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Amorphis
Far From The Sun
July 2003
Released: 2003, EMI / Virgin
Rating: 4.2/5
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen

Amorphis can easily be considered one of the longest running and most known metal bands from Finland that have constantly kept on trying to sound innovative and original – and have determinedly made their distinctive metal music on their own terms only, not caring a bit what others might think of their kind of ´barrier-breaking´ approach when developing and progressing their sound from one album to another album. The band´s previous two albums, TUONELA and AM UNIVERSUM, kind of never got a real opportunity to ´grow on me,´ probably by virtue of being a bit too progressive for my own liking. Undoubtedly, both of the albums had their precious moments-- “Alone”, “Goddess (of the Sad Man)”, “The Way”, “Morning Star”, “Greed”, etc. – all deliciously good songs!). As a whole, however, both of those albums, weren´t something that I originally expected from them back in the day. Both albums just lacked... well.. ´something...´. I really cannot put my finger on it. Maybe I think they need more groove, a more straight-forward approach and, overall, a bit more simple song arrangements for my tiny mind? That probably would have worked a bit better even for my somewhat ´picky´ tastes.



On FAR FROM THE SUN, the band´s 6th album, the Amorphis dudes have simplified their song structures a little bit; not that drastically, but just a little bit so that you can recognize almost right away that something has happened to the band´s general sound since they recorded both TUONELA and AM UNIVERSUM. As you start sinking your ears into the songs a bit more carefully, you will notice that a vast amount of that needed groove has been added into their songs and the main focus seems to be more on a guitar-orientated approach on the whole as compared with the band´s two previous albums that I just referred to. FAR FROM THE SUN contains a somewhat solid package of songs that stick like gum on the back of your just recently ironed trousers. The album´s opener, “Day of Your Beliefs”, most probably is one of the catchiest and most easily-adopted Amo tunes that the guys have composed for a couple of years... no kidding, folks! Especially the chorus part for it is, to say it the simpliest way possible, just damn irresistible. Next a couple of songs, “Planetary Misfortune” and “Evil Inside”, introduce us to a heavier, groovier and more straight Amorphis than what we have heard from them on either “Tuonela” or “Am Universum”. It´s the kind of Amorphis I´d personally like to get know better--less prog-orientated and more heavily rockin´.



“Mourning Soil”, “Far from the Sun”, nearly ballad-like and even a bit Pink Floyd´ish “Ethereal Solitude” in some measure - and basically the rest of the songs just prove that Amorphis are in good shape nowadays, being re-fueled again by a good dose of catchy song ideas. I strongly believe that if you dig Amorphis´ past two albums, you´ll probably like FAR FROM THE SUN even more. That´s exactly what happened to me anyway and without lying a half second, F.F.T.S. has been the most welcomed guest in my CD-player lately.



The band said ´goodbye´ to their (Death) Metal roots a couple of eternities ago, which may have been ´too much to handle´ for some of the puritans who probably left them after the band´s best selling album, TALES FROM THE THOUSAND LAKES. The past is past, whining is unnecessary and Amorphis is in better shape than on their last couple of albums, so accept it and shut your mouth. Dig it. Love it. I did.
Track Listing

01. Day of Your Beliefs
02. Planetary Misfortune
03. Evil Inside
04. Mourning Soil
05. Far from the Sun
06. Ethereal Solitude
07. Killing Goodness
08. God of Deception
09. Higher Ground
10. Smithereens

Lineup

Pasi Koskinen – Vocals
Esa Holopainen – Lead Guitar
Tomi Koivusaari – Rhythm Guitars
Niclas Etelävuori – Bass
Santeri Kallio – Keyboards
Jan Rechberger – Drums


Next review: » Amorphis - Far From The Sun
Previous review: » Amorphis - Eclipse

Amorphis
Far From The Sun
October 2004
Released: 2004, Nuclear Blast
Rating: 2.8/5
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland

Over the course of the last couple of releases, Finland’s Amorphis have evolved from their original doom metal sound to become a hard/alt rock band. Much like Katatonia and Anathema, Amorphis have wiped their hands of their former style and they seem quite happy to leave it in the past, thank you very much. The band’s detractors will cry “sell-out” but in my opinion, a “sell-out” is when a band plays music that they are not doing for themselves but for commercial gain. FAR FROM THE SUN is not going to be hitting the Top 40 charts any time soon and there is still some edge to their music without drifting into growls and frenzied double bass drumming. Will the new sound lose them some fans? After the initial offerings of TALES FROM THE THOUSAND LAKES and ELEGY, the new direction already has, but truth be told, while it lacks the metallic punch of their previous works, FAR FROM THE SUN is still a decent album. There are hook-filled melodies, Eastern influences, the presence of a Moog synthesizer and even some calypso/reggae beats. This is some progressive stuff, but really lacks any punch. FAR FROM THE SUN is a good way to spend an hour if you can keep from nodding off or that long.



The music on FAR FROM THE SUN is quite eclectic and may be difficult for some listeners to grasp. Hell, I’m not sure I get it myself! The extremely infectious lead-off track, “Day of Your Beliefs,” is catchy as nobody’s business. Pasi Koskinen has since left the band, but his vocals on this track are melodic perfection. The Middle Eastern influences are present on “Planetary Misfortune” and “Higher Ground” and snake their way through your speakers. The global exploration continues on with calypso/reggae beats coming into “Ethereal Solitude.” While interesting, it doesn’t really work too well and just seems awkward. “Smithereens” features a Moog synthesizer that captures the mood and hearkens back to the 70s when the instrument was popular.



FAR FROM THE SUN was released in Europe in May 2003, but is just getting a North American release now. As part of the package, five bonus tracks have been included as well as a music video for “Evil Inside.” Out of the bonus tracks, the only one that really stands out is “Dreams of The Damned.” Koskinen’s clean vocal is very effective in the chorus and Esa Holopainen’s leads shake things up a bit.



FAR FROM THE SUN is a bit unfocused and sees the band trying to find itself a new identity. I hate to call it boring, but there is just too much experimentation going on here and the whole album seems overlong and messy. I’m the furthest from an “all metal, all the time” kind of guy, but after an hour without any real change in pace or tempo, you may find yourself far from awake listening to this CD.



KILLER KUTS: “Day of Your Beliefs,” “Planetary Misfortune,” “God of Deception,” “Higher Ground,” “Dreams of The Damned”
Track Listing

1. Day of Your Beliefs
2. Planetary Misfortune
3. Evil Inside
4. Mourning Soil
5. Far From The Sun
6. Ethereal Solitude
7. Killing Goodness
8. God of Deception
9. Higher Ground
10. Smithereens
11. Shining Turns To Grey (Bonus Track)
12. Follow Me Into The Fire (Bonus Track)
13. Darkrooms (Bonus Track)
14. Dreams of The Damned (Bonus Track)
15. Far From The Sun (Acoustic Version) (Bonus Track)
**Bonus Video: Evil Inside

Lineup

Pasi Koskinen—Vocals
Esa Holopainen—Lead Guitar
Tomi Koivusaari—Rhythm Guitar
Niclas Etelavuori—Bass
Santeri Kallio—Keyboards
Jan Rechberger—Drums


Next review: » Amorphis - Magic & Mayhem – Tales From The Early Years
Previous review: » Amorphis - Eclipse





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