Amorphis - _Far From the Sun_
(Virgin, 2003)
by: Pedro Azevedo (5 out of 10)
You may have already noticed that Amorphis' ratings in CoC have been steadily decreasing with every album: _Elegy_ got a 9, _Tuonela_ an 8, and more recently _Am Universum_ was awarded 7 out of 10. The first two Amorphis records, _The Karelian Isthmus_ and _Tales From the Thousand Lakes_, are also a 9 out of 10 in my books, both of them highly influential albums at the time of their release. The same can be said about the band's third record _Elegy_, another musical milestone. All three were excellent desspite the marked differences between each other. Unfortunately, the second half of Amorphis' career seems to consist exclusively of mildly pleasant but ultimately inconsequential albums that fail to leave much of a mark. While _Tuonela_ still retained some of the more endearing characteristics of its predecessor and remains a very decent album in the band's discography, _Am Universum_ received only minimum required spinning in my CD player for a review. The Finns' new effort and Virgin Records debut, _Far From the Sun_, is practically guaranteed to follow the same path towards oblivion upon completion of this review. Not a trace of metal is left in _FFtS_'s folk rock, and unfortunately hardly a trace of real emotion can be found either. Despite all the good musicianship that stops me from lowering the rating any further, _Far From the Sun_ simply doesn't have any soul; it's bland and contrived where this band used to be brimming with creativity and feeling. There are a few redeeming bits, such as the second half of "God of Deception", but they are very sporadic. Even Pasi Koskinen's clean singing seems to have deteriorated rather than improved over time, as it remains relatively flat and lacklustre throughout compared to the band's much livelier past efforts. They got rid of _Am Universum_'s saxophone, but on the other hand the upbeat folk melodies occasionally veer dangerously towards the silly side of things this time around -- not that it never happened before, but this time it comes across as very annoying. The album as a whole isn't mind-numbingly bad, in spite of some of its tracks, but it is depressing to see this once great band 'evolving' step by step into musical irrelevance. After three classics in a row, I still found _Tuonela_ perfectly acceptable even by Amorphis' high standards; _Am Universum_ then left me rather doubtful of the band's future; and alas, _Far From the Sun_ has just dissipated those doubts.


(article published 29/5/2003)

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
10/24/2009 K Sarampalis 9 Amorphis - Skyforger
11/19/2007 J Ulrey 9.5 Amorphis - Silent Waters
2/17/2006 P Azevedo 7.5 Amorphis - Eclipse
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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