Northern metal giants AMORPHIS recently released “The Moon,” a beautifully haunting first taste of their forthcoming album Halo, set for release on February 11th via Atomic Fire. To shorten the wait until the arrival of their second single, “On The Dark Waters” (out January 28th), the band has announced a limited 7″ blue/white vinyl single of the same name, due out on the same day. The 7″ can be preordered now at THIS LOCATION.
On The Dark Waters 7″ Track Listing:
Side A: On The Dark Waters
Side B: We Accursed (live)
In addition, AMORPHIS has launched the first episode of a documentary giving insights into the band’s studio work. Watch drummer Jan Rechberger as he discusses his part of the album recording process, for which he cooperated with Oskari Auramo among others, over on YouTube HERE.
States Rechberger, “Of course, the production process was a bit different this time because of the Covid situation; everything had to be done remotely, so [producer] Jens [Bogren] wasn’t there to kick our asses. But overall, the result will stand the test of time a bit better than our previous records in my opinion as it’s even more progressive and even more unpredictable: it’s a bit longer songs and I think even heavier, rhythmically more interesting and a sort of rougher.”
View the band’s previously released video for “The Moon,” directed by Patric Ullaeus (rEvolver Film), at THIS LOCATION.
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.
Halo will be available on CD, vinyl, and digital formats. Preorder the album physically, presave it, or preorder it digitally to receive “The Moon” instantly now HERE.
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, 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 manages to raise the proverbial bar time and time again, presenting a more than worthy finale to the trilogy begun 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 the band. “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 cooperation 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 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 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 itself without abandoning its 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
Esa Holopainen – guitars
Tomi Koivusaari – guitars
Santeri Kallio – keyboards
Olli-Pekka Laine – bass
Jan Rechberger – drums