AMORPHIS, which is among the top dark metal acts in Northern Europe, and reached number 1 on the Finnish charts five times, has wowed fans and critics for over 30 years with its melancholic yet heavy soundscapes. After announcing their forthcoming fourteenth studio album, "Halo," which was released on February 11, 2022 via Atomic Fire last month, the waiting time ended when the sextet presented the world with the
first single from the album.
Lyricist Pekka Kainulainen comments: "I have made various drawings and paintings on this subject over the years. Now, in addition,
I wrote some heavy metal lyrics ... This is a love song."
Guitarist Esa Holopainen adds: "It's a very atmospheric and catchy song that represents well what AMORPHIS sounds like in 2021."
Once again adorned with artwork provided by Valnoir (ALCEST, PARADISE LOST, etc.), Jens Bogren (Fascination Street Studios) recorded, produced and mixed "Halo" while Tony Lindgren handled the mastering.
Rock and metal music has always been a haven for those with bigger stories to tell; they have bigger emotions to convey. For more than thirty years, the Finnish AMORPHIS front men have done their best to carve out a place for heartfelt yet aggressive, melancholic yet relaxing melodies. In "Halo", their astonishing 14th studio work, the Finns underscore its pioneering status as one of the most original, culturally relevant and rewarding acts
to ever emerge from the land of a thousand lakes.
In the past, mythology and legend took on the role of today's pop culture: stories and a set of values that unite us by giving us a voice and a tapestry in which we can find and identify with something. By weaving the tales of Finnish national eras »Kalevala« into its songs and performing them in a timeless way, AMORPHIS combines the role of ancient minstrels and luminaries of the modern world,
honoring tradition without getting stuck in the past.
The vibrant, lively and poignant beauty that is "Halo" highlights its musicianship and storytelling on a once again dizzying level: it is a masterpiece of progressive, melodic and quintessentially melancholic heavy metal drawn from the fickle vacuum of inspiration of the original guitarists. Holopainen and Tomi Koivusaari, bassist Olli-Pekka Laine, drummer Jan Rechberger, keyboardist Santeri Kallio and vocalist Tomi Joutsen, the band's longtime lyrical conscience Pekka Kainulainen and a select group of world-class audio professionals led by renowned Swedish producer Jens Bogren. Considering the band's long journey to the forefront of groundbreaking metal music, it's hard to understand how AMORPHIS manages to raise the proverbial bar time and time again, delivering an ending more than worthy of the trilogy that began with
»Under The Red Cloud «From 2015, followed by» Queen of time «from 2018.
"It really is a great feeling that we can still produce very decent music as a band," says Holopainen, founding member of AMORPHIS. "Maybe a certain kind of self-criticism and a long experience will culminate in these last albums." For the composer himself, »Halo« sounds familiar and different. "It's AMORPHIS completely recognizable from start to finish, but the overall atmosphere is a little heavier, more progressive and also organic compared to its predecessor," he explains.
Tomi Joutsen, the man with vocal cords who can unleash colossal, bear-like growls as well as sing soothing and fascinating lullabies, adds: "To me,» Halo «sounds a bit more straightforward compared to» Queen. Of Time 'and' Under The Red Cloud '. Don't get me wrong though: when a certain song needs to sound great, it sounds great. " He's right, of course: By removing some of the arrangements,
the monumental moments become even more monumental.
That's, of course, also thanks to revival producer Jens Bogren, who harvested the final eleven tracks from a batch of thirty songs that AMORPHIS offered him. "Jens is very demanding, but I really like working with him," says Holopainen. "He takes care of the whole project from start to finish, and allows the musician to focus on playing. I may not be able to thank Jens enough. Everything we've done together has been really great, and this cooperation has led to to AMORPHIS significantly forward. "
Indeed. Starting with the stormy grandeur of the 'Northwards' opener, AMORPHIS takes us on an epic journey through the Northlands, its rich cultural and historical heritage and musical traditions. This is not just an album for fans or metal connoisseurs. It's a must-have for all imaginative minds who have a soft spot for cinematic soundscapes, triumphant melodies, and breathtaking dynamics that measure the limits of light and dark.
However, no AMORPHIS album would be complete without the imaginative and poetic narration of renowned lyricist and "Kalevala" expert Pekka Kainulainen. "From day one, Pekka has always been an enthusiastic and prolific AMORPHIS lyricist," says Joutsen. "It's a slow process of translating archaic Finnish poetry into English and adapting it to our progressive rhythms. Fortunately, Pekka does everything on time and with great care." Since 2007's "Silent Waters", Kainulainen has been navigating the mythological waters of his homeland with great skill and respect. For "Halo", he outdid himself once again. "» Halo «is a single themed album full of adventure stories about the mythical North tens of thousands of years ago," he explains. "The lyrics speak of an ancient time when man wandered towards these abandoned boreal frontiers after the ice age.
I describe the resurgence of a seminal culture in a world of new opportunities, I also try to reach the everlasting forces of the human mind. "
Thirty-one years after its inception, with countless world tours under its belt and fourteen albums in the depths of its career, AMORPHIS still proves to be the musical source of an extraordinary band that constantly reinvents itself without abandoning its mystical roots. With »Halo«, they deliver an astonishing album that deserves to be played everywhere, transcending the realms of metal and rock for its sheer depth and musicality.
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