Amorphis Eclipse

Amorphis have dwelled in a bland, commercialised limbo for their past few releases, and while not a full on return to the traditionally rooted pomp of Tales from a Thousand Lakes, Eclipse is certainly the group’s strongest offering since Elegy. Recently acquired vocalist Tomi Joutsen proves to be the much needed kick in the pants for Amorphis — his throaty, emotional delivery adds a whole new sense of depth to the group’s sound, sorely missed in particular on their previous effort Far From the Sun. Yes, the death vocals are back. No, they are not predominant, but they certainly pack a punch — although their resemblance to Opeth front-man Mikael Akerfeldt’s formidable bellow is difficult to overlook. Musically speaking, Eclipse is closest to the aforementioned Elegy in approach, although the songs are generally shorter and more succinct, making it possibly the most energetic, involving Amorphis album yet. That being said, the fundamental flaw in all of their previous recordings has not been fully alleviated — while there are many stand out moments and the occasional hook, there are lengthy sections that seem to carry on aimlessly, and even a couple of all out stinkers. However, Amorphis are clearly regaining their footing after a troublesome few years, and if there was ever an opportunity for them to step up their game and realise their potential, it has arrived in the form of their most consistent release in over a decade. (Nuclear Blast)