AMORPHIS are one of those bands, which truly bear their name deservedly, as they are anything but predictable, resembling an a-morphic creative mass, continuously reinventing itself while maintaining a general root to mark the territory as this band’s only. Starting out as brutal Death Metal, they began to incorporate Folk influences, then discovered psychedelia, completely abandoning the Death Metal vocals, before taking one step back towards their past by bringing back that same gruff vocal style, yet at the same time taking a step forward and taking the best of all world’s they had traveled so far for last year’s masterpiece “Eclipse”.
“Silent Waters” now is the next step on the journey of Esa Holopainen and consorts and once more the album is undoubtedly AMORPHIS, yet very different from the predecessor, is there an end to the creative well of the Finns? It seems not and that is good, because they continue to release high class music, which will elude a pin-pointed categorization as well as appeal to a multitude of fans out there. So what is the basic tenor of this, their eighth full-length album? Well, it’s less heavy than “Eclipse”, but in no way gets sappy or anything like that, putting more emphasis on the melodies while still retaining the AMORPHIS-typical edge and atmosphere, also venturing in waters that some people might call Gothic Metal, but they do it with class and maturity, so you can’t hold that against them either.
Once more based upon a chapter of Finland’s national epic, the Kalevala, “Silent Waters” combines power and intricacies, growls and clear vocals, acoustic guitars and heavy riffing into a compelling and engaging whole, beginning with the sluggish “Weaving The Incantation”, where we are treated to a mix of exactly what I just described, along with some added organ for good measure, and brilliant melodies, while “Tales From The Thousand Lakes” shines through on following “The Servant” and its melodies, powerful, yet with filigree intricacies and details that just make you fall in love with the song.
“Silent Waters” has a mature Gothic Metal influence, “I Of Crimson Blood” sets out with piano and acoustic guitars and culminate in a great powerful chorus, “Her Alone” stays melancholic and emotional all the way through, “Enigma” offers a bit of choir, which sounds brilliant, “Shaman” lets you melt away and even introduces some sitar for another album highlight and “Black River” is the maybe most melancholic song of the whole album, slow paced and emotional, great!
Despite the album sounding like a cohesive whole, it is so hard to pinpoint the band’s sound, as it shows so many different facets and hues that one would have to point out and mention to give a comprehensive conclusion, so bear with me, AMORPHIS anno 2007 are still as fascinating and good as always, another highlight in their already gem-studded career!
(Online September 7, 2007)