Amorphis Circle

Amorphis Circle
8
If you've been listening to Amorphis for a while, and Circle at first sounds like more of the same, don't walk away; hit play again and listen a little harder. Not that you'd be entirely wrong: folk, prog, death metal and pure rock'n'roll perform an intricate, genre-tangling dance throughout, with a familiar Finnish lilt. As you might expect, shifts in tone and intensity flow through individual songs, not between them, propelling the record forward until it ends just a little too soon. Some tracks, like first single "Hopeless Days" or "Enchanted by the Moon," begin epic and doomy, but quickly morph into something more spacious and light, even crooning. Others, like "Nightbird's Song," start out with an almost tentative guitar lead, only to suddenly boom and growl, before shifting into a more melodic chorus line. There's a sense of generosity in how various band members and guest performers share the spotlight, at times, passing solo lines between guitar, flute and keyboards, making Circle feel very much like a group effort. Yes, the 11th Amorphis album directly follows what has come before. But it also proves that Amorphis are nowhere near exhausting the possibilities of the sound they've cultivated, to exquisite effect. (Nuclear Blast)