Amorphis - _Am Universum_
(Relapse / Nuclear Blast, 2001)
by: Pedro Azevedo (
I won't go as far as saying that Amorphis have completely lost the plot, but I did find the extent to which _Am Universum_ could have been much better as a four-song MCD than it is as an album rather remarkable. The first four tracks are all quite good, very much what might be expected of the band after _Tuonela_ [CoC #39], and things seem to be headed for a very reasonable follow-up record. Then the rather dismal "Crimson Wave" makes its appearance and the record never again seems to recover. I feel the band has been going downhill since their finest hour, _Elegy_ [CoC #10] -- not a steep descent, but it has been quite noticeable for me. Their style hasn't changed much this time: still melodic, psychedelic... metal? I'm not sure; probably not, but who cares as long as Amorphis would be as downright brilliant as they have been in the past? Indeed, Amorphis have never been the most predictable of bands, and neither _Elegy_ nor _Tuonela_ enjoyed immediate success in my CD player -- _Elegy_ then became one of my favourite records of all time and _Tuonela_ I found a very respectable record in its own right. It seems to me that _Am Universum_ is actually in some ways the least different record from its predecessor that Amorphis have ever released. So why the disappointment? Well, after the four song MCD-that-never-was which opens the album is over, most of the material just falls short of the standards set by past Amorphis work in terms of its enjoyability and effect on the listener. In my opinion, _Am Universum_ is a somewhat tame, lightweight and not very inspired record by Amorphis standards, lacking some of the emotional and atmospheric qualities of its predecessors. A very decent record, by all means, but overall quite far from the quality I expected from Amorphis.
(article published 12/8/2001)
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