Amorphis
Skyforger


3.0
good

Review

by Xenorazr CONTRIBUTOR (115 Reviews)
January 1st, 2011 | 19 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A slightly different direction doesn't ruin the album, but Skyforger demonstrates how a band can mishandle their music even when experimenting with fitting traits.

Amorphis have had a less-than consistent career, to say the least; going through three different lead vocalists, releasing albums leaning towards and away from various subgenres while returning inconsistent reception. By 2006, Tomi Joutsen took over as the current frontman and has worked with the band on three studio albums (four if you include the recently released Magic & Mayhem ). Though much dispute has surrounded the band, most generally agreed that their 2007 effort, Silent Waters, was a strong one and a sure sign that more solid material would follow. This is where 2009's Skyforger comes into play (not to be confused with the band of the same name).

Although Skyforger is musically similar to its predecessor, Amorphis saw fit to incorporate progressive elements into the music. But those who haven't listened to the album yet shouldn't be fooled, for these aspects are only evident in the sound. Generally speaking, progressive music tends to take a more elaborate approach to the structure and sound; something that Skyforger is in short supply of. Really the strongest signs of progression are found in the opening and closing tracks, neither of which feel like they're taking a full-on utilization. For these reasons, the album comes off as occasionally conflicted with just which direction it wants to lean towards.

This leads to how Skyforger stumbles in many spots, even during its strongest moments. The difference between an album such as this, which feels indecisive, and one like Something Wild (by Children of Bodom), which seamlessly incorporates a few subgenres, is that the latter embraces its aspirations. Here, we get the impression that the band had a conversation that ultimately amounted to "this doesn't really sound or feel natural, but let's see if we can work around it at all." One example of how Skyforger feels unsettled is through a comparison of the track "Majestic Beast," easily the worst song on the album, against "From the Heaven of My Heart" or "My Sun," both unremarkable tracks. "Majestic Beast" is primarily a means for Tomi Joutsen to display his harsh vocals which, in this case, feel forced yet weak, simultaneously. Meanwhile, the other two aforementioned tracks are slower and more calm which, while unimposing, sounds closer to what the group are comfortable doing.

All of these criticisms aren't to say that the album is entirely weak. In fact, there are a few good moments throughout, with the title track being its pinnacle and "Sky Is Mine" being a lesser but still-honorable mention. And though the progressive elements definitely aren't utilized fluently, they give a few parts a less predictable feel. The entire band show themselves in sufficient form as well, but they definitely aren't realizing as much potential as they could. Similarly, the common themes of other Amorphis albums are present here as well, getting the point across, just not enough to be truly compelling.

Skyforger isn't one of Amorphis' best efforts and, after the superb Silent Waters, it's hard to accept it as a true successor. Yet even for all of its problems, there's still some decent material to find; along with one of the band's more commanding songs as of recent in the title track. The music, while lacking a sense of initiative with its direction, is still functional; just without much lasting power, especially after the first half. Any who've yet to listen to it need not rush out to discover if they may or may not like it, but the material is fair enough to avoid being a titanic disappointment.



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user ratings (532)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
Metalstyles EMERITUS (4)
Amorphis take a step into the prog.rock realm with Skyforger and return with interesting results...

Willie STAFF (2.5)
Amorphis move farther into progressive rock with unfortunate results....



Comments:Add a Comment 
Xenorazr
Contributing Reviewer
January 2nd 2011


1279 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Figured I'll do a review or two so I'm back in the groove for a little project I have planned for this site.

kangaroopoo
January 2nd 2011


3175 Comments


nice review, yeah Skyforger was a bit underwhelming

some good tracks, lacking standouts, too many just ok

Hawks
January 2nd 2011


55562 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I don't see what's wrong with this album. Still, good review.

Digging: Violet Cold - Sommermorgen (Pt. I) - Innocence

pizzamachine
January 2nd 2011


13798 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I wasn't disappointed by Skyforger at all, I love the melodic tones it emits. Pos btw.

theblackmet56
January 2nd 2011


243 Comments


i think this is pretty great

kangaroopoo
January 2nd 2011


3175 Comments


Silent Waters grew on me a lot but not sure about this one

qwe3
January 2nd 2011


21814 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

so bad

Yazz_Flute
January 2nd 2011


18939 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Sampo is great.

GhostOvPerdition
January 2nd 2011


132 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I disagree, but your review makes me want to listen to the album again to be sure of my opinion, which is what a good critical review should do. You make good points and this is an easy read. Pos'd

Metalstyles
Emeritus
January 2nd 2011


8570 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is probably the best review for this album in all honesty. I obviously disagree with your opinion, but it's very well written and covers everything that needs to be covered in a review. Easy pos.

Crysis
Emeritus
January 2nd 2011


17332 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I was really disappointed with this. It has next to no replay value and it's incredibly boring.

Darkvoid67
January 2nd 2011


383 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Crap album. Such a let down

OllieS
January 2nd 2011


2120 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I heard Joutsen say in an interview they were gonna change the style on the next album, hope that's true.

Crysis
Emeritus
January 2nd 2011


17332 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

That would be interesting. I wonder what direction they would take.

TheStig
January 2nd 2011


252 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Originally had this rated lower, then I gave it a few more listens (without comparing it to SW...) and it definitely grew on me. Great review.

Metalstyles
Emeritus
January 2nd 2011


8570 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That would be interesting. I wonder what direction they would take.
I will laugh so hard if it will be a full-out rock direction.

bloc
January 2nd 2011


49996 Comments


Never liked this band

Digging: Aepoch - Awakening Inception

Nangfaldmund
January 2nd 2011


14 Comments


are you mad? Majestic Beast is easily the best song on the album

Hawks
January 2nd 2011


55562 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm definitely interested to see where they go from here too. I seem to be one of the few who loves this album.



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