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Amorphis - The Karelian Isthmus
Review: Smoothly natural metal built from the old style of heavy chords sparsely strung together, eschewing speed strumming of most death metal, with a patterning toward eloquent greatness arising from simplicity, powers this release. At its core, this is death metal that became enmeshed in Bathory-style epic contemplation, and it maintains solidity through inventive mid-paced death metal riffing and conceptual uniting in songwriting structure.
With a real taste for a coherent but beautiful aesthetic, the music of Amorphis moves fluidly, with disjointed song structures rectified by such distinctive riffs and bridges as to make this unconfusable with any other band. Many riffs are pop-style carved from tritone patterns for a comforting and familiar but easy vector to carry rhythm. Often melodic playing interlaces slow thunderous riffs to build intensity for some fundamentally clearthinking riffs which divide, pound or shape raw momentum to create mood.
Lyrics are mainly fantastic, focusing on the history of Finland and its people. Vocals are low but open-throated, resulting in an ongoing harsh scream that melds with surging string instruments. Percussion is accurate and like all instrumentalism, of an intentionally minimalist framework to ensure complete execution. Deliberate songwriting with simple implements and intents clarifies into immersive and sensual sound.