Amorphis’s recent evolution has been more creeping than leaping.
The ingredients remain largely the same: a folky sense of melody, proggy textures and structures, thunderous metal crunch and Tomi Joutsen’s velveteen vocals interspersed with some ferocious roars.
What varies is the quantity of each. The title track is one of their more folky, melodic numbers, with hooks and rhythms that make you want to sway with your eyes closed in between the headbanging passages – although they haven’t cut down on the metal heft.
The result is excellent, with the balance between the aggression (the almost black metal opening of The Four Wise Ones) and lyrically tuneful passages (the reel that underpins Tree Of Ages) skilfully handled, creating an engaging array of tunes that rivals Skyforger for the best thing from this incarnation of the band. This is about as close to bliss as a metal record with death growls gets.