The Nine Circles ov… Amorphis (The Tomi Joutsen Years)

amorphis band

No, this isn’t the first time we have covered Amorphis in this particular series. But you will need to go way back to Q1 of 2014 (we were still Horns Up at that time) to find Dan’s list of his favorite Amorphis tracks. Approximately a year later, and a year that included the wildly successful Under The Red Cloud, Amorphis has once again projected their way to one of the most frequented bands in my library. As such, I felt it was time to share my personal favorites with you all. And don’t worry, there is only one track, exactly one, that overlaps. 

Rather than focus in on their expansive 26 year history, I have chosen to narrow the spectrum to the Tomi Joutsen years. Tomi took over vocal duties in 2005 and since then Amorphis has cranked out six studio albums, a catalog that houses a number of important tracks in the melodic death metal spectrum. While certain albums are stronger (Skyforgerthan others (Circle), each album has earned representation on this list and evidences the style that Amorphis has mastered over the years. Frankly, I wish this list could be 20 tracks long. After spending virtually a full day revisiting their most recent six albums, it took a significant amount of time to trim the list to nine circles I hold above the others. Let us begin.

“Brother Moon” (from Eclipse, 2006)

The opening, and primary, lead guitar work instantly sticks with you and “Brother Moon” just takes off from there. Not the most complex of tracks, but the way Tomi emphasizes each word with the consistent pacing is absolutely resonating. And the heavy breakdown that emerges in the final third? Beastly.

“Towards And Against” (from Silent Waters, 2007)

I keep going back and forth on my favorite Amorphis album. One day it’s Silent Waters, another it’s Skyforger. On the former, while composed brilliantly, it’s largely the heavier elements of it that stick with me. On “Towards And Against”, the consistent cadence of the verses that formulates the backbone of the entire track is one that is almost impossible to get out of your head. Couple that with the impressive variations in weight and you have one of the best albums Amorphis’ history.

“Silent Waters” (from Silent Waters, 2007)

The title-track from Silent Waters is the the song that originally got me into Amorphis in the beginning and needed a place on this list. Perfectly simplistic, “Silent Waters” is an immaculate composition that delicately gallops through a tale of lost kin. Somber, yet beautiful, “Silent Waters” is just as impressive today as it was when I first heard it.”

“Sky Is Mine” (from Skyforger, 2009)

Impressive immediately with that incredible lead riff, “Sky Is Mine” only get better once the rhythm guitars and percussion come into play. The interplay between all instrumentals borders on perfection and Tomi delivers an equally as impressive vocal performance on both verse and chorus. Not the most complex Amorphis track, but possibly the most effective on a number of levels.

“Skyforger” (from Skyforger, 2009)

“Skyforger” has long been my favorite Amorphis track for a number of reasons. An isolated melodic lead opening, “Skyforger” quickly builds into something uplifting and massive. There isn’t a moment on this track that I am not obsessed with. With lyrical content as impressive as the musicianship and composition, “Skyforger” easily leaves its mark on an audience.

“Soothsayer” (from The Beginning Of Times, 2011)

The Beginning Of Times, while impressive, was simply not an album that did much for me upon its release. However, with time, the fourth album in the Joutsen era has grown with me. Perhaps a more melodic album than its predecessors overall, it is tracks like “Soothsayer” that have stuck with me. Absolutely gorgeous in melody through most of the song, Amorphis still find time to work in some aggression, given the “Soothsayer” added depth and complexity.

“Mission” (from Circle, 2013)

Produced by the legendary Peter Tägtgren, Circle was an album I wanted to absolutely love. Unfortunately, it just didn’t quite deliver in the way I wanted it to start to finish. But that is not to say it didn’t have strong moments. One of these moments was “Mission”. Both verse and chorus are incredibly catchy, yet thanks to the intricacies of the instrumental work throughout, layered with Tomi’s masterful voice, it is a track that also manages to stay with a listener.

“Tree Of Ages” (from Under The Red Cloud, 2015)

And then, in 2015, Amorphis came back with the incredible Under The Red Cloud. A big part of why this album was such a return to (or refreshing break from) form for Amorphis was the added emphasis of the folk elements that comprised much of their earlier work. On no track is this more pronounced than “Tree Of Ages”. A diverse range of instrumentation and vocal styles all comes together to create an organized composition that is just a blast to listen to.

“The Four Wise Ones” (from Under The Red Cloud, 2015)

“The Four Wise Ones” is easily my favorite track from this most recent album. If you were to hand me this record and ask me to point to a track that stands out among the rest, this is it. Melodic, yet incredible dark and heavy, “The Four Wise Ones” is an ambitious song that delivers perfectly. It is cohesive, creative, and I don’t think Tomi Joutsen has ever put together a more impressive vocal performance.

The Nine Circles ov Amorphis on Spotify

“Ein Bier… bitte.”
– Corey

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