Amorphis Amorphis

Privelege of Evil Amorphis - Privilege of Evil (Relapse) 1993

1. "Pilgrimage from Darkness" (4:32)
2. "Black Embrace" (3:25)
3. "Privilege of Evil" (3:50)
4. "Misery Path" (4:17)
5. "Vulgar Necrolatry" (3:58)
6. "Excursing from Existence" (3:06)

It's amazing how much this band has changed over time. This is Amorphis' humble beginnings. Apparently originally recorded as demo in 1991, then later released by their record company, Relapse Records, as part of "the Underground Series", in 1993. This is pure, brutal death metal with little of the melody that would be seen in "Tales from the Thousand Lakes". However, that is not to say this isn't a good disc. Actually I quite enjoyed it. There are hints of the progressive song writing that would become a trademark of the band in their post death metal discs. The fact that the disc only contains six tracks helps as I don't get bored with the death vocals.

Tales from the Thousand Lakes Amorphis - Tales from the Thousand Lakes (Relapse) 1994

1. "Thousand Lakes" [instrumental] (2:04)
2. "Into Hiding" (3:45)
3. "The Castaway" (5:32)
4. "First Doom" (3:52)
5. "Black Winter Day" (3:50)
6. "Drowned Maid" (4:23)
7. "In The Beginning" (3:37)
8. "Forgotten Sunrise" (4:53)
9. "To Fathers Cabin" (3:50)
10. "Magic and Mayhem" (4:27)
11. "Light My Fire" (2:53)

This album is PHENOMENTAL! A MASTERPIECE! At this point Amorphis were still a death metal band, but their music incorporated keyboards, melodic and progressive elements, as well as some traditional elements from their Finnish homeland. The vocals are still of the death metal-growly nature but are still somewhat understandable and fit well in the music. There are some scattered and small amounts of clean vocals used as well. "Tales" is a concept album based on a traditional tale from Finland. My copy is the limited edition digi-pack with the bonus track cover of The Doors "Light My Fire."

Black Winter Day EP Amorphis - Black Winter Day EP (Relapse) 1994

1. "Black Winter Day" (3:51)
2. "Folk of the North" [instrumental] (1:17)
3. "Moon and Sun" (3:39)
4. "Moon and Sun Part II: North's Son" (5:12)

This EP has been re-released along with the above masterwork on one cd. Since I already have the original of the above, I figured I would either buy the new re-release, unless I ran across this used first. Well, found a trader on line who no longer wanted it, so now I have it. (-: Like you care how I obtained this disc right!? Anyhow, this EP is outtakes from the "Tales of a Thousand Lakes" sessions. As with those songs, these too are excellent.

Amorphis - Elegy (Relapse) 1996

1. "Better Unborn" (5:52)
2. "Against Widows" (4:06)
3. "The Orphan" (5:17)
4. "On Rich and Poor" (5:19)
5. "My Kantele" (5:02)
6. "Cares" (4:29)
7. "Song of the Troubled One" (4:08)
8. "Weeper on the Shore" (4:52)
9. "Elegy" (7:21)
10. "Relief" (4:09)
11. "My Kantele" [instrumental] (5:55)

Amorphis have now morphed completely into a unique, progressive, heavy metal band. Gone are all hints of death metal, with the expection of the occassional growl. However ever these are used sparingly. "Elegy" is an absolute stunning CD. I have long said that "Tales from the Thousand Lakes" was my favorite Amorphis CD but "Elegy" comes in a very close second. "Elegy" also is delves into psychedelia and goth a bit, although not to the point that they will in the future. A historical Finnish text provides the storyline behind this CD. This time 'round Amorphis using Kanteletar, an 1840 tome comprising 700 or so poems, many of which date back hundred of years. Quite refreshing lyrical themes avoiding the cliches associated with metal completely. Quite possibly, "Elegy" is one of the finest progressive metal albums ever released, ranking up my list with the likes of Fates Warning and Dream Theater, yet sounding like neither band.

Tuonela Amorphis - Tuonela (Relapse) 1999

1. "The Way" (4:35)
2. "Morning Star" (3:50)
3. "Nightfall" (3:52)
4. "Tuonela" (4:32)
5. "Greed" (4:17)
6. "Divinity" (4:56)
7. "Shining" (4:24)
8. "Withered" (5:44)
9. "Rusty Moon" (4:56)
10. "Summer's End" (5:37)

Progressive metal with heavy goth and psychadelic influences, all of which sound very little like the Amorphis of old. Unlike "Elegy", which I think is brilliant, I haven't been able to get into this disc as much. Even the lyrical themes here are less interesting.

Amorphis - Chapters (Relapse) 2003

1. "Alone" (4:23)
2. "Drifting Memoires" (4:24)
3. "Too Much to See" (4:28)
4. "The Way" (4:35)
5. "Northern Light" (3:17)
6. "Summer's End" (5:37)
7. "The Brother Slayer" (3:37)
8. "Better Unborn" (5:52)
9. "My Kantele" (5:03)
10. "Weeper On the Shore" (4:52)
11. "Moon and Sun" (3:26)
12. "Black Winter Day" (3:51)
13. "The Castaway" (5:32)
14. "Drowned Maid" (4:23)
15. "Warriors Trails" (5:04)
16. "The Exile of the Suns of Uisliu" (3:34)
17. "The Lost Names of God" (5:31)
1. "Alone"
2. "Divinity"
3. "My Kantele"
4. "Against Widows"
5. "Black Winter Day"

As much as I can appreciate a band progressing and morphing over time, Amorphis' changes just don't sit with me that well. This compilation spirals backwards in time from the most recent progressive rock to the early death metal years. As the disc goes on I enjoy the material more and more until it hits nirvana with the awesome "Elegy" and "Thousand Lakes" material. There are a few rarities on this compilation. "Alone" is the single version, "To Much to See" was a bonus track that was recorded for the "Am Universum" CD and "Nothern Lights" is a bonus track that was recorded during the "Tuonela" sessions. The DVD is a nice addition as is I had never seen any of these videos before. All in all, not a bad compilation, but one that is a bit off balance due to the vast differences in style this band has gone through over the years.

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