Finland's Amorphis have long been one of the most consistent bands in metal. Despite stylistic shifts and a few changes in lead vocalists, the music of Amorphis has always been solid, if not at times groundbreaking. A few years ago they brought in new singer Tomi Joutsen for their album Eclipse, a monumental work that saw the band diving into epic yet melodic waters, and also elements of their return to death metal, and they've not looked back since.
Fast forward to 2009 and their third album with Joutsen, titled Skyforger. As with the previous two releases, Joutsen's multi-faceted delivery is a complete asset to Amorphis. His combination of melodic phrasing, shouts, and deep growls permeate the songs with such power and conviction, that you could easily say he is the best vocalist this band has ever had. Check out his array of styles on the powerhouse "Silver Bride", a punishing piece that is as much death metal as it is progressive metal, and his soaring melodic clean vocals on "From The Heaven Of My Heart" are simply stunning. Alluring delayed guitar riffs permeate the intoxicating rocker "Sky Is Mine", one of the catchiest tunes on the CD and something that could have been an outtake from the Eclipse sessions. Extreme fans will love the crushing death metal of "Majestic Beast", a song with an almost Opeth-ish flavor, Santeri Kallio's waves of organ & Mellotron combating punishing riffs and Joutsen's brutal growls, while "Skyforger" combines death metal with folk & prog for a truly epic statement. In fact, Amorphis prove they can deliver 'folk metal' just about as good as anyone, evident by the wonderful "From Earth I Rose", a rousing number with plenty of Finnish flavor, acoustic & electric guitars, keyboards, clean & growling vocals, and a real grand yet fun vibe. The bonus track "Godlike Machine" is no throw-away by any means, as acoustic guitars, clean vocals, and flutes combast brutal riffs and menacing growls for one hell of a majestic ride.
Honestly, there's not a bad track here, just 53 minutes of classic Amorphis. This band is really on a roll folks, and they've delivered the goods yet again in a big, big way. If you like music with elements of death metal, prog, folk, and hard rock, then you'll need to investigate Skyforger, which is easily one of 2009's best.
2. Silver Bride
3. From The Heaven Of My Heart
4. Sky Is Mine
5. Majestic Beast
6. My Sun
7. Highest Star
9. Course Of Fate
10. From Earth I Rose
11. Godlike Machine-bonus track