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Amorphis: Far From the Sun

If you are someone who perhaps hasn't listened to Amorphis in a a few years, Far From the Sun might just shock you a little. While the band has slowly changed its sound over time since their inception in the early 1990's, this latest release sees the band sounding more accessible than ever. Gone are the death metal grunts and doom laden slabs of thunderous guitar sludge that permeated their earlier albums, replaced here by modern, almost alternative/nu-metal vocals, heaping amounts of symphonic prog-rock keyboards, and aggressive hard rock guitars.

Do these changes sound interesting? Well, as long as you are a fan of either progressive rock or modern mainstream metal they should. A song like "Evil Inside" has MTV2 or alternative radio written all over it, a real anthem for 2004 that has a catchy hook to go along with its bursting power chords and raging keyboard attack. "Day of Your Beliefs" features some neat synths and organ work from Santeri Kallio, who seems to really be stepping into a major role in the band. The lead guitars of Esa Holopainen slice across the mix on the raging "Mourning Soil", while Kallio''s organ work on the commercial "Far From the Sun" would certainly not sound out of place on a Uriah Heep or Deep Purple album. There's some atmospheric Pink Floyd-gone-metal moments on a few numbers here as well, where crunchy guitars meet haunting keyboards and arrangements dripping with melancholy, as on "Ethereal Solitude" , as well as the completely spacey "Smithereens."

But fear not heavy rock fans-Amorphis have not give up heavy metal to turn completely into a prog rock animal. "Killing Goodness" is a bone crunching rocker with thick slabs of guitar crunch to go along with Pasi Koskinen's strong vocals, while Kallio also makes sure to leave his mark with some wild Rick Wakeman-ish synth solos and Ken Hensley sounding Hammond tones. Thunderous Middle Eastern motiffs can he heard on "Higher Ground", a powerful track littered with shimmering guitar chords, a pounding rhythm section, and catchy vocal hooks.

Like I mentioned earlier, Amorphis have come a long way, and Far From the Sun has a certain amount of "breakout" potential given the right opportunity. The band has injected the perfect amount of guitar power, keyboard majesty, and radio friendly vocals, into a formula that can and should easily please a wider audience.

Track Listing
01. Day Of Your Beliefs
02. Planetary Misfortune
03. Evil Inside
04. Mourning Soil
05. Far From The Sun
06. Ethereal Solitude
07. Killing Goodness
08. God Of Deception
09. Higher Ground
10. Smithereens
11. Shining Turns to Grey*
12. Follow Me Into the Fire*
13. Darkrooms*
14. Dreams of the Damned*
15. Far From the Sun (acoustic version)*
* Bonus Tracks
Bonus Video-Evil Inside

Added: July 22nd 2005
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Amorphis Official Website
Hits: 3781
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Amorphis: Far From the Sun
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-07-22 07:57:15
My Score:

With each release Amorphis continues to grow in both a musical and creative manner. Far From The Sun is the newest proof of this as with this CD the band has given us something very different from their usual or expected fare. As many fans probably know the band takes their name from the word "amorphous" which means something that holds no shape or form. On Far From The Sun the group shows just how profound this term can be when applied to a musical sense. It is interesting to see this Finnish act that have been held in such high regard take such a different step with this particular record. On one hand I was very impressed because the music simply flowed across the entire CD. With many other Finnish bands delivering blistering Power Metal nowadays I felt Amorphis was showing that they no longer need to press that course. It's time for them to influence future generation of Metal fans.

While I was impressed with a number of tracks on the record I would have to say that my very favorite track is "Day Of Your Beliefs". As the opener it starts off subtly and then kicks into a solid groove and moody drive as it progresses. There are lots of Deep Purple styled keyboards and a great guitar riff. It was a fine choice for the first track. "Far From The Sun" is present in two versions, one being acoustic and the other electric. The title track gets continued spin in my changer in both of its incarnations. The more rocking numbers would be "Planetary Misfortune" and "Darkrooms" and "Ethereal Solitude" is the best of the couple of slow numbers that appear on the disk. You will find this an equally enjoyable listen when you take the time to do so.

However, there will probably be older Fans of the group who are depressed about this musical change and also the fact that lead singer Pasi Koskinen has left the group. His replacement is Tomi Joutsen and as someone who already saw him perform I think they will be pleasantly surprised. Don't pass on this CD if you are a fan of the group, or if you enjoy an almost "Trip Rock" sort of sound.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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