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Amorphis: Halo

After a career spanning over thirty years it would be conceivable that the musical creative well spring might have dried up by now. However in the case in Finnish metal legends Amorphis this could not be further from the truth, in fact they only seem to grow in strength. Their latest offering Halo takes up the cause for the band once more and the creative impetus feels like it's not only in full effect but exploding like an over active volcano.

Once again they have tapped into the narrative themes drawn from Finland's own mythology and legends, its national epos, the Kalevala. The lyrics once again handled by their long-time lyricist Pekka Kainulainen. They also continue to employ all their compositional talents, choosing to seamlessly put together everything from progressive metal, melodic and symphonic death metal, folk metal and classic hard rock and heavy metal.

Halo throws down the gauntlet straight out of the gate with “Northwards” which opens with instantly powerful and catchy riffing and Tomi Joutsen’s excellent vocal growls before opening up into an uplifting section with Tomi displaying his fantastic clean vocals. The song also has some wonderful keyboard work, as usual, from Santeri Kallio who channels his inner Jon Lord on this track. “On The Dark Waters” follows and is equally epic and majestic. Like almost every track these guys write there are hooks all over the place on Halo and the songs seem to feel instantly familiar and memorable. Some nice sitar sounding passages also adorn the track to add some more spice. Another feature that makes Amorphis stand-out from their contemporaries is their willingness to throw in unexpected sounds and instruments into the mix but also in a way that feels totally seamless and needed. A rare talent. “The Moon” changes up the pace a little giving some slightly more meditative elements a hearing, however the power still remains. “Windmane” has a bit of an Opeth feel to it as do other tracks but with Amorphis it’s more like being a distant cousin rather than a twin brother, in other words they certainly don’t deviate from creating their own style even if they have moments that have similarities with other bands. The uplifting power and seamless fusion of their stylistic elements continues on “A New Land” to fantastic effect. The rhythm guitars by Tomi Koivusaari and Lead guitars by Esa Holopainen are loaded with electrifying fire throughout and everything sounds absolutely pristine too with top-tier production handled by Jens Bogren. “When the Gods Came” is a slightly more straightforward rocker, at least straightforward for Amorphis anyway, however it retains the epic nature laid down already. “Seven Roads Come Together” launches the listener into the stratosphere once again with a killer epic riff and great growled vocals opening the verse. Here the band again adds some symphonic passages into the sound. “War” begins with some almost Chinese sounding instruments before the metal bludgeons its way in again. The title track “Halo” has a cinematic feel in its grandeur but then again that can be said for most of the album. “The wolf” has some tasty heavy riffing and comes out swinging, but of course the epic and open feel comes flooding in when Tomi’s clean vocals take over. Amorphis have a clear formula that they use but their particular formula just happens to allow for a lot of cool diversions and they always sound compelling and always loaded with feeling and emotion which is also what sets Amorphis apart. The album closes with the stunningly beautiful and haunting track “My Name Is Night” which features a duet between Tomi and Petronella Nettermalm and is one of the many highlights of this fantastic album.

Halo is the final installment to a trilogy of albums including 2015’s Under The Red Cloud and Queen Of Time and personally it’s my favorite one of the three. The first half of the album is perhaps a little more memorable and the album could maybe have benefitted from a slightly shorter run-time but the standouts on this album like the first five tracks and the closer “My Name Is Night” are on par with their very best material and are absolutely killer. I would imagine fans of Amorphis who love the sound they’ve been cultivating since 2006’s Eclipse will surely love this album and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys heavy, catchy and epic progressive metal.

Tomi Joutsen-Vocals
Esa Holopainen-Guitars
Tomi Koivusaari- Guitars
Santeri Kallio- Keyboards
Olli-Pekka Laine -Bass
Jan Rechberger-Drums

1. Northwards
2. On The Dark Waters
3. The Moon
4. Windmane
5. A New Land
6. When The Gods Came
7. Seven Roads Come Together
8. War
9. Halo
10. The Wolf
11. My Name Is Night

Added: March 19th 2022
Reviewer: Benjamin Dudai
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 859
Language: english

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