AMORPHIS; try and find a meaning to this name. One can say that might had been taken from the Greek “morphi” and the privative affix a, which means something without shape. Given this rather ambitious 'translation' to the mighty Finns, it only seems fitting if you look back to their history more than 20 years from now. Counting 9 albums, ranging from death growls to power-like anthems and dark melodies, AMORPHIS never stay put into one musical direction. Now with “The Beginning Of Times”, their 10th album, they are tending to follow more progressive paths; the title, however, gives a slight hint of a certain return to roots.
It seems that AMORPHIS' second era, with Tomi Joutsen on vocals, gave to the band a good momentum and a steady progress with successful releases such as “Eclipse”, “Silent Waters” and “Skyforger”. In my humble opinion, though, AMORPHIS seems to lose their sense of “adventure” that was present in the days of “Tales…”, “Elegy” and “Tuonela”. Still the quality of their music is undeniable and this album isn’t an exception. “TBOT” is another concept record which tells the tale of a hero of the Finnish mythology, Väinämöinen and the creation of the world (hence the “egg” on the cover from the great Travis Smith) and, musically, it follows on the steps of its “ancestors” with a few twists.
Through all the listens some songs gave me a rather interesting “Elegy” feeling, like the opening song “Battle For Light”, “Song Of The Sage” and “Soothsayer”; fast rhythm, catchy chorus and memorable melodies. The (only?) single from the album is the “radio friendly” “You I Need” which is pretty similar, in “vibe”, with the previous album’s single “Silver Bride”, a “soft” and romantic yet powerful song, with piano keys and female backing vocals that stands out. “Mermaid”, another song with female backing vocals, together with the single mentioned above and “Reformation” consist the “soft” core of “TBOT”. On the “opposite” side “My Enemy”, “Escape”, “A Crack In Stone” and –personal favorite and most powerful song in the album- “Three Words” combine the lyricism and the brutality of old times with the melody and melancholy.
“TBOT” is a really diverse album and hard to understand at start. It is not as direct as “Eclipse”, as bleak as “Silent Waters” or as melodic as “Skyforger”; it is a fine mix of the above plus more brutal than all three of them. “TBOT” seems to be much similar to “Tales….” even though it can’t be considered as a masterpiece. Investing time in it,will reward you with some great AMORPHIS moments, forever to haunt your mind.
1. Battle For Light 2. Mermaid 3. My Enemy 4. You I Need 5. Song Of The Sage 6. Three Words 7. Reformation 8. Soothsayer 9. On A Stranded Shore 10. Escape 11. Crack In A Stone 12. Beginning Of Time
Tomi Joutsen - Vocals Tomi Koivusaari - Rhythm Guitar Esa Holopainen - Lead Guitar Santeri Kallio - Keyboards, Synthesizers, Piano, Organ Niclas Etelävuori - Bass Guitar Jan Rechberger - Drums, Percussion