There aren’t many bands whose 11th studio album could be regarded as one of their strongest but then Amorphis aren’t exactly a conventional metal band. After 10 years of working with Marco Hietala, these proggy Finns have enlisted the talent of über- producer Peter Tägtgren on The Circle and the results are astounding.
Whereas Marco’s production pushed things in a more Nightwish-style direction, the Pain frontman has taken them back to their death metal roots with a much heavier vibe that almost brings their sound full circle. Admittedly, there’s nothing on here quite as extreme as their earliest material, but there’s a noticeable darker edge despite all those supremely catchy choruses.
Mixing up Eastern scales on opener Shades Of Grey, classic singalong melodies on Mission and the jaunty Narrowpath, Amorphis have carved themselves a fresher, cleaner sound. With conceptual lyrics conjured up again by local artist and storyteller Pekka Kainulainen and plenty of gung-ho Viking metal attitude, The Circle is a simply stellar release.