Amorphis are one of my favorite bands. I figured I should have full disclosure. They have been so consistent for so long now too. Yet, I think they are still very underrated within the metal community. They have a unique blend of melody, Finnish folk, stellar musicianship and technicality that when combined, which is what makes them sound like Amorphis.
“Under the Red Cloud” is their latest masterpiece. The songs on the album fall into categories of the Amorphis sound. Strong melody is always a key and songs like “Bad Blood,” “Sacrifice,” and the title track each have those BIG Amorphis melodies that have you singing along.
The band has always used Finnish folk and Middle Eastern tinged melodies. “Death of a King” has that exotic, Middle Eastern, sitar laden sound. “Tree of Ages” is very much that classic Finnish folk metal song that Amorphis is known for.
As for heaviness and technicality, the title track, “The Skull” and possibly my favorite track “Dark Path” have plenty of power and soloing to please all the progheads that love Amorphis. Tomi Joutsen is in top form on the whole album. Both his clean and harsh vocals make him one of my favorite singers. His harsh vocal is so clear that you don’t need a lyric sheet to understand him.
This actually leads to my one criticism of “Under the Red Cloud.” The use of a female singer for the verses on “White Night,” whist not being bad technically, feel out of place. I understand if the vocals perhaps are from a female perspective but I don’t like guest vocalists especially when a band has a singer of Tomi’s caliber. This is just a personnel preference. The vocals sound fine.
Amorphis deserve to be as well known as Opeth as far as I am concerned. The talent in this band has always been there. Esa Holopainen and Tomi Koivusaari are still a great guitar team. Holopainen and keyboardist Santeri Kallio write great music. And the rhythm section of bassist Niclas Etelävuori and drummer Jan Rechberger are tighter than ever. “Under the Red Cloud” keeps up the high standard that Amorphis has set for themselves and yes, it is another masterpiece from this great band.
1. Under The Red Cloud
2. The Four Wise Ones
3. Bad Blood
4. The Skull
5. Death Of A King
7. Dark Path
8. Enemy At The Gates
9. Tree Of Ages
10. White Night
11. Come The Spring (Bonus Track)
12. Winter’s Sleep (Bonus Track)