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Silent Waters
September 2007
Released: 2007, Nuclear Blast
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Chaosankh

Staying abreast of the ever-changing Amorphis must be quite a feat for even the most devout fan of the band. From the early TALES FROM THE THOUSAND LAKES days through the mellower days of AM UNIVERSUM to the loss of longtime front man, Pasi Koskinen, to their resurgence on 2006’s ECLIPSE, this has been a band that has seemingly explored stylistic grounds with reckless abandon. Still, they have somehow managed to stay interesting and relevant; and although they may have lost fans along the way, it seems likely that the quality of their releases should have made it easy for them to plug in new ones to replace those who are foolishly hoping for a return to some sound of the past. Now, we come to the newest chapter of the Amorphis saga, SILENT WATERS, another album that showcases their ability to skillfully mix a variety of musical styles, including, but not limited to, aggressive, death-growled metal, folk, progressive, psychedelic, and groovy mid-tempo rock - - all of which somehow coalesce into a unified package that demands repeated listens by those who enjoy music that takes them on an auditory journey.

The album begins with its hardest-hitting cut, “Weaving the Incantation,” a song that appropriately features the death side of singer Tomi Joutsen’s voice exclusively. The weirdest thing about the album, in fact, is that it is front-loaded with its heaviest material. Transitioning from the death-growled first track is another song, “A Servant,” that heavily uses that vocal style again for it’s first half before we get our first glimpse of the catchy and clean alter-ego side of Joutsen’s impeccable vocal range for an incredibly catchy chorus that features a brilliant, melodic lead guitar as well. By the time we get to the album’s third track, the band seems to be switching gears heavily. The title track has a structure that would not be out of the question for some of today’s melodic gothic metal bands that utilize distorted guitar accompanied by haunting piano leads in a similar fashion, all leading up to an ultra-melodic, hook-soaked chorus. Perhaps the best track on the album is “Towards and Against.” The dichotomy of this title is perfect as the song attempts to mix all of the divergent styles that Amorphis comprises into one representative piece. There is a great mix of vocals in this cut that starts with the more musical and clean variety before switching to the growl in perfect unison with the rising intensity level of the song. The best way to describe this number is as a five-minute roller coaster that eventually reverts back to the clean vocals for the album’s most memorable chorus. The middle and most of the latter half of the album is rather mellow and relies on a lot of the band’s more balladesque and folk leanings. Although all of these calmer songs are excellent, perhaps the best of them is “Enigma,” a wonderful acoustic selection that has a nice world music vibe to it that makes it a song that would not feel out of place on a Tea Party record. With just a brief glimpse of the more aggressive style on the penultimate track, the album whisks away on a somber note, highliting some of the albums most cutting and trademark lead guitar.

Everything that a fan of the band would expect rears its head throughout this adventurous and moody album: heavy guitars, signature leads and solos, memorable hooks, various instrumentation, and a plethora of other motifs that would immediately be recognized as parts of the Amorphis sound. With SILENT WATERS, this band has once again demonstrated their status as masters of sound synthesis, providing their audience with another offering of varied tones, structures, and emotions, all of which works at a level near perfection. Any who would rather hear this band revert to an earlier sound need not comment on this release because if Amorphis was any other way than they are on this record, we would be one brilliant album short in the metal community this year.
Track Listing

1. Weaving The Incantation
2. A Servant
3. Silent Waters
4. Towards And Against
5. I Of Crimson Blood
6. Her Alone
7. Enigma
8. Shaman
9. The White Swan
10. Black River


Tomi Joutsen - vocals
Tomi Koivusaari - guitars
Esa Holopainen - guitars
Niclas Etelävuori - bass
Santeri Kallio - keyboards
Jan Rechberger - drums

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