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Amorphis
Circle
Type: CD
Company: Nuclear Blast
Release: 2013
Genre: Heavy/Extreme
Reviewer: Eric Compton
Published: 3/25/2013
Another masterpiece
Man I love Amorphis. This Finnish band have created so many master works over their career, constantly evolving and developing into something truly creative and genre defying. Eleven albums total thus far and the band is still consistently injecting different aspects into each release, the beautiful poetic nuances that fulfill each release is just awe inspiring. Few bands of any genre can stay important and prominent their whole career yet Amorphis seem to have that uncanny ability to manifest in new and exciting ways. Thus "Circle" continues to display the dedication and extraordinary passion the band has exhibited over their lifespan.

The album appears courtesy of Nuclear Blast and produced by Peter Tagtgren (Hypocrisy, Pain) at Petrax Studio. This is the only time that I have seen Tagtgren produce a band outside of his Abyss Studio. The production is really raw with highs being slightly edgy and bordering on static while the lows really enhance the death metal moments of the album. This is a much more "pushed in" sound when compared to the group's previous efforts and is akin to what Paradise Lost recently did with their raw bottom heavy "Tragic Idol".

Obviously Amorphis have been exploring their early roots with recent re-recordings of earlier songs from "Karelian Istmus" (1992) and "Tales From The Thousand Lakes" (1994). The band showed off those extreme elements on the diverse "Beginning Of Times" in 2011 and follow that same format for this new venture. The album's opener, "Shades Of Gray"' is a brutally heavy number that has vocalist Tomi Joutsen utilizing his death vocals before soulfully bringing in a clean voice through the chorus. That same formula works perfectly on "Enchanted By The Moon" as well, a moving track that grows in intensity and shows Joutsen in rare form with some higher death vocals (conveniently similar to Peter Tagtgren). "Mission" is very similar to "Elegy" and "Eclipse", a mid-tempo track that has stirring melodies that are complimented by well placed cymbals and some backing keys. "Narrowpath" is signature Amorphis, an addictive melody that uses dual output from flutes and rhythm guitar (something Blind Guardian utilizes).

I can see a few new influences here as well, evident on "Hopeless Days" with its sinister keyboard notes that recalls Dark Tranquility, Cradle Of Filth or something ominous. That same sort of anxiety runs rampant on "Nightbird's Song", fast double bass and huge sweeping grooves that writes 90s Swedish death metal with Joutsen's guttural growls.

Overall this is yet another masterpiece and even better than the group's highly rated "Beginning Of Times". I rated that album a four and I am going to step up another half star to give this a near perfect. What is neglected? Well, just simply more songs are needed. This album runs nine tracks only and surely a band this talented and original can come up with a few more cuts. Nonetheless this is a masterpiece of epic proportions and would write the Finns into the hallowed halls on this record alone. At some point you would think the US would notice. Amorphis, Soilwork, Paradise Lost and Mustasch are the European purveyors of perfection and doing it by re-inventing the wheel.
About this Writer:
Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.

Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: AMORPHIS
CD
TITLE BAND
DOR
REVIEWER DATE
CircleAmorphis
2013
Eric Compton3/25/2013
EclipseAmorphis
2006
Eric Compton3/21/2006
Far From The SunAmorphis
2004
Ken Pierce7/25/2005
Silent WatersAmorphis
2007
Etiam1/11/2008
SkyforgerAmorphis
2009
Raising Iron7/17/2009
The Beginning Of TimesAmorphis
2011
Eric Compton6/3/2011


ALL SUMMARY REVIEWS FOR: AMORPHIS
TITLE BAND
DOR
REVIEWER DATE
Magic & Mayhem - Tales From the Early YearsAmorphis
2010
Ravana12/14/2010
Under the Red CloudAmorphis
2015
Eric Compton4/15/2016


ALL INTERVIEWS FOR: AMORPHIS
INTERVIEW BAND INTERVIEWER DATE


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