Amorphis has always had been the kind of band that’s hard to label or to describe, and this hasn’t changed on this new album, which keeps blending music genres and adding unexpected ideas. Maybe this album is folk-influenced melodic death metal, or maybe a weirder kind of doom metal and a softer kind of avant-garde metal? All the above? Just in the first track “Northwards”, they manage to mix melodic death metal, a softer, almost folky melody, a vaguely Middle-Eastern inspired riff and a classical choir.
And it’s well-written enough to feel cohesive, and above all, to sound great. It’s an album inspired by nature and legends, and its musical explorations feel like the exploration of nature. One of the best examples of the album’s natural and mythological inspiration would have to be “The Moon”, a beautiful ode to the moon carried by a sweet chorus. It also has some pretty good growls and keyboards, and a touch of female lyrical vocals.
Most other tracks, like “The Moon”, have growled verses, sung choruses, an instrumental that may be mellow or angry, and a few different ideas in each song. They all follow a similar pattern to “Northwards”, but each song manages to stand out in its own right and to sound good. For example, “When the Gods Came” feels really big and epic, with a catchy riff, ferocious verses and a nice chorus. Then, there’s “Windmane” and its melancholic chorus, pretty good solo, and its little melody at the beginning that reminds me of a few Finnish folk songs. Or “A New Land” and its catchy, almost gothic rock-inspired riffs and soaring chorus. Or the sweeping, heavy and epic “Seven Roads Came Together”. “The Wolf” is a ferocious and beastly melodic death metal track. “War” is, like most songs titled after war, the heaviest and fiercest track on the album, and has some pretty good riffs and vocals, as well as a nice choir. The title track has a nice melody and a varied vocal performance, using melancholic singing, sinister growls and sweet female backing vocals. The album ends on “My Name is Night”, a nice ballad with male and female vocals.
Really, this is an album full of creativity, and of really enjoyable tracks. It’s one of those reviews where I say that talking about the album is just as enjoyable as reading it. These songs have beautiful melodies, well-made instrumentations and the kind of atmosphere you could lose yourself into. It has energy, it’s heavy but there’s also beauty and grace to it. This is a really good way to immerse you in the album’s stories and make you want to begin your exploration northwards.
Release date: February 11th, 2022
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