Sunday, 15 April 2012

AMORPHIS - The Karelian Isthmus (1992)

01  Karelia
02  The Gathering
03  Grails Mysteries
04  Warriors Trial
05  Black Embrace
06  Exile Of The Sons Of Uisliu
07  The Lost Name Of God
08  The Pilgrimage
09  Misery Path
10  Sign From The North Side
11  Vulgar Necrolatry

'The Karelian Isthmus' is the debut album from Finnish metal band Amorphis, released on November 1st 1992 via Relapse Records. The band was formed in Helsinki by Jan Rechberger (drums), Tomi Koivusaari (guitar/vocals), and Esa Holopainen (guitar) around 1990. After the band recorded their first studio demo tape, Relapse Records offered Abhorrence (Tomi's former band) a recording contract. Since Abhorrence was no longer active, they sent their own demo in the return mail and got signed to a worldwide recording deal naming themselves Amorphis.

When most death metal bands released their debut album in the early ‘90s, it usually sounded like a Morbid Angel or Obituary copy, but not for these Finnish teens. 'The Karelian Isthmus' is the debut album from the now well regarded, Amorphis. With this album, Amorphis offered a slower, melodic, and more epic approach to death metal than the American scene or their fellow Scandinavian kin at the time (Unleashed, Entombed etc). Despite the members’ young age, the sound is already mature and established; planting firm roots for future evolution. The main feature here is the guitar, which churns out a multitude of chunky, melodic and hypnotic riffs that definitely lean toward Death Metal of a rather epic, mystical variety - certainly a surprise for those expecting something similar to what the band is producing these days. The vocals are  deep and ominous although, they don't seem to add much weight to the music. Most of the songs on the album are midpaced and heavy on atmosphere, and they usually blend together in a homogeneous manner. The leads are fairly laid back, never really utilising too much tempo, but are still engaging at the very least. The bass can actually be heard here, and the occasional keyboard interlude doesn't intrude too much on the music.

In recent years, songs from this album have been receiving more play during Amorphis' live performances, despite being of a different style than their later works. Regardless of how you feel towards the group, Amorphis definitely got off to a great start on their first two albums. And while 'Tales From The Thousand Lakes' might have brought an ideal balance of what subsequent albums exhibited, 'The Karelian Isthmus' definitely flows and sounds much more true to their roots and original aspirations. Highlights include; "The Gathering", "Black Embrace" and "Sign From The North Side".

1 comment:

  1. That is an awesome cover indeed.

    Hope you're OK: haven't seen on on our site for a while. :)

    Master of Bad Undies.