Nomen est omen. The times when the term amorphis (insignificant) perfectly described this band from Finland are far behind us. From relatively brutal death metal debut The Karelian Ishtmus to progressive and impressive heavy rock album Am Universum,. Amorphis have always demonstrated braveness. Everything started falling to pieces with release Far From The Sun, mostly because of the chronic lack of inspiration of Pasi Koskinen.
Style diversity was one of the trademarks of this band. Under The Red Cloud is their 12th album and another classic one. Production is at its highest level. They have never sounded so polished. Finally we have a release that is worth putting in the player year after year.
Title track Under The Red Cloud is one of the most amazing tracks they have ever made. Chorus hits what it needs to hit. Precise vocal is maybe the biggest strength of this song and demonic growl at the end is magnificent. I can say that the whole album is the lead singer’s small triumph. Another esteemed song is The Four Wise Ones with massive and aggressive tones that lead you to black metal universe.
Their creativity shines on progressive Bad Blood, another song that easily be one of their best songs ever. Hardcore mid-tempo riffs, breaking growl and clean chorus create a spectacular atmosphere of the track. Rhythmic Death Of A King is a nostalgic call for the peak of their career, Elegy from 1995. Even though this song is really catchy, I would never put her in the same basket as Better Unborn or Greed.
Inspiration slows down in the middle of the record. Sacrifice is pop metal lame ass track that sound like they are amateurs. I don’t get it why it was chosen as the first single. It is radio friendly but not fan friendly.
Massive Dark Path and Enemy at the Gates compensate for every failure. With Nordic psychedelic sections in Enemy at The Gates, I was on my way to the moon.
To conclude, Under The Red Cloud is comparable to epic Tales From The Thousand Lakes and Elegy. I must admit I still believe Amorphis has better albums, I rarely have a chance to hear such an amazing synthesis of death metal, classic heavy metal, hard rock and folk.