By Adam Wills
Finland’s masters of melody are back with their 9th album (3rd with current juggernaut of a vocalist, Tomi Joutsen), and continue down the same path as Eclipse and Silent Waters. Combining folk elements with catchy song writing and haunting keyboards, underneath another brilliant vocal performance by Joutsen, Skyforger is set to be another classic in the Amorphis discography.
Although nothing new is introduced in Skyforger, Amorphis continues to fine tune their sound, bringing a crisp production to their trademark melodic/folk/death metal sound. Sing-along choruses and head-banging riffs are aplenty, and while no single song stands out, the album is smooth listening front to back, without a skippable track.
From the opening keyboard intro to “Sampo”, Skyforger takes listeners on another journey through the Kalevala, this time, telling the tale of Ilmarinen, the immortal blacksmith and creator of the skies. Among the gems, “Sky Is Mine” sounds like it’s straight from Tuonela, while the main riff of “Majestic Beast” could easily be mis-heard as an outtake from Opeth’s Ghost Reveries album. But make no mistake, this album is another step forward in a brilliant catalogue that will always keep fans coming back for more.
While this won’t receive many points for breaking any ground, Skyforger is solid it’s execution, and is sure to be at the top of many lists for album of the year.