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Under The Red Cloud
February 2016
Released: 2015, Nuclear Blast Records
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Waspman

In the monthly rush of album releases, somehow we here at Metal Rules missed reviewing this album back when it was released in September 2015. Given that Amorphis is one of my favorite bands, I decided it was time to correct that oversight.

Since the turn of the century, Amorphis has been one of the most consistently excellent bands in heavy metal. The only line up change they’ve had was the addition of the versatile Tomi Joutsen on vocals and that was back in 2004. Since then the band have released five remarkably good albums, with two 2007’s SILENT WATERS and 2009’s SKYFORGER ranking among my favorite albums of all time. High praise indeed, but Amorphis has become like a machine, cranking out dependable albums with nary a flaw.

UNDER THE RED CLOUD continues this trend. Fans of the band’s recent output will instantly feel at home with this album as it continues along the same musical path the band’s been forging over the last decade. All of the light, shade, growls, clean vocals, and thunderous riffs that fans expect are here. If I’m quite honest, after five previous albums in this vein, it’s little bit of a letdown that there’s nothing overtly new offered up, but then again, the band’s song writing is so good, and Joutsen’s charisma so magnetic, that the band can’t help but win the day.

That said, there are little hints of progression to be heard, such as the Middle Eastern vibe within “Death of a King”, or the folk inflections of personal favorite “Tree of Ages”. Elsewhere, Aleah Stanbridge (guest vocals for Swallow the Sun) joins the band for female backing vocals and a duet with Joutsen on “White Night”.

So, no big surprises then, but just another slate of excellent heavy metal songs from this unique institution. Fans will likely have already bought this, so this is more of a PSA than anything else. And if you haven’t, I highly recommend seeking the special edition of the album that contains three extra cuts, all of which are high quality. Long live.
Track Listing

1. Under the Red Cloud
2. The Four Wise Ones
3. Bad Blood
4. The Skull
5. Death of a King
6. Sacrifice
7. Dark Path
8. Enemy at the Gates
9. Tree of Ages
10. White Night


Tomi Joutsen: Vocals
Esa Holopainen: Lead Guitar
Tomi Koivusaari: Rhythm Guitar
Santeri Kallio: Keyboards
Niclas Etelavuori: Bass
Jan Rechberger: Drums



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