The latest release from Amorphis, 2015’s ‘Under the Red Cloud’, sees the band continuing to push their melodic progression. This record is a far cry from past classics, like ‘Tales from the Thousand Lakes’, which was a progressive, death-doom record. Over the years, Amorphis have adopted a distinctive, melodic death metal style that has resulted in a consistency that few bands have been able to match. All of this, mind you, while never losing their progressive roots.
The opening track, which is the title track, starts things off as wonderfully as could have been possible. Oh, that melody! Those hooks! It doesn’t get much better than that. This is a testimony to what this band does so well: they’re able to create challenging, progressive music while simultaneously crafting some of the catchiest, most infectious songs around. Guess what? If you like this aspect of later-period Amorphis, you’re in for a real treat, because this record just keeps on giving. ‘Bad Blood’, ‘The Skull’, and ‘Death of a King’ are all guilty of having stupendously infectious melodies and vocal hooks. This aspect of the record simply can’t be overlooked. It dominates the entire production.
Now, some of you old-school Amorphis fans and fans of the death metal of the early-mid ’90s might be thinking that Amorphis have gone a bit soft over the years. Be cautious in this view. Amorphis are still very much a death metal band, they’ve just simply been able to expand their sound in directions that few death metal bands have been able to do. Remember that, yes, though they’re a death metal band, they’re also a progressive metal band, but above all else, they’re Amorphis. A truly singular presence in today’s musical climate. Although the record does have its down moments towards the second half of the record (Yes, after all of that hero worship, reality does set in), this is still an excellent record that reaches damn close to perfection at times. These guys don’t appear to be going anywhere fast anytime soon. Thank God for that. God bless Amorphis.