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Amorphis - 'Halo' Album Review


Tracklist:

1. Northwards

2. On The Dark Waters

3. The Moon

4. Windmane

5. A New Land

6. When The Gods Came

7. Seven Roads Come Together

8. War

9. Halo

10. The Wolf

11. My Name Is Night


Amorphis were not a band who had crossed my path before, so I went into this album with absolutely no idea what to expect from them. However, one song in and I already knew that this was going to be an album that would become a favourite going forwards.


To start, the overall sound and mix of this album is great. It’s just so full – everything sounds epic and it really pulls you in, which is important for any album, but particularly one of mid-tempo Metal like this one. The vocal differences between the screaming, Death-Metal vocals and the melodic but still fierce sung vocals is a definite highlight here, with the combination of the two melding together to produce something quite special. Some bands with two different vocal styles suffer from sounding like two different bands performing the same song, but that’s not the case here. Throughout the album, this band know exactly when the song needs to soar and when it needs to scream.


Focussing on the vocals shouldn’t negate the rest of the band either. This album is riff-tastic, full of chunky, galloping riffs and chord sequences that are memorable and exciting, while the solos (both guitar and keyboard), all add to the songs they are a part of, rather than feeling like a necessary evil.


As you can probably tell from the tone of the first half of the review, I liked this album a lot. Some songs are stronger than others, for sure, but they are all interesting, with changes in structure and time signature peppered throughout them. My top three tracks on the album are “A New Land”, which feels like an entire story in itself, both musically and lyrically, “War” which loves to serve you up subtle time and mood changes throughout, including the appearance of a surprise choir, which sounds like a strange choice, but perfectly fits the epic nature of the piece.

But my favourite track on the album has to be the title track itself, “Halo”. This has an incredibly memorably riff that will burrow its way into your head and be there for days, the verse feels slightly off kilter by being in 7/8 time, and the chorus is the sort of chorus that you can imagine an entire venue screaming along to, singing the word “Halo” as loudly and raucously as possible.


The short version is that I liked this album very much. This album is atmospheric, exciting and full of songs that will live rent-free in your head for quite some time. If you like your Metal loud, full and epic, then this is a great new album to sink your teeth into.




Review - Michael Braunton


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