On the new album “Circle”, Amorphis has decided to make everybody happy by delivering just what the fans expect to hear. This is not a gloomy enigmatic album as it includes many rather approachable or “commercial” songs. Certainly, all the tracks still hold the renowned Finnish folk attitude that gave Amorphis a great deal of recognition, but everything is reinterpreted in a softer key. It seems that the band has chosen a safe musical pathway to please the new and younger acolytes.
“Shades Of Grey” has an extremely promising folk attitude that naturally blends with strong growls and blazing riffs. All the atmospheric harmonies are quite captivating, the chorus is absolutely addictive and the instrumental sections incorporate a wild dreamy mood.
“Mission” is a mellow song with obvious gothic rock roots. In terms of songwriting and sound, everything is structured in a rather simplistic fashion in order to achieve a radio friendly tune. Also, the piano melodies and the soft rhythm are extremely distant from the usual heavier and darker roots. Overall, the song’s style is very close to bands such as Him and To Die For.
“The Wanderer” doesn’t seem to be a memorable track as it follows exactly the musical style of “Mission”. Therefore, it almost feels like an unnecessary repetition even if the absolute catchiness embedded in the chorus and in the guitar work will certainly be appreciated by a certain audience.
Even if “Narrow Path” kicks in with flutes in an undeniably folk fashion, the rest of the song revolves around the same type of simple catchy chorus.
“Hopeless Days” relies on an assortment of fascinating darkly romantic melodies. Again, this song clearly deviates from Amorphis’ earlier releases. Every element is built to please the listener, but the only creative force can be found in the lead guitar work.
“Nightbird’s Song” brings back a more aggressive metal style. The soft atmospheric intro fades gracefully into a more obscure realm made of audacious growls and guitar riffs that could evoke a black metal mood. This song feels more mature and complete in terms of songwriting. The chorus is still catchy with rationally clean vocals and a slower safe rhythm. The true highlight is the soothing and peaceful instrumental breakdown where keyboards and flutes naturally embrace.
The blackened mood of “Enchanted By The Moon” is another pleasant moment. The guitar riffs and the predictable chorus are still on the mellow side, but the main verses hold a particularly gloomy beauty.
In the end, the musical quality of “Circle” is outstanding from a rational point of view, yet I feel that the naïve spontaneity of Amorphis’s earlier releases has completely disappeared and I truly miss it.