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Amorphis

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10 hours ago, Requiem said: 'Elegy' is easily in my top ten albums of all time from any band. I remember when it came out in 1996 (there's that year again) it just blew my friends and me away. It has that perfect blend of melody, emotion, traditional Finnish folklore lyrics from the Kanteletar, growled and clean vocals, perfect cover etc etc. I still can't get over how good it is. 

'Tales from the Thousand Lakes' is also a classic and my second favourite of theirs. The atmosphere is almost unparalleled. Songs from my vulnerable teenage years, what can I say? That blue cover artwork just fit the music perfectly and even today my friend and I say, "It's an Amorphis sky" when that deep blue appears. This album takes me to another world. Beautiful lyrics from the national Finnish book 'Kalevala' which I have by the way and is well worth getting if you're into middle ages literature. 

The lyrics have always been hit or miss to me. Some of them are evocative - "Elegy", "Better Unborn", "The Orphan", "The Castaway" - but plenty of them are plain awkward. And I've always been annoyed by the misogyny in "Magic And Mayhem" and "Against Widows", I don't think those songs would fly without the historical interest. I don't have to agree with a song in order to enjoy it, but I don't get much from those lyrics. 

I've never been much of a lyric guy, so I'll have to take your word for it.

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1 hour ago, BlutAusNerd said:

I've never been much of a lyric guy, so I'll have to take your word for it.

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Which part - the evocative stuff, the misogyny, or the general awkwardness? It's not something that affects my enjoyment of the music, it just always crosses my mind when I listen to them. "Against Widows" is, you know, a polemic against widows... A charming libretto harking back to those halcyon days when women were property, and couldn't contain their evil nature after being deprived of their mate's guidance.

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1 hour ago, BlutAusNerd said: I've never been much of a lyric guy, so I'll have to take your word for it.

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Which part - the evocative stuff, the misogyny, or the general awkwardness? It's not something that affects my enjoyment of the music, it just always crosses my mind when I listen to them. "Against Widows" is, you know, a polemic against widows... A charming libretto harking back to those halcyon days when women were property, and couldn't contain their evil nature after being deprived of their mate's guidance.

No, I don't know. Like I said, I seldom read lyrics, so unless I can understand it from the vocal delivery, I probably don't know what any given band is saying. The music has always been more evocative to me, so unless the vocalist is saying something outright stupid and it's totally audible, I probably wouldn't know. Same goes for the good stuff honestly. I probably should spend more time reading lyrics, but it's never been a priority for me.

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3 minutes ago, BlutAusNerd said:

No, I don't know. Like I said, I seldom read lyrics, so unless I can understand it from the vocal delivery, I probably don't know what any given band is saying. The music has always been more evocative to me, so unless the vocalist is saying something outright stupid and it's totally audible, I probably wouldn't know. Same goes for the good stuff honestly. I probably should spend more time reading lyrics, but it's never been a priority for me.

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That was me for years. I've become more interested in lyrics as I've written more, and I guess I've become less attuned to pure sound as a result. It's somewhat analogous to focusing more on guitar technique and losing sight of songwriting. I think I used to have a better feel for what sounded cool, and now I'm at a weird spot in between the lyrical content and the sensation the sounds produce. If that even makes sense.

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I own a amorphis greatest hits cd called chapters it got all there from elegry to ten thousand lakes from  alone to black winter day  it's one of my favorite cds ever since it came out with bonus DVD. With all there music videos in it I read the lyrics too as well  

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3 minutes ago, BlutAusNerd said: No, I don't know. Like I said, I seldom read lyrics, so unless I can understand it from the vocal delivery, I probably don't know what any given band is saying. The music has always been more evocative to me, so unless the vocalist is saying something outright stupid and it's totally audible, I probably wouldn't know. Same goes for the good stuff honestly. I probably should spend more time reading lyrics, but it's never been a priority for me.

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That was me for years. I've become more interested in lyrics as I've written more, and I guess I've become less attuned to pure sound as a result. It's somewhat analogous to focusing more on guitar technique and losing sight of songwriting. I think I used to have a better feel for what sounded cool, and now I'm at a weird spot in between the lyrical content and the sensation the sounds produce. If that even makes sense.

Interesting point. I wonder if that has anything to do with why young bands lose their edge as their playing matures.

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15 minutes ago, BlutAusNerd said:

Interesting point. I wonder if that has anything to do with why young bands lose their edge as their playing matures.

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Maybe a bit of that, and a bit of already having done whatever it is they did that impressed people as being "fresh". I don't know, all I really have is my own perspective. I've written a lot of songs, and it's hard sometimes to figure out how to move forward. It's a psychological thing, too, even thinking of something as "belonging" to a new project makes me more willing to accept different iterations of an idea that I've used previously. And really, sometimes, that first idea is the best.

With Amorphis, though, it's funny to see how they capitalized on trends in the Finnish DM scene. There were precursors for everything, from the grim death metal sound to the psych rock to the weird electronic stuff they included on Tales. They just figured out how to synthesize it all.

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9 hours ago, FatherAlabaster said:

Which part - the evocative stuff, the misogyny, or the general awkwardness? It's not something that affects my enjoyment of the music, it just always crosses my mind when I listen to them. "Against Widows" is, you know, a polemic against widows... A charming libretto harking back to those halcyon days when women were property, and couldn't contain their evil nature after being deprived of their mate's guidance.

Hang on hang on hang on hang on....

The mood I get from 'Against Widows' is definitely not misogynistic at all. Yes, the sentiment is that the Christian authorities in Finland during the middle ages damned widows, but Amorphis' take on it seems to be entirely observational, even sympathetic towards widows. At the very least simply illustrating what life was like in medieval Finland. It's not Amorphis saying, we hate widows. Naturally life would have been hell living in Finland in the middle ages, and this is reflected in the words of the Kalevala - and the song 'Against Widows'! 

Speaking more generally, the lyrics in Amorphis songs are very important and a huge part of their overall effectiveness for me. Like I mentioned, 'The Kalevala' is an incredible piece of literature, and the excerpts that appear in 'Tales from the Thousand Lakes' really help to make that album. Every song tells a little tale. Same with 'Elegy'. 

The albums where the band does not use Kalevala or Kanteletar lyrics are 'The Karelian Isthmas', 'Tuonela', 'Am Universum' and 'Far from the Sun' - for many their weakest releases with the exception of their debut. Once they start writing about regular things in their lives, from their own perspective, the whole band falls into a bit of a slump. Obviously there is more to the problems these albums face than simply that, but I definitely think it's a symptom.

The lyrics from the Tomi Joutsen era are second to none in metal, and the lyrics from 'Elegy' and 'Tales present an amazing picture of life in medieval Finland, too. 

Here is a version of 'Silver Bride' from 'Skyforger', the third Joutsen album, with lyrics in the description. Check them out. They're mostly from the Kalevala and they illustrate how money and treasure cannot replace human love. A pretty common archetype, but look how it's dealt with here, in the context of a forge and metallurgist trying to fashion a new lover from gold and silver, and failing. I'm a real history and literature nut so this stuff really turns me on. 

Check it out and read the lyrics! 

 

8 hours ago, BlutAusNerd said:

No, I don't know. Like I said, I seldom read lyrics, so unless I can understand it from the vocal delivery, I probably don't know what any given band is saying. The music has always been more evocative to me, so unless the vocalist is saying something outright stupid and it's totally audible, I probably wouldn't know. Same goes for the good stuff honestly. I probably should spend more time reading lyrics, but it's never been a priority for me.

 

If there is any band whose lyrics you should read, it's Amorphis. As I'm gushing, the literary connection to the history of a people is almost tangible in many of their releases. 

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5 hours ago, Requiem said:

Hang on hang on hang on hang on....

The mood I get from 'Against Widows' is definitely not misogynistic at all. Yes, the sentiment is that the Christian authorities in Finland during the middle ages damned widows, but Amorphis' take on it seems to be entirely observational, even sympathetic towards widows. At the very least simply illustrating what life was like in medieval Finland. It's not Amorphis saying, we hate widows. Naturally life would have been hell living in Finland in the middle ages, and this is reflected in the words of the Kalevala - and the song 'Against Widows'! 

Speaking more generally, the lyrics in Amorphis songs are very important and a huge part of their overall effectiveness for me. Like I mentioned, 'The Kalevala' is an incredible piece of literature, and the excerpts that appear in 'Tales from the Thousand Lakes' really help to make that album. Every song tells a little tale. Same with 'Elegy'. 

Look, these are some of my favorite albums, so I'm not over here crusading against them. But there's nothing sympathetic towards women in their treatment of the lyrics in "Against Widows". "The devil weds a widow, death, another's leftovers"... "Better to lie on a willows ...(Etc etc)... than a used woman's pillow"... Can't really be sympathetic there. I sometimes wonder why they chose to set it to music, and on a personal level I can't really get behind singing along with it. With that song, and several others, I get the sense that the music is the important part and they just grabbed some words that they thought sounded cool.

I'm not suggesting they should have done anything differently, I don't need to hear feminist activism from them. I'm also not saying you shouldn't find value in their lyrics. It's cool that the historical component interests you so much. As I said earlier, I think they're hit and miss; between mispronunciations, clunky translations, and their way of recycling parts throughout songs, they just don't gel for me a lot of the time. 

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On 31/01/2017 at 4:23 AM, FatherAlabaster said:

Look, these are some of my favorite albums, so I'm not over here crusading against them. But there's nothing sympathetic towards women in their treatment of the lyrics in "Against Widows". "The devil weds a widow, death, another's leftovers"... "Better to lie on a willows ...(Etc etc)... than a used woman's pillow"... Can't really be sympathetic there. I sometimes wonder why they chose to set it to music, and on a personal level I can't really get behind singing along with it. With that song, and several others, I get the sense that the music is the important part and they just grabbed some words that they thought sounded cool.

I see your point, but this is literally the first time since it was released in 1996 that I've heard anything like what you're saying. It seems like a really arbitrary criticism, especially considering that these lyrics are hundreds of years old and therefore to be taken with more grains of salt than are on my french fries. On the metal spectrum of inoffensive to offensive, those lyrics seem very tame to me. 

Still, I acknowledge your point and wish you a good day. 

 

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I was going to start a brand new Amorphis thread, but this one seems to be doing to the job. Too bad it has Circle in the title - could a moderator edit it to just say 'Amorphis'? 

Anyway, Queen of Time is now out and I want to talk about it. 

I'm still getting to know it, but as I mentioned the 'Now Playing' thread, my first impression is of a really light sounding album. It has an amazingly clear and fairly punchy production, but this is definitely (to my ears at least) their lightest offering. Even the 'heavy' parts are pretty gentle. It's so commercial sounding - it's almost too sugary and syrupy. It's almost closer to pop than metal in some respects. It feels like a mix between Nightwish and Alestorm (sometimes). I wish it had a bit more dirt and grit to it, like Circle. 

Another thing that bothers me is some of these twee little melodies that are popping up everywhere. The lead melodies in tracks like Heart of the Giant and Message in the Amber sound like Alestorm songs. This is not a compliment. 

Stand out tracks for me so far are The Golden Elk and Wrong Direction, although the songs are opening up with each listen and I'm finding a lot that I like here. It's definitely a very well put together album. I can sense that I'm really going to love this album in time, once I get used to it. But for now I'm feeling it's a step down from the last couple: Circle and Under the Red Cloud.

Would love to hear others' impressions. 

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8 hours ago, Requiem said:

I was going to start a brand new Amorphis thread, but this one seems to be doing to the job. Too bad it has Circle in the title - could a moderator edit it to just say 'Amorphis'? 

No, but a moderator could drag the other Amorphis thread out of the DM section (where they don't belong anymore) and merge the two so you have a central hub for all things Amorphis. You're welcome.

 

8 hours ago, Requiem said:

Anyway, Queen of Time is now out and I want to talk about it. 

I'm still getting to know it, but as I mentioned the 'Now Playing' thread, my first impression is of a really light sounding album. It has an amazingly clear and fairly punchy production, but this is definitely (to my ears at least) their lightest offering. Even the 'heavy' parts are pretty gentle. It's so commercial sounding - it's almost too sugary and syrupy. It's almost closer to pop than metal in some respects. It feels like a mix between Nightwish and Alestorm (sometimes). I wish it had a bit more dirt and grit to it, like Circle. 

Another thing that bothers me is some of these twee little melodies that are popping up everywhere. The lead melodies in tracks like Heart of the Giant and Message in the Amber sound like Alestorm songs. This is not a compliment. 

Stand out tracks for me so far are The Golden Elk and Wrong Direction, although the songs are opening up with each listen and I'm finding a lot that I like here. It's definitely a very well put together album. I can sense that I'm really going to love this album in time, once I get used to it. But for now I'm feeling it's a step down from the last couple: Circle and Under the Red Cloud.

Would love to hear others' impressions. 

I haven't listened to the entire thing yet, but what I've heard jives with your impressions. It's not working for me.

I've typically had a dim view of modern Amorphis, but I realize I never came back to this thread after I'd heard "Under The Red Cloud"; it's the first album of theirs since Tuonela that's held any interest at all for me. I have to say I really enjoy it. There's a spark of engagement with the melodies and songwriting that I haven't felt with any of their other recent albums. The few tracks I've heard of "Queen Of Time" don't hold up to that at all for me.

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7 hours ago, FatherAlabaster said:

No, but a moderator could drag the other Amorphis thread out of the DM section (where they don't belong anymore) and merge the two so you have a central hub for all things Amorphis. You're welcome.

 

I haven't listened to the entire thing yet, but what I've heard jives with your impressions. It's not working for me.

I've typically had a dim view of modern Amorphis, but I realize I never came back to this thread after I'd heard "Under The Red Cloud"; it's the first album of theirs since Tuonela that's held any interest at all for me. I have to say I really enjoy it. There's a spark of engagement with the melodies and songwriting that I haven't felt with any of their other recent albums. The few tracks I've heard of "Queen Of Time" don't hold up to that at all for me.

The best works from Amorphis in my opinion, Tales from the Thousand Lakes and Elegy, have a certain exoticism and folk atmosphere (not as in folk metal, but a feeling of real connection with the foundations of northern Europe). This isn't just in the lyrics, but also the melodies and tone. 

With Queen of Time, I'm hearing a modern commercial album in the vein of Nightwish and other Finnish melodic bands that is very well put together, but doesn't have much more than that. As I'm getting to know the album better, I can say that The Bee, The Golden Elk and Wrong Direction are really stunning, emotional songs in the best of the modern Amorphis tradition. But at the same time there just seems to be so much filler or sub-par material on here, especially on the back half of the album. I've also noticed (for a few albums now) that the music written by keyboardist Santeri Kallio is significantly better than that written by Esa Holopainen. Not every time, but most of it. Same deal here. As they split the writing about 50/50 you end up with a lopsided release. 

If there is one main criticism of the albums from Skyforger through to Queen of Time, it's that each album has Iron Maiden levels of filler - about three or four killer tracks with the same number of mediocre cuts. 

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1 hour ago, Requiem said:

The best works from Amorphis in my opinion, Tales from the Thousand Lakes and Elegy, have a certain exoticism and folk atmosphere (not as in folk metal, but a feeling of real connection with the foundations of northern Europe). This isn't just in the lyrics, but also the melodies and tone. 

With Queen of Time, I'm hearing a modern commercial album in the vein of Nightwish and other Finnish melodic bands that is very well put together, but doesn't have much more than that. As I'm getting to know the album better, I can say that The Bee, The Golden Elk and Wrong Direction are really stunning, emotional songs in the best of the modern Amorphis tradition. But at the same time there just seems to be so much filler or sub-par material on here, especially on the back half of the album. I've also noticed (for a few albums now) that the music written by keyboardist Santeri Kallio is significantly better than that written by Esa Holopainen. Not every time, but most of it. Same deal here. As they split the writing about 50/50 you end up with a lopsided release. 

If there is one main criticism of the albums from Skyforger through to Queen of Time, it's that each album has Iron Maiden levels of filler - about three or four killer tracks with the same number of mediocre cuts. 

Req I also owned queen of time  its  great record I just think they are getting the timing back with Ollie that rejoined them plus the fact it has great stuff  i heard three tracks from youtube it’s great  I enjoyed it immediately  wait till they starting writing with Ollie again they will good  buddy wait and see  lappa will be in a major force in the song waiting category 

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12 hours ago, deathstorm said:

Req I also owned queen of time  its  great record I just think they are getting the timing back with Ollie that rejoined them plus the fact it has great stuff  i heard three tracks from youtube it’s great  I enjoyed it immediately  wait till they starting writing with Ollie again they will good  buddy wait and see  lappa will be in a major force in the song waiting category 

Yeah, I hope they give Oli plenty of opportunities to have his songs heard. His writing on Elegy and the Barren Earth releases is brilliant. I was really happy when I heard he was back in the band. 

But like Calvin getting back in My Dying Bride, my initial excitement didn’t pay off, with Feel the Misery being a bit of a disappointment. Same deal with Queen of Time. For now...

In relation to my comment about folkish exoticism being Amorphis’s greatest strength, add Eclipse to the list. The lyrics and atmosphere are straight out of the old texts again, which is why it works so well. All the Queen of Time songs are about bees for some reason... And the album artwork and package is one big bee-fest. There’s just too much bee imagery! It’s un-bee-lievable. 

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The melodies on some of the 'Queen of Time' tracks are the worst of their careers. They're also really high up in the mix. I don't know what Jens Bogren is playing at, but those simple one track melodies are just too high. They stick out like... like... @salmonellapancake at an anti-drugs rally. Or @True Belief at a wimp conference. Basically, they stand out too much. 

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8 hours ago, Requiem said:

The melodies on some of the 'Queen of Time' tracks are the worst of their careers. They're also really high up in the mix. I don't know what Jens Bogren is playing at, but those simple one track melodies are just too high. They stick out like... like... @salmonellapancake at an anti-drugs rally. Or @True Belief at a wimp conference. Basically, they stand out too much. 

I don't even listen to Amorphis, but yeah I gotta agree with you given that i'm high right now.

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3 minutes ago, salmonellapancake said:

I don't even listen to Amorphis, but yeah I gotta agree with you given that i'm high right now.

Maybe that’s what the Amorphis guys need a bit more of. Exchange their herbal infused tea with some weed and a bottle of Jack so they can play some goddamn metal with feeling. Switch their yoga membership for some mixed martial arts. Switch their... well, you get the picture.

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5 hours ago, salmonellapancake said:

I don't even listen to Amorphis, but yeah I gotta agree with you given that i'm high right now.

Have you listened to any of their early stuff? I really enjoy their first three albums, and to my surprise I even found myself enjoying "Under The Red Cloud", but my favorite music from them will always be the dark, gritty DM they started off with.

 

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1 hour ago, FatherAlabaster said:

Have you listened to any of their early stuff? I really enjoy their first three albums, and to my surprise I even found myself enjoying "Under The Red Cloud", but my favorite music from them will always be the dark, gritty DM they started off with.

 

I gave some of their early stuff a chance a while back. I suppose it's time to give it another chance.

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14 hours ago, salmonellapancake said:

I gave some of their early stuff a chance a while back. I suppose it's time to give it another chance.

'Tales from the Thousand Lakes' is a transcendent album. 'Elegy' is my favourite, and one of my all time favourites, but it's a step on in style from the more gloomy heaviness of 'Tales'. 

'The Karelian Isthmus' and the EP Alabaster posted above are great if you're looking for death metal. For my taste they lack a bit of melodic whimsy, but gosh they represent a wonderful era in metal. 

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8 hours ago, Requiem said:

'Tales from the Thousand Lakes' is a transcendent album. 'Elegy' is my favourite, and one of my all time favourites, but it's a step on in style from the more gloomy heaviness of 'Tales'. 

'The Karelian Isthmus' and the EP Alabaster posted above are great if you're looking for death metal. For my taste they lack a bit of melodic whimsy, but gosh they represent a wonderful era in metal. 

Thanks for the info dude.

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    • Judas Priest "Firepower"
       


      When I was 14 I witnessed the video on Raw Power TV to the title track from Judas Priest's "Painkiller" album.  "Painkiller" blew me the fuck away!  I mean, what was not to love?  Thunderous drums, a mix of gruff and shrill vocal antics and duelling lead guitars.  I went straight out that afternoon and bought the album on blasted it for consecutive days for the next 3 months.  All in all, not a bad gateway album to the band. 

      The real draw of "Painkiller" was the memorability of the experience was that one run through the record left seared scorch marks across your brain.  For years after I could run through the entire album in my head note for note.  "Firepower" is exactly the same.  A mere 24 hours after it coming into my life and I can sing along with the lyrics, air guitar to near note perfection and bash my fingers bloody to the drums on my desktop.  It's full of anthemic choruses and simple yet effective hooks that just pull you in.

      Try and not headbang to any of the opening six tracks, if you can achieve it you are almost certainly dead inside.  Try not to make ridiculous gurning faces to any of the lead work on here and again if you succeed, check your pulse!  Sad though it maybe that Glenn has confirmed his Parkinson's is now progressed enough to stop him from touring there is no doubt that he can exchange blows, pound for pound with Faulkner and barely break a sweat.

      There's no point doing a track by track description here, if you have read the review to this point you'll get the idea.  Criticisms?  It is too long, by about 2 or maybe 3 tracks.  However, you can easily suffer the dips in the quality here and there as you are rarely away from some truly great music.  It does get a little samey at times too but that's forgivable to me as nobody is looking to reinvent any wheels here this may cause issue with the longevity of the record though for me.  Right now though I love it, I fucking love it.

      5/5
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    • Portal "ION"
      One of my favourite urban myths is that you will go blind if you masterbate too much you will go blind.  Listening to Portal might make you go blind as you ears frantically take resource from your brain that was needed for mundane tasks such as vision and bladder control as they try to cope with the relentless auditory assault of "ION", however pulling your pud won't affect your eyesight boys.  Science bit over, on with the review.

      "ION" seems instantly more refined than previous outings.  Don't get me wrong here, there's no slick production values been applied and there isn't any venture into clean vocals for example.  It just seems that this time around things are more calculated.  "Phreqs" is like being attacked by a swarm of wasps, as chaotic as it seems there's some well thought out structure to the attack to maximise the impact.  One of the only criticisms I could draw against Portal of old was that sometimes the mental factor was up over 11 and things did tend to get lost.  "Vexovoid" remedied this a lot with its more "Horror" approach and "ION" seems to take that on a notch further combining dark alchemy and atmospheres perfectly.  The build of "Crone" for example is full of creeping dread and menace, finally arriving and proving to be as ghastly as I had hoped it would.

      For all the scientific intimation of the cover things are still more on the experimental as opposed to technical side of death metal.  There's still that pit of the stomach sensation of being dragged into some fathomless void by the spiralling darkness of those fucking guitars and the taunting evil of those drums - they are not just about all out assault folks.  The layers do genuinely seem to be being applied with more structure this time around and the instrumentation is used better than ever to produce real atmosphere.  Favourite release of 2018 so far.

      5 horns out 5

       
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