The twelfth full-length studio album by legendary Finnish Melodic Folk/Gothic Metal band.
Founded in 1990 in Helsinki, Melancholic Metal masters wrote music history, incl. classic albums like their debut "The Karelian Isthmus" (1992), their breakthrough "Tales From The Thousand Lakes" (1994) and "Eclipse" (2006) - their first album with the new vocalist Tomi Joutsen, which marked the beginning of a new era in the band‘s history.
Now Amorphis kicked off the celebrations for the band's 20th anniversary of "Tales From The Thousand Lakes", which delights the masses even today. Regardless of their relentless touring schedule, they secretly returned to the studio to write and record their forthcoming, twelfth record, with famous producer Jens Bogren (Soilwork, Kreator, etc.) at his Fascination Street Studio in Örebro. The result of this two-month recording session is once again a heavy, melodic statement, called "Under The Red Cloud". During the recordings, the sextet was joined by some famous guest musicians: Chrigel Glanzmann (Eluveitie) played flutes on "The Four Wise Ones", "Death of a King" and "Tree of Ages"; Martin Lopez (ex-Opeth drummer) played percussions on "Death of a King" and Aleah Stanbridge (Trees Of Eternity) sang guest vocals on "The Four Wise Ones", "Sacrifice" and "White Night".
A perfect example for the variety and feel is the first single "Death of a King". It starts with an oriental melody & crashing drums, and has a lot of dynamics. The follow-up "Sacrifice" is more upbeat and relies more on the soaring lead melody, like the opener "Under the Red Cloud", which starts with a tension-creating piano intro. The title track flows over into the double bass-dominated and one of the most aggressive songs on the album - "The four Wise Ones".
"Under The Red Cloud" stands tall as its own album. Everything fits snugly together, and there’s a real sense of confidence exuding from each band member in their respective craft. Amorphis have risen yet again to the challenge, and show no signs of backing down soon. If this is the standard that the band holds itself to right now, it’s astonishing to ponder where they’ll be going in the future. Furthermore, each member of Amorphis continues to improve and fire on all cylinders with each release. Vocalist Tomi Joutsen transitions from clean to harsh vocal styles almost effortlessly, accompanying the musical shifts from soft to straight up heavy. Guitarists Esa and Tomi provide rhythms, riffs, and solos that can easily be sung, which are accompanied by aggressive, yet almost gentle low end from bassist Niclas Etelävuori. Santeri Kallio’s keyboard complements the music in a way that is crucial, a great addition to Folk-inspired Metal. Rounding out Amorphis behind the drum kit is Jan Rechberger, whose drum parts provide the solid foundation that each song requires, never overplaying and always finding an ideal balance between groove and flair.
Elements of Folk have always been an important part of the music that Amorphis creates, and this remains unchanged to this day. One of the best examples of this element on "Under The Red Cloud" is heard in songs such as “Death of a King”, as well as “Enemy at the Gates” and “Tree of Ages”. Solid Metal with folk influence peppered throughout, a recipe for great music. Other tracks, such as “Sacrifice” and “Dark Path” undoubtedly contain more of these elements, but more specifically focus on steady, hard, and heavy flow.
Any substantial album would not be complete without a solid closer, and "Under The Red Cloud" is no exception. The album concludes with “White Night”, which combines emotional melody with aggressive attack to perfection. The addition of female vocals on this song works extremely well, and the album finishes on a high note, signaling the end of yet another release from a band that only seems to improve with time. "White Night" marks a kind of summary of the album, because it contains some trademarks of other songs like an oriental feeling or driving double bass drumming at the end. So it’s a worthy last chapter of the story, Amorphis are telling us this time.
Amorphis is back, and "Under The Red Cloud" is definitely a 2015 release worthy of your time and attention! "Under The Red Cloud" is a 50-minute offering of a more varied brand of Amorphis. It features memorable moments, an edgier sound and above all, killer tracks. This new album is easily on par with their best albums to date, if not better!!
Nuclear Blast Records, 2015 (NB 3211-1). Made in Germany. First press.
1. Under The Red Cloud 5:33
2. The Four Wise Ones 4:41
3. Bad Blood 5:23
4. The Skull 5:05
5. Death Of A King 5:14
6. Sacrifice 3:56
7. Dark Path 5:09
8. Enemy At The Gates 5:07
9. Tree Of Ages 4:37
10. White Night 5:15
11. Come The Spring 3:27
12. Winter's Sleep 6:37
Total playing time: 60:04