Amorphis – Circle

Released: 19.04.2013 FIN 

After the great and successful album “The Beginning Of Times” released in 2011, the Finnish Progressive Metalheads combining elements of Death Metal and Folk, Amorphis, strike back with their eleventh record entitled “Circle”.
This album also brings many changes: It was for example produced by Peter Tägtgren (of Hypocrisy and Pain fame) and the lyrics are not based on the Finnish national epos Kalevala.
Does it also bring changes in the music? Well… We gonna tell you!

Truth to be told, “Circle” isn’t the easiest album to review. I had to take many listens to it to finally have an opinion about it. But now to the main thing:
After hearing the first seconds of the opening track “Shades Of Gray” (No, no 50 Shades Of Gray, ladies. Sorry to disappoint you!), I’m sure that this album is really gonna be amazing.
Great growls in the verses and stunning clean vocals by the band’s vocalist Tomi Joutsen, great guitar riffs by the two guitar heroes Esa Holopainen and Tomi Koivusaari, as well as keyboard samples by Santeri Kallio, giving this song that folkish vibe.
It’s almost like if you’d hear older Amorphis material… But with brand new ideas.

After this masterpiece, you’ll hear “Mission”, beginning with a bit Nighwishesque piano intro, but followed by a strong riff supported by good drumming by Jan Rechberger.
In this song, you won’t hear any growls, but the chorus is… Well… Pretty interesting, if I can say it like that.
The Wanderer” follows and is also the 2nd single off “Circle”. Again with these guitar riffs that are typical for Amorphis accompanied by a very catchy chorus. A good choice for the 2nd single, but still not my favorite on the album.

Circle” continues with the song “Narrow Path”, that is pretty typical for this band somehow, reminding pretty of something from the “Skyforger” and “The Beginning Of Times” era. The melody of the verse and chorus… There are surely some similarities.
After this, you got the first single entitled “Hopeless Days” which got me pretty excited for the new album. I can say, that this is the catchiest song on the whole album – sure, otherwise it wouldn’t be the first single. It’s an epic piece of music indeed.
What impressed me in the chorus of “Hopeless Days”, were the percussions. That one part with the cymbal… Thumbs up!
Seems like we just got into the epic part of the album! Hell yeah!
Another kickass track follows, entitled “Nightbird’s Song” and you’ll again hear Joutsen’s growls, everything being refined with the very melodic chorus. That’s Amorphis as I like them!
Into The Abyss” – do we hear something similar like “Mission”? Not really. It’s only that piano part that reminded me of the 2nd song from this album.
Well, the only thing I gonna say about this song is, that I absolutely adore the chorus.

Enchanted By The Moon” is another song like the previous one and is one of the best on the album. The epic solo on the end… Very good!
Unexpected as it is, the standard version of “Circle” finishes with “A New Day”. The ninth track. To be honest, I expected the album to be a bit longer, but whatever…
It’s a very good ending for an album like “Circle” is, though the beginning sound a bit… Well… Pretty lovely, but evolves into another great Amorphis song. Nothing more to add.
One limited edition of this album also contains several bonus tracks, them being “His Story”, “Dead Man’s Dream”, “My Future”, “Illusion” and “New Song”.

All in all, I can’t say anything bad about “Circle”. For me, it’s the best record of this year and one of the best by Amorphis itself. Along with “Skyforger” which I liked almost the same.

I’m not the person who gives an album, which seems to be solid, the full rating. No. But “Circle” has clearly deserved it. It has everything a good album needs and in addition to all that, the lady on the cover artwork reminds me of the work by the Czech artist Alfons Mucha. That gives also some bonus points from me since I’m Czech.

Personal Favorites:

  • Shades Of Gray
  • Narrow Path
  • Hopeless Days
  • Into The Abyss
  • Enchanted By The Moon

10 / 10

Take a Listen:

Written by Misha Nyman, May 2013

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