3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
One of the best metal albums of 2009,
This review is from: Skyforger (Audio CD)Once in a while an album comes along that makes you wonder how your collection can ever have seemed complete without it. An album of such effortless brilliance that you are reminded just why you love music in the first place. An album that moves you in ways very few can; and which puts a smile on your face and a glow in your heart each time you play it.
I have followed Amorphis since the groundbreaking Elegy, a body of work that remains fresh 14 years later and which, at the time of its release, offered me the first taste of how metal could be fused successfully with other styles to create an entirely new sound. The wonderful, psychedelic-tinged Tuonela was a highlight for me in the years that followed, after which the ideas seemed to run dry. This once innovative band became somewhat bland, lacking the spark that had made them so distinctive in their earlier days.
A change of vocalist seemed to revitalise them, and a couple of decent albums (2006's Eclipse and 2007's Silent Waters) saw a move towards the quality of their earlier work, albeit without quite the same display of inspiration and creativity.
With Skyforger those missing elements have returned. The style is predominantly metal (of the melodic Finnish variety) but every shade of the complex Amorphis sound is allowed to shine. From soft piano, acoustic guitar and clean vocals to heavy riffing and (occasional) death growls, the album is beautiful and melancholic yet powerful and heavy. It captures Amorphis at their best, bringing together the most successful elements from their 20-year career and combining them into a varied and well-structured whole. The band shows a passion and a quality of songwriting that hasn't been evident since Tuonela, encompassing a wonderful array of ideas and styles with melodies that are fresh, memorable and captivating.
This is one of most inspired and expressive metal albums I have heard for some time. After a few years in which the quality of their releases was inconsistent, Amorphis have rediscovered their flair to create an album that outshines anything they have recorded for a decade. Skyforger is one the most impressive releases of 2009, and quite possibly the strongest of the band's career.