Friday, April 12, 2013

Amorphis - Circle (2012)
Topping a great album like "The Beginning of Times" is no easy feat for a veteran band like Amorphis, but they somehow managed to pull it off. "Circle" takes all the elements the band have incorporated into their past albums and condenses them into an epic concept album about an individual struggling with his place in society and eventually realizing the strength within himself. Such an uplifting story requires uplifting melodies of which there is no short supply on this album. In fact, the melodies are almost instantly catchy and are some of the best I've heard on any Amorphis album. The folk sections also blend seamlessly into the songs and are all exquisite. Of course, there are still heavy, death metal parts, but there are also less of them than on any other album (don't quote me on that though). Death vocals being used quite sparingly might generate a bit of controversy with the fanbase but I'm alright with it since I think they're only used exactly where they're needed. Perhaps the heaviest song on the album, "Shades of Gray" is a monstrous tune that is already one of my favorite Amorphis songs. Other highlights include "Hopeless Days," "Nightbird's Song," and "Enchanted by the Moon." But there's really no weak moment on the album. Everything is absolutely top-notch and I don't see much room for improvement. I need time to see how "Circle" stacks up against the band's other albums, but it's certainly one of the best metal albums I've heard so far this year and will feature prominently on my 'Best of' list at year's end.

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