Amorphis – Towards And Against

September 2, 2009

Today’s MSMOTD

Amorphis – Towards And Against (buy this song)

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There is so much good music coming out of Finland these days, especially in terms of melodic metal.  Bands like Nightwish, Stratovarius, HIM, Apocalyptica (rock/metal done by electric cello!), Children of Bodom, Turisas, Sonata Arctica etc etc.  It’s not limited to metal, as Finland also spawned ultra-famous electronica outfits like Darude and Oceanlab.  Finnish metal masters Amorphis are among the premiere musical exports of Finland, and should need no introduction, but alas, they are relatively unknown in North America.  Their music has shifted over time, and is now a smooth blend of ultra-melodic rock, folksy acoustic guitars and heavier metal sensibilities.  They’re pretty accessible, with killer melodies/hooks and only a light sprinkling of the growled vocals that non-metal listeners love to hate.

Amorphis has been around for nearly 20 years, and is notable because their lyrics are often very poetic.  Their last 3 albums, including the latest release – “Skyforger”, are a conceptual trilogy featuring lyrics based on the Kalevala, which is considered Finland’s national epic (poem), much like the Aeneid for Ancient Rome, Beowulf for England, or Green Eggs and Ham for the United States.  There’s such a large body of work here (10+ albums) that I’m just going to focus on their most recent material, though their albums from the late 90s (such as “Tuonela” and “Elegy”) are also fantastic.

Trees and Fire are popular subjects for metal album cover art, especially Fire AND Trees.  At least there arent any dragons.

Trees and Fire are popular subjects for metal album cover art, especially Fire AND Trees. At least there aren't any dragons. This is the cover of their latest album - "Skyforger"

I’ve been rocking out to Towards And Against for two years now, ever since the 2007 release of “Silent Waters”.  The mix of deep synth pulses and echoing killer guitar riffs right at the beginning (and throughout) really does it for me, as does the slightly exotic clean vocal melody that follows.  The song is ultra melodic, even during the passages which feature growled vocals, and hard to resist headbanging uncontrollably during the riff that follows at 1:13 ->  “How to break!!”  *headbanging*.  The final refrain, from which the song gets its name, is especially awesome because they combine the clean and growled vocals:  Because of treason I now shall leave/because of my blood burning my soul/and now I raise this flaming sword/towards darkness, against everyone.  The whole song sounds like it’s echoing across a mountain range, swirling through the Finnish dusk.  I use the opening synth/guitar riff as a ringtone on my cell, haha.  Works great because I get to rock out every time that friend calls.

(Silent Waters, the title track from their 2007 album.  I wanted to post the video for Silver Bride from “Skyforger”, but the youtube/vimeo versions were crap.) (buy this song)

For those of you who aren’t into the heavier/progressive sound of the MSMOTD, I’ve posted another song below which you might enjoy more.  Enigma is also from “Silent Waters”, but is purely acoustic with clean vocals.  It’s a gorgeous song which, in hilariously Finnish fashion, is about one man’s quest to capture the Devil’s moose (!?).  The devil apparently had both a prized moose and a golden stallion, not to mention a bird who resided in the (one and only) stream of death.  I think I need to read the Kalevala.

The second song below is Sky Is Mine, from the most recent album – 2009′s “Skyforger”.  It is a lighter, but still fairly aggressive, rocker with a really catchy chorus and memorable echoing guitar riff.  The purely clean vocals are great, and the song conjures up a lot of atmosphere.  It’s dreamy and fuzzy, like a memory from the distant past.  There’s even a synth solo!  Great stuff.

Let me know what you think of Amorphis!  I’ve been listening to them for a long time.  Their consistantly catchy music is a lot of fun, so I hope you dig them too.  Leave a comment with your thoughts!

- Mons

More music from Amorphis

Amorphis – Enigma (buy this song)

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Amorphis – Sky Is Mine (buy this song)

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Further info about today’s MSMOTD

Official Website: http://www.amorphis.net/

Myspace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/amorphis

Wikipedia Article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amorphis

Featured Review: Alex’s review of “Skyforger” for The Metal Observer

Support Amorphis (and me!) by purchasing “Silent Waters” and “Skyforger“, both of which are incredible albums.

3 Responses to “Amorphis – Towards And Against”

  1. While metal isn’t my favourite of genres, this MSMOTD was very interesting, for several reasons:

    I’m actually reading Beowulf right now, and “Toward and Against” is THE perfect soundtrack to the entire poem, and you’re right about the vocals: very clean even when growling, which I suspect is hard to do!

    All I could think when listening to “Enigma” is that the Devil’s Moose sounds like a freaking awesome beverage which we will sadly probably never sell at Starbucks…(although I suppose one could invent said beverage….:D)

    I like the energy in “Sky Is Mine”, and overall found the cover art for Amorphis’ album an interesting study in opposites with that of Amethystium a few entries back.

  2. “HELLO CHAPTERS SHOPPERS! Are you looking for a romp with your tastebuds? Well come on up to Chapters to check out our featured drink, the DEVIL’S MOOSE! A quatro blend of Starbuck’s exclusive Brazen Brandy and Lecherous Tequila. Upon your first sip you’ll be all RILED up to plagerize Mons’ piano pieces, harrass fellow timid costumers, and eat our seal rump nut loaf. Thanks for choosing Chapters and make yourself a brilliant day.”

    Now that’s an annoucement I’d be down to conduct, haha. My apologies for utterly digressing from original subject matter. Keep posting!

  3. “…Green Eggs and Ham for the United States.”

    har har.

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