With 25 years passing miraculously and the band drifting away from their death metal roots, this doesn’t stop Amorphis excelling in their craft. The Finnish metallers carry something special; the ability to produce variation and to apply all of it into their music. And they have done that especially on their 12th studio album, ‘Under The Red Cloud‘. Special guests such as Eluveitie’s Chrigel Glanzmann join the band to bring what is to be a wonderfully creative album. ‘Natural phenomena, seasons and the human mind’ are examples of the lyrical writing throughout this album. Does the album do itself justice compared to their last release, ‘Circle’? Quite possibly.
Not many albums I have heard have an outstanding kickstart to an album; if it has, you are expecting a positive outcome. Title & first track ‘Under The Red Cloud’ has done that exactly. With a gorgeously classic piano intro with a follow up to gentling guitars, both electric & acoustic, and drums which you then suddenly receive a fist in your face with everything exploding into a masterpiece of a first track. This song clearly screams ‘Amorphis’; with that being said, you are expected to believe there are a few surprises ahead. The rest of the album, what can I say? The band have outdone it with a huge selection of genres all combined together. It is a ‘classically-progressively-melodically-heavy-folk metal’ album. That sounds atrocious, I know, but this is how I can put this album into description.
‘The Four Wise Ones’ has a black/death metal approach connecting to Wintersun & Insomnium with under water vocal effects. Whereas ‘Bad Blood’, synthesized sensations come streaming through your ears with the first few seconds being able to figure out if it’s keys or guitars; that is terrific production going on right there. Rechberger’s drumming kicks you so far up your ass you are bound to be stunned by the hard work gone into the song. We are going back to the ‘Elegy’ years with the next track ‘The Skull’. Are you feeling incredibly sexy? Those thoughts have that song written all over it. I would also like to add the surprising Dragonforce sound-a-like shred towards the end. I don’t know if it’s a good add-on but it certainly doesn’t dispute the track itself. A lyrics video was released for ‘Death of a King’ and as soon as I heard this, excluding the yoga-feels, I felt as though the bass is heard clearly in this song only. What makes up for that is the outstanding blend of that and the sitar to make it one of the most interesting tracks on the album. ‘Sacrifice’, having a music video put online on the 21st August is the safest song they could put out. It is simplistic yet a good Amorphis song. I reckon this was used to expect the unexpected which I think is very clever of the band to do.
‘Dark Path’, possibly my favourite track, has every member stepping into their own spotlight and together they accompany each other fantastically, musically & productively. The progressive ‘Enemy At The Gates’ blooms Symphony X and Dream Theater with a touch of hellish growls from the almighty Tomi Joutsen. ‘Tree Of Ages’ cries out Eluveitie with splashes of Elvenking added into the mix; which for me is the most unusual song Amorphis have recorded yet I want to go and down many tankards of beer and dance like any drunk-ass idiot would. We conclude with ‘White Night’ which again we see the band experiment with their progressive roots plus a special guest female vocalist who’s name I unfortunately cannot find out. The sitar makes its final appearance combining with the vicious growls together in their heavy chorus. Vocals from both parties bring out the power ballad which isn’t very Amorphis, but it ends the album on a massive high.
Amorphis once again do not fail to impress with their memorising choruses and technicality they bring to light. They are a blessing, live and on album. Although it is sad to say that Etelävuori’s bass is unheard in the mix apart from the one track as mentioned. But in all honesty, with various genres and a huge amount of mesmerising vocals, clean and harsh, what other negativity could I give? Amorphis’ sound & production improves greatly on every recording and I have no doubt you would be proud to have this release in your greatest album collection. The overall conclusion? ‘Under The Red Cloud’ is beyond fascinating; it is another magnificent gift from the Gods of variation.