Amorphis - _Eclipse_
(Nuclear Blast, 2006)
by: Pedro Azevedo (7.5 out of 10)
I've known Amorphis for about as long as I've been listening to extreme metal. Perhaps that explains why it was that despite their trajectory remaining consistently disappointing for several years now, I still had to give their new album _Eclipse_ a chance. I hoped that _Far From the Sun_ would turn out to have been a low point from which the band would be able to recover with this new record. Maybe _Eclipse_ wouldn't reveal itself to be just another disappointment shrouded in a pretty album cover.

With Esa Holopainen and Tomi Koivusaari still in the band, Amorphis have swapped the distinctive vocals of Pasi Koskinen for one Tomi Joutsen (and also re-signed with Nuclear Blast, leaving Virgin behind). Somehow, the result is the first Amorphis album in a long time that isn't worse than its predecessor; in fact, it is actually significantly better. To a considerable extent and within what could be realistically expected, _Eclipse_ can be seen as a return to form for Amorphis. Compared to its predecessor _Far From the Sun_, it is certainly a much more inspired and enjoyable record. Furthermore, it also challenges and for the most part beats the band's 2001 effort _Am Universum_. I don't find it as good as 1999's _Tuonela_ -- and let's not even compare this to _Elegy_ or their death metal years -- but as far as I am concerned, _Eclipse_ is clearly a step in the right direction for the band.

While second track "House of Sleep" sounds uncannily similar to Paradise Lost, and the main riff on "Leaves Scar" is strongly reminiscent of Moonspell's "Alma Mater" (_Wolfheart_), _Eclipse_ will be mostly noted for its harkening back to the band's _Elegy_ and _Tuonela_ days. This return to the past doesn't happen all the time, but several melodies, riffs and arrangements do take you back a bit (e.g. "Under a Soil and Black Stone") -- it's mostly details, but it's pleasant nonetheless. There's none of the doomy tinge from those times to be found, but Amorphis seem to have reencountered much of their knack for creating memorable, engaging songs. Not every track is a winner, but the aforementioned duo "Leaves Scar" and "Under a Soil and Black Stone", and also "Born From Fire" and "The Smoke" are unlikely to disappoint any fans. New vocalist Tomi Joutsen delivers a good death growl, which is used much more often than on recent years: on three tracks, no less. His clean vocals are a competent, often slightly gruffer version of Pasi Koskinen's, so no real loss for Amorphis there.

What Amorphis will take things from here remains to be seen, but I for one will now be looking forward to their next record rather than dreading it.

Contact: http://www.amorphis.net

(article published 2/17/2006)


CHATS
5/19/1999 A Bromley Amorphis: Living Up to Their Name
5/13/1997 P Azevedo Amorphis: The Search for Perfect Melody
6/9/1996 G Filicetti Amorphis: The Alteration of All Norms
ALBUMS
10/24/2009 K Sarampalis 9 Amorphis - Skyforger
11/19/2007 J Ulrey 9.5 Amorphis - Silent Waters
5/29/2003 P Azevedo 5 Amorphis - Far From the Sun
8/12/2001 P Azevedo 7 Amorphis - Am Universum
5/19/1999 P Azevedo 8 Amorphis - Tuonela
5/10/1996 G Filicetti 9 Amorphis - Elegy
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