2023 press on custom galaxy merge vinyl
Amorphis are yet another band that became popular after turning their sound to a progressive influenced pop/rock one, rather than the innovative, raw and punishing death metal to be found on this release. Unlike many other bands of the time, Amorphis were rooted in an old school death metal sound however slightly tweaked it by introducing keyboards and an influence from bands like Nihilist and Carnage, despite being Finnish and not Swedish. Production here is an incredibly heavy sound reminiscent of the early Swedish death metal bands, but just seems all the more punishing. Even though the sound is raw and heavy nothing is lost as every last note can be heard clearly, twisting through your mind. Every so often there are some unusual moments like the clean break in Black Embrace, or the introduction of the aforementioned keyboards, but when you look at the overall picture, Amorphis were just playing highly effective and innovative death metal. It may be because Finland did not have the “scene” attitude or opportunity as others areas that forged their own sound, but the Finnish bands from the period all seem to have something original, Demilich being the other obvious example as well as the band covered on this release, Abhorrence. The guitars generally take a more tremelo based sound, mixing it up with the odd thrashier or sometimes doom or heavy metal influenced sections. I always find that this style of songwriting requires great skill as adding more rocky influences can sometimes overide the originality and create something that is catchy but nothing more. However, along with bands like Rotting Christ, this band has enough skill to pull it off. Their work has a mainly death metal feeling, but also uses excellent melodic continuity to pervert the faster and heavier material with the best parts of heavy or doom metal, leading to an atmosphere that is both punishing and beautiful. Vocals are a coarse, guttural growl similar to those of other early Swedish death metal bands, but is also original in the almost whispery effect that Tomi Koivusaari pulls off. This gives more off an eerie feeling than other deeper vocalists who appear to be all out going for the jugular without contributing much to the album as a whole. This slight unique point is very effective to the music and the backing vocals present in some tracks only add to the experience. Song structure is highly of note and probably my favourite part of this release. Riffs twist and turn around the thick drum sound normally sprawling out to an epic conclusion using the variation mentioned before from the keys or doom metal influence. The songs truly take your mind on a long and epic journey, never adhereing to the chorus heavy, rock based songs they would release later in their career. Along with the first two full lengths, these releases should be in any serious death metal fan’s collection. So despite the questionable direction of the bands later albums, do not fear, this release will leave you crushed as much as it will have you leaning back in awe.
1. Pilgrimage From Darkness
2. Black Embrace
3. Privilege Of Evil
4. Misery Path
5. Vulgar Necrolatry-Abhorrence cover
6. Excursing From Existence