Menolippu Mombasaan

Amorphis

Amorphis is a Finnish metal band started by Jan Rechberger, Tomi Koivusaari and Esa Holopainen in 1990. Initially, the band was a straightforward death metal act, but in later albums they evolved into playing other types of genres.

Amorphis are well known for their use of the Finnish national epic, the Kalevala, as a source for their lyrics.

History

Formation and early years

In 1989, Jan Rechberger and Esa Holopainen played in a speed metal band called Violent Solution, which Tomi Koivusaari had left the previous year to form the death metal band Abhorrence. Violent Solution slowly dissolved as the musicians involved became interested in other pursuits and styles of music. At this point, Jan Rechberger and Esa Holopainen had the idea of putting together a death metal band. In early 1990, Tomi Koivusaari was asked to be the vocalist and Oppu Laine to be their bassist.

During that time, the band asked Tomi to pick up the slot of rhythm guitarist as well as singing, which led to the band dumping all original compositions and starting all over again. With the band starting to move along, Tomi's other band, Abhorrence, split up and he found himself with much more time to put into Amorphis. The demo tape, Disment of Soul, was recorded in 1991 by Timo Tolkki at TTT studios.

The Karelian Isthmus and Tales from the Thousand Lakes

Shortly after the band had recorded their first studio demo tape, Tomi got a letter from Relapse Records offering Abhorrence a recording contract. Since Abhorrence was no longer active, they quickly sent their own demo in the return mail and eventually got signed to a recording deal. The deal would later almost destroy the band, due to a very long commitment and poor artist relations. Soon after getting signed they quickly released their death metal debut, The Karelian Isthmus and later released the Privilege of Evil EP. The EP featured Abhorrence's original vocalist, Jukka Kolehmainen, as a vocalist on the Abhorrence cover song "Vulgar Necrolatry".

In 1994, Amorphis released their second studio album, Tales from the Thousand Lakes, a concept album based on the Finnish national epic, the Kalevala. This 1994 release, while still strongly rooted in death metal, is considered to be the first significant step toward a new direction as melodic clean vocals were added, provided by Ville Tuomi.

Elegy and Tuonela

The success of Tales from the Thousand Lakes was immediate and overwhelming. The ensuing tours and tough schedules, however, took their toll, and Kasper (keyboards) soon decided to leave the band. A successor was found in Kim Rantala. Jan was replaced by Pekka Kasari (ex-Stone), and just before recording their third album, Amorphis recruited a sixth member, singer Pasi Koskinen. The third album, Elegy was released in 1996. Lyrics were again adapted from Finnish mythology, in this case, the Kanteletar, a collection of ancient folk poetry. Pasi and Tomi shared the vocals on a roughly equal basis, with Pasi's role restricted to the clean parts.

After about one and a half years of extensive touring following the release of Elegy, the band members opted for a time-out to recharge and think about new material. Their next offering, 1999's Tuonela was a mellow guitar album, although toward the end of the studio sessions, Santeri Kallio of Kyyria was brought in to add some keyboard tracks to the songs. New instruments were introduced (Tomi playing sitar in the song "Greed", Sakari Kukko saxophonist/flautist also provided some foreign spices) and the death growls were now almost totally abandoned, as all vocals were performed by Pasi.

The new millennium was greeted with the tenth-anniversary compilation Story and another line-up change. Following the breakup of Kyyria, Santeri had already joined Amorphis as a full-time member when bassist Oppu felt he could no longer commit himself to the band. He was succeeded by another ex-Kyyria member, Niclas Etelävuori, who came in just in time for Amorphis' third U.S. tour.

Am Universum and Far from the Sun

Am Universum, released in 2001, retained the moody atmosphere of Tuonela but introduced more varied soundscapes and a much wider dynamic range. More space was given to keyboards and saxophone work, the latter again contributed by Sakari Kukko. It was a more experimental album, and arguably Amorphis' most psychedelic to date. In 2002 the band was asked for a contribution to the soundtrack for the movie Menolippu Mombasaan. The commissioned piece was a cover version of a 1976 Finnish pop hit, "Kuusamo", which was given the full Amorphis treatment and remains the band's only song in their native language to this day.

Amorphis' longstanding relationship with Relapse Records ended with Am Universum. In 2003, Relapse released the retrospective Chapters, which included a DVD featuring the band's videos from "Black Winter Day" to "Alone". Far from the Sun was produced by the band itself, which had been rejoined by original drummer Jan Rechberger after Pekka Kasari had quit to concentrate on family duties. Compared to Am Universum, Far From The Sun turned out heavier, more straightforward and also once again more folk-oriented. The album would have been accompanied by a North American tour in 2004 but it was ultimately canceled for reasons beyond the control of the band, yet the prospect of it gave Pasi, father of two small children and involved in numerous other musical projects, the reason he had been looking for to leave the band after nine years.

Eclipse, Silent Waters and present

Amorphis found his replacement, Tomi Joutsen (Sinisthra), through word of mouth. The band then did a successful US-tour and started to focus on new material. With Joutsen, a versatile singer able to perform clean vocals as well as death vocals, the band underwent a return to form, including some of the death metal elements of their earlier releases with their later period progressive sound. The band then recorded and released, Eclipse, the band's seventh album which achieved gold certification in Finland.

The eighth album, Silent Waters, was released on September 3, 2007 debuting at number 44 on the German Media Control chart and also achieved gold certification. It is the second album to feature vocalist Tomi Joutsen.

Amorphis headlined their first tour in North America in September, supporting their latest album Silent Waters along with supporting acts: Samael and Virgin Black. After they finish touring, Amorphis will enter Sonic Pump Studios in November to record the follow-up to their previous Silent Waters album. Esa Holopainen announced a possible spring release.

Members

Current members

Former members

Discography

Albums

Title Released
The Karelian Isthmus November 10, 1992
Tales from the Thousand Lakes July 12, 1994
Elegy May 14, 1996
Tuonela March 29, 1999
Am Universum April 3, 2001
Far from the Sun May 26, 2003
Eclipse February 15, 2006
Silent Waters August 29, 2007
TBA 2009

Singles and EPs

Compilations

External links

References

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