Seventeen years and nine studio albums into their career, Finland's Amorphis come up with half-a-CD's worth of material and pad the rest of Skyforger with sleepy fillers.
Vocalist Tomi Joutsen mixes clean with growly vocals to generally interesting effect, and the band executes with undoubted professionalism and smoothness. Skyforger settles for the slightly slower-side of mid-tempo, melodic metal with folk colourings.
Most of the good tracks are stacked at the front end. Opener Sampo builds on a modestly epic melody to good effect. Silver Bride showcases Amorphis at their best, a biting, threatening riff married to a confident and mature structure, soaring sky high. The Heaven Of My Heart and Sky Is Mine both demonstrate imagination and assured songwriting, with absorbing melodies allowed to ripen on the strength of world-wise branches.
The energy and inspiration then ooze out from a gaping wound in the imagination, and from Majestic Beast at track 5 to From Earth I Rose at track 10, the CD is lost, meandering in the meadows of blandness.
Album closer (and bonus track) Godlike Machine is more attractive and thoughtful, and salvages a bit of the album's pride. It's not enough to make Skyforger whole again, and the CD remains only worthy of half-a-listen at best.
Tomi Joutsen - Vocals
Esa Holopainen - Lead Guitars
Tomi Koivusaari - Rhythm Guitars
Niclas Etelavuori - Bass
Santeri Kallio - Keyboards
Jan Rechberger - Drums
1. Sampo - 8
2. Silver Bride - 10
3. From The Heaven Of My Heart - 8
4. Sky Is Mine - 8
5. Majestic Beast - 7
6. My Sun - 6
7. Highest Star - 6
8. Skyforger - 7
9. Course Of Fate - 7
10. From Earth I Rose - 7
11. Godlike Machine - 8
Produced and Arranged by Amorphis.
Mixed by Mikko Karmila. Recorded by Sami Koivisto.
Mastered by Mika Jussila.
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