Amorphis (1990-present): a Death Metal band from Helsinki, Finland.
an Rechberger (drums/synthesizer) and Esa Holopainen (guitar) formed Amorphis in Helsinki, Finland in 1990. Within short order they hired the services of Tomi Koivusaari (guitar/vocals) and Olli-Pekka Laine (bass). In only a few months their single, Disment Of Soul arrived. It was from this that 'Relapse', an American label known for their American Grind bands, signed them to a multi-album contract. In 1991 they shared an album with label mates Incantation but it was never officially released; a limited edition 7" EP, however, was made with 2 songs from this session. In 1992 The Kerelian Isthmus, an excellent example of the latest advancements in Death and black metal, was released as their first full venture and like their name illustrates: they quickly became a band difficult to classify.
When keyboard player Kasper Martenson joined the team a whole new period of exploration was launched. 'Relapse' released the abandoned split CD as part of their "Underground" series and called it Privilege Of Evil (1993). They then recorded their next venture, and this was the point at which the death metal genre merged with black metal and grew up, while succeeding in being introduced to a wider market at the same time. Using synthesizers as well as the traditional instruments of Rock, they added a harmony and melody to accompany the bass guitar and growl vocals of death metal.
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The evolution started with the Tales From The Thousand Lakes album in 1993; a theme album based on the Finnish national Pole book Kalevaia, a book of tales and folklore. This album could be described as the future of Metal, one could even go so far as to say "genius". The EP Black Winter Day (1995) continued this trend but with a major line-up change now featuring Pekka Kasari (ex-Stone; drums), Pasi Koskinen (vocals) and Kim Rantala on keyboards. They would continue in this style on their follow up Elegy, which saw the growl vocal almost abandoned completely. Elegy (1996) was also a recording with cascading music based on a book of folklore, this time it was the Kanteletar, an 1840 compilation consisting of 700 Finnish poems and ballads; some many hundreds of years old. Amorphis proved once and for all to the critics that the extreme forms of Metal were capable of having melody and was growing up. With each album they improved their sound and changed their style to the point where their Black and death metal growls and deep bass have been replaced with a more standard metallic style. My Kantele EP (1997) was an attempt to cash in on the success of its sister album.
Tuonela (1998) and Am Universum (2001) saw the line-up of Pasi Koskinen (vocals), Tomi Koivusaari (guitar), Esa Holopainen (guitar), Santeri Kallio (keyboards), Niclas Etelävuori (bass) and Jan Rechberger (drums) featuring more shouting but nonetheless smoother vocals.
Story - 10th Anniversary compilation followed in 2000.
In 2003, 'Relapse' released the retrospective Chapters, which included a DVD featuring the band's videos from Black Winter Day to Alone.
Tomi Joutsen would take over from Koskinen for their critically acclaimed 2006 Eclipse album, an album that was seen as a return to form for the band.
Skyforger (2009) was a rare case in the music world. The disc suffered a recall when it was discovered that there were mastering errors in the recording (errors in the recording that affected playback that made it to mass production) that prompted 'Nuclear Blast' to issue replacement CDs. Nonetheless, the album went gold in Finland.
In 2010, Amorphis released Magic & Mayhem - Tales from the Early Years, a re-working of a dozen tracks from their first three albums with slightly different arrangements, better audio quality and featuring the band's current lineup, plus a cover of Light my Fire as a bonus track. The Beginning of Times (2011) and Circle (2012) followed.
On August 4, 2014, Amorphis announced on their website and through social media that they would be playing a number of special Tales from the Thousand Lakes 20th Anniversary shows where their 1994 album would be performed in its entirety.
Footnote: "Amorphis" means: without a clearly defined shape or form.
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