AMORPHIS – who stand among Northern Europe’s leading dark metal acts, hitting #1 on the Finnish charts five times – have been captivating fans and critics for over 30 years with their melancholic, yet heavy soundscapes. After announcing their upcoming fourteenth studio album, »Halo«, out on February 11th, 2022 through Atomic Fire, last month, the waiting time is over as the sextet presents the world with the record’s first single.
View a music video for ‘The Moon’, created by renowned director Patric Ullaeus (rEvolver Film), over on YouTube, here:
Comments lyricist Pekka Kainulainen: “I have done several drawings and paintings on this subject over the years. Now I complementary wrote some heavy metal lyrics… This is a song of love.”
Guitarist Esa Holopainen adds: “It’s a very atmospheric and catchy song that represents what AMORPHIS sound like in 2021 well.”
Once again adorned by artwork provided by Valnoir (ALCEST, PARADISE LOST, etc.), »Halo« was recorded, produced, and mixed by Jens Bogren (Fascination Street Studios) while mastering duties were handled by Tony Lindgren.
Pre-order the album physically, pre-save it, or pre-order it digitally to receive ‘The Moon’ instantly now, here:
“Halo” will be available in the following formats:
– 2LP IN GATEFOLD:
gold (wholesale excl.)
red (US excl.)
blue marbled (band shop excl.)
yellow/blue marbled (Atomic Fire excl.)
orange marbled (Napalm Records & UK excl.)
red/blue marbled (Levykauppa excl.)
white/blue marbled (EMP + US excl.)
– BOX SET (incl. 2LP, excl. »Live In Europe 2018-2019« bonus CD, flag, slipmat and button):
green/blue marbled vinyl (Atomic Fire excl.)
silver vinyl (EMP excl.)
– TAPE (Levykauppa excl.)
“HALO” track listing:
02. On The Dark Waters
03. The Moon
05. A New Land
06. When The Gods Came
07. Seven Roads Come Together
10. The Wolf
11. My Name Is Night
— — — — —
Rock and metal music have always been a haven for those who have bigger stories to tell; who have grander emotions to convey. For more than thirty years, Finnish figureheads AMORPHIS have done their best to carve their very own niche in heartfelt yet aggressive, melancholic yet soothing tunes. On »Halo«, their staggering fourteenth studio effort, the Finns underline their trailblazing status as one of the most original, culturally relevant, and rewarding acts ever to emerge from the land of the thousand lakes. In the past, mythology and legend took the role of today’s pop culture: stories and a set of values uniting us by giving us a voice and a tapestry on which we can find each other and identify with something. By weaving the tales of Finnish national epos »Kalevala« into their songs and interpreting them in a timeless way, AMORPHIS combines the role of ancient minstrels and luminaries of the modern world, honoring tradition without getting stuck in the past.
The vibrant, lively, and touching beauty that is »Halo« highlights their musical and storytelling mastership on a once again soaring level: it’s a progressive, melodic, and quintessentially melancholic heavy metal masterwork plucked from the fickle void of inspiration by original guitarists Esa Holopainen and Tomi Koivusaari, bassist Olli-Pekka Laine, drummer Jan Rechberger, longtime keyboardist Santeri Kallio and vocalist Tomi Joutsen, the band’s long-standing lyrical consciousness Pekka Kainulainen and a selected group of world-class audio professionals led by renowned Swedish producer Jens Bogren. Considering the band’s prolonged journey in the forefront of innovative metal music, it’s difficult to grasp how AMORPHIS manage to raise the proverbial bar time and time again, presenting a more than worthy finale to the trilogy which began with 2015’s »Under The Red Cloud« followed by 2018’s »Queen Of Time«.
“It really is a great feeling that we can still produce very decent music as a band,” says Holopainen, a founding member of AMORPHIS. “Perhaps a certain kind of self-criticism and long experience culminate in these latest albums.” To the songwriter himself, »Halo« sounds both familiar and different. “It is thoroughly recognizable AMORPHIS from beginning to end but the general atmosphere is a little bit heavier and more progressive and also organic compared to its predecessor,” he elaborates.
Tomi Joutsen, the man with vocal cords capable of unleashing colossal, bear-like growls as well as singing soothing, mesmerizing lullabies, adds: “To me, »Halo« sounds a little more stripped-down compared to »Queen Of Time« and »Under The Red Cloud«. However, don’t get me wrong: when a certain song needs to sound big, then it sounds very big.” He’s right, of course: by stripping down some of the arrangements, the monumental moments become even more monumental.
That’s of course also thanks to producing renaissance man Jens Bogren who harvested the eleven final tracks from a batch of thirty songs AMORPHIS offered him. “Jens is very demanding, but I really like to work with him,” says Holopainen. “He takes care of the whole project from start to finish, and he allows the musician to focus on just playing. I may not be able to thank Jens enough. Everything we’ve done together has been really great, and this co-operation has carried AMORPHIS significantly forward.”
Indeed. Setting off with the stormy grandeur of opener ‘Northwards’, AMORPHIS takes us on an epic journey through the lands of the North, their rich cultural and historical heritage, and musical traditions. This is not only an album for fans or metal connoisseurs. It’s a must for every imaginative mind out there with a soft spot for cinematic soundscapes, triumphant melodies, and breathtaking dynamics measuring the borderlands of light and dark. However, no AMORPHIS album would be complete without the imaginative and poetic storytelling of renowned lyricist and »Kalevala« expert Pekka Kainulainen. “From day one, Pekka has always been an enthusiastic and prolific lyricist for AMORPHIS,” says Joutsen. “It is a slow process of translating archaic Finnish poetry into English and adapting it to our progressive rhythms. Fortunately, Pekka does everything on time and with great care.” Since 2007’s »Silent Waters«, Kainulainen has been navigating the mythological waters of his homeland with great skill and respect. For »Halo«, he outdid himself once again. “Halo” is a loose themed record filled with adventurous tales about the mythical North tens of thousands of years ago,” he explains. “The lyrics tell of an ancient time when a man wandered to these abandoned boreal frontiers after the ice age. While describing the revival of a seminal culture in a world of new opportunities, I also try to reach the sempiternal forces of the human mind.”
Thirty-one years after their inception, with uncounted global tours under their belt and fourteen albums deep in their career, AMORPHIS still proves to be the musical fountain of youth, an extraordinary band constantly reinventing themselves without abandoning their mystical roots. With »Halo«, they deliver an astonishing album that deserves to be played everywhere, transcending the realms of metal and rock by its sheer profoundness and musicality.
— — — — —
Tomi Joutsen | vocals
Tomi Koivusaari | guitars
Esa Holopainen | guitars
Santeri Kallio | keyboards
Olli-Pekka Laine| bass
Jan Rechberger | drums
04.12. FI Jyväskylä – John Smith Rock Frozen
01.03. RU Moscow – GlavClub
02.03. RU St. Petersburg – Cosmonavt
04.06. FI Rockfest – Hyvinkää
18.06. CH Pratteln – Z7 Wild Dayz
19.06. BE Dessel – Graspop Metal Meeting
24./25.06. ES Cartagena – Rock Imperium Festival
01. – 03.07. FI Helsinki – Tuska
08.07. BG Chelopech – Wolf Fest
07. – 10.07. CZ Vizovice – Masters of Rock
05.08. FI Pori – Porispere
06.08. FI Jämsä – Himos Metal Festival
17. – 20.08. DE Dinkelsbühl – Summer Breeze Open Air
— — — — —