Production - 8.9
Musicianship - 8.2
Creativity - 7.5
Replay Value - 7.4
Summary : Circle proves to be an additional solid effort to add to their extensive catalog.
It’s hard to think of a heavy metal band that has explored as many genres as Amorphis. These guys have done just about everything, from death metal, to melodeath, to doom, to progressive, to folk, and so on. They never stay in the same place for too long though, and constantly strive to evolve their sound as a band, demonstrated by their continued desire to explore and tread in new waters. Their progression from genre to genre may have been more noticeable back in the Tales from the Thousand Lake Days, as in recent albums, they seem to have found a nice mold in balancing all of them in one satisfying helping. What is presented to us in Circle is yet another consistently good offering.
Genre: Progressive Metal
Label: Nuclear Blast
Release: April 19, 2013
The last Amorphis album I have listened to chronologically was Silent Waters. What is found on Circle is basically the same concept, but they manage to keep things fresh. There is no bad song on the album, though not every track might grasp your attention immediately. That being said, some of their finest and prettiest melodies ever are on here. It seems that several melodic metal bands have been exploring Japanese melodies these days; think Wintersun’s Time. Amorphis follows suit, with the beautiful “Narrowpath” being one of the highlight tracks. A lovely flute intro that could easily be the voice of a nightingale is followed by crushing guitars that take it from there and develop it into one of their best songs ever. “A New Day” is another example, which serves as an excellent closing track. The band’s folk influence continues to show, and they continue to find new methods in doing so.
Songwriting should universally be considered the most important aspect of musicianship. Whether or not one can rightfully be called a musician should be based on their actual ability to make music. In this context, the guys in Amorphis are excellent musicians; they are ace songwriters, something that cannot be questioned. Their diverse musical background is constantly on display in their material, as they do a lot of stuff! They play their instruments very well, and utilize them in fun and creative ways. It’s always a real treat listening to an Amorphis album, because you never know what you’re going to get with each track. They take a song-by-song approach, execute it well, and don’t allow labels to limit their writing. One song might be composed of soothing piano melodies, while the track after could be popping out heavy riffs and vocalist Tomi Joutsen’s powerful death growls. Circle is like a box of chocolates; you never really know what you’re going to get but chances are it’s going to be sweet and savory.
Melody has always been the concept to Amorphis, so this is basically the same story, but a different version. That’s the keyphase: a different version. Amorphis always brings something special to the table, and they constantly push themselves to achieve excellence. The band is composed of a great group of songwriters who work with a very unique formula. They continue to exploit it well, and while the songs may be something in vein of their earlier work, Circle proves to be an additional solid effort to add to their extensive catalog, which goes to demonstrate that Amorphis is great at what they do. If the shoe fits wear it, and few can fill Amorphis’ big footsteps.
Highlight Tracks: Mission, Narrowpath, Enchanted by the Moon, A New Day
- Shades of Gray
- The Wanderer
- Narrow Path
- Hopeless Days
- Nightbird’s Song
- Into The Abyss
- Enchanted By The Moon
- A New Day
- Tomi Koivusaari – rhythm guitar
- Esa Holopainen – lead guitar
- Jan Rechberger – drums
- Santeri Kallio – keyboards
- Niclas Etelävuori – bass, backing vocals
- Tomi Joutsen – clean and growled vocals