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Review: Amorphis - Skyforger

Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Year released: 2009
Duration: 47:42
Tracks: 11
Genre: Melodic Heavy Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: August 21, 2009
Reviewed by: PowerMetal59
Readers Rating

Rated 4.18/5 (83.68%) (38 Votes)

The latest installment from the mighty Amorphis, a band that has experienced perhaps the most dramatic transformation in terms of style and substance than any other band in all of metal over the past 20 years. I suppose it is safe to say that as they have grown, their loyal fan base has swelled with them. Skyforger was easily one of the most anticipated releases in 2009; my first impression once I landed a copy was that of complete awe and amazement, and subsequent spins have since quelled my enthusiasm. Nonetheless Skyforger is an outstanding compilation of Heavy Metal hymns. The production, as is usually the case by the standards that exist today, is uncompromised, the songwriting which has always been the key ingredient that has carried the band through their many stylistic changes is stellar. Certainly the traditionalists who keep spinning The Karelian Isthmus, Tales From The Thousand Lakes, or Elegy in their rotation may not appreciate the modern day Amorphis, but hell, this is clearly not that band, so for those who are still in love with the early works do yourselves a favor, listen to the brutally heavy riffs and sinister growls of "Majestic Beast", easily one of Amorphis heaviest tracks in years, in order to satisfy your Death Metal cravings. As for the rest of the album, open your minds and give these guys a fresh listen, you may reap the rewards!

That aside, back to Skyforger, the music in terms of style is very similar to the past couple of releases, combining traditional, progressive often times dark melodic metal with Death and Folk elements. There are plenty of catchy hooks and choruses weaved within the melodic vocal lines, with occasional guttural growls sprinkled in for added diversity to the already epic atmosphere. The one difference which rears its head from time to time is the more mainstream feel to some of the songs, but in no way does it take away from the power that is on display relative to their delivery. The only other criticism that I can conclude, not that I'm trying to pick fly shit out of pepper, is that while the songs do flow well together, at times they do seem a bit repetitive. However, in the spirit of fairness the choruses do stick in your head long after the music stops, so in essence you are dealing with one of those good vs. bad tradeoffs with good winning out at the end of the day. The performance of each of the six band members is outstanding, especially Tomi Joutsen's outstanding vocals, which orchestrate his multi-dimensional capabilities, he clearly had a strong hand in changing the band's direction when he signed on three years ago.

The musical genius that is the new Amorphis boldly shines through on Skyforger, an album that is highly enjoyable from the first note to the last, an album that has evolved their sound even further from the high quality of their past two releases Eclipse and Silent Waters, an album that will assuredly end up ranking high among the best of 2009.

Other related information on the site
Review: Elegy (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
Review: Magic & Mayhem - Tales from the Early Years (reviewed by Adam McAuley)
Review: Silent Waters (reviewed by Adam McAuley)
Review: Tales From The Thousand Lakes (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
Review: Tales From The Thousand Lakes (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: The Karelian Isthmus (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
Interview with guitarist Tomi Koivusaari on March 14, 2014 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
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