Many of you out there are likely familiar with the music of Amorphis. The Finnish legends began as a death metal band back in 1990, but over time have mellowed and evolved into exploring other musical territories including progressive, heavy and folk metal. The band have always been very prolific and are set to release their eleventh album next month. Circle is an album that is highly anticipated by many, as their previous 2011 release, The Beginning Of Times featured heavily in round up lists at the end of that year. It was a good album from a consistently strong band and that’s more than enough reason to look forward to a new release. On Friday Amorphis released a track from Circle as the first official single from the album. Titled “Hopeless Days” it certainly attempts to conjure a depressing and hopeless atmosphere, but ultimately the only thing close to that I feel now is for the prospects of this album. It’s a morose number, firmly deriving much of its influence from yet another new area for the band – the doom metal category. In many ways, “Hopeless Days” sounds like a Katatonia B-side, and that’s why it’s sadly a little disappointing to me.
Katatonia are a band who over time have perfected their sound, drawing a lot of emotion from very simplistic and slow moving melodies, mostly through some impressive layering and the soulful vocals of Jonas Renkse. It’s here that Amorphis fail, their clean vocals just aren’t interesting or gripping enough, and now that vocalist Tomi Joulsers has abandoned using his growl it leaves the song lacking a real sense of dynamics that was previously present in their music. Not to mention that the melodies implemented in this song are pretty bland and uninteresting, certainly not deserving of a great band like Amorphis. It’s a shame really, because while this track may well net newer fans that prefer their music on the softer side, I feel like it may leave long-term fans out in the cold. It very much feels like the band is treading water here, even the lyric video that accompanies the release of the song feels lacklustre and already defeated. Also, it’s always disheartening to see a lyric video for a song that doesn’t have particularly well written lyrics. A lot of the time it comes across as pretty clunkily written and forced. I suppose this all sounds really negative, but I’m sure that there’ll be some of you out there who will dig this. I just hope this is the weakest track on the album.
Circle will be released on April 19, 2013 via Nuclear Blast Records. The single, “Hopeless Days” is available for purchase now.