accompanied by that well known instrument of metal destruction, the flute. This blends perfectly into a stomping riff and death metal growls followed by a soaring chorus. These sort of songs encapsulate so many twists and turns in their comparatively short running times that I can’t help but be genuinely impressed.

Other tracks of note include the single House of Sleep which clicked with me the first time I heard it and stubbornly refused to get out of my head for days. It’s unbelievably catchy yet still manages to maintain artistic and emotional worth. Born From Fire is my personal favourite exhibiting one of the best riffs on the album combined with a superb keyboard and guitar solo passage halfway through. Exemplary stuff.

I can’t find much wrong here. On repeated listening I find the opening and closing tracks, Two Moons and Stonewoman tend to plod a bit and don’t hold my attention to the degree that the rest of the album does. They’re not bad tracks, I just feel they’re not in the same league as the rest of the material.

One last thing worth mentioning is that I found this (and it may just be me) to be extremely accessible as far as progressive metal goes. I usually see that the problem with accessibility is that something will sound incredible on the first few listens but after a while simply becomes boring. I have however been listening to this album quite regularly for over a month and I still have yet to grow tired of it. It’s an unusual occurrence and has proved to me that something can be accessible and at the same time have staying power.

While this probably won’t appeal to fans of the band’s early work due to the massive change in sound. I highly recommend it to everyone else. If it wasn't for Devin Townsend's antics it would be my album of the month (It's been a good one). It’s a highly enjoyable album which will be in regular rotation on my stereo at least for a good while to come.

MP3: Leaves Scar (Full)

Killing Songs :
Some better than others but not a bad one really
Al quoted 91 / 100
Aleksie quoted 90 / 100
Ken quoted 94 / 100
Alex quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Amorphis that we have reviewed:
Amorphis - Circle reviewed by Khelek and quoted 90 / 100
Amorphis - The Beginning Of Times reviewed by Khelek and quoted 90 / 100
Amorphis - Tuonela reviewed by Khelek and quoted 89 / 100
Amorphis - Skyforger reviewed by Khelek and quoted 95 / 100
Amorphis - Silent Waters reviewed by Alex and quoted 88 / 100
To see all 8 reviews click here
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