Album Review: Under the Red Cloud by Amorphis

Date: September 24, 2015

By Brendan the Barbarian

If you are a fan of Opeth then Under the Red Cloud is an album you will enjoy. Diving into the first song, and title track, you are greeted by the keyboard work of Santeri Kallio. The feeling it imposes on its listener is that of traversing through a misty forest. It is not long before the rest of the band joins in and delivers a splendid fusion of folk metal and melodic death metal. Tomi Joutsen, lead vocals, moves seamlessly between clean singing and growls throughout the course of the album. One of my favorite examples of this was for the song Bad Blood. The song presents a strong presence which borders almost on a power metal feeling. Joutsen effortlessly brings his listeners on a sensory journey which is unlike anything you have encountered before.
Other songs that are worth a listen include Death of a King, Dark Path, Enemy at the Gates, and The Skull. Death of a King creates a subtle but sinister atmosphere. Before you even realize it Esa Holopainen and Tomi Koivusaari entrance you with hard hitting and heavy guitar work. In addition to this a wooden flute can be heard throughout the song. This would be out of place in other metal bands but provides a very complimentary sound to Death of a King. Enemy at the Gates, as previously mentioned about Death of a King, creates an atmosphere right away. It effortlessly transitions back and forth from heavy to light which must have taken a great deal of time to master.
Every song on Under the Red Cloud was able to paint a picture in my mind of a story. For Death of a King it was being chased through an Arabian bazar by sword wielding guards. Tree of Ages was a forest which was occupied by mythical creatures such as fairies or elves. For Enemy at the Gates I could see myself standing at the top of a pyramid in ancient Egypt watching an amassing army preparing itself for war. Every individual song, even if just in tone and not lyrics, can take you on a journey through your own mind. Beyond the fact that this album was splendidly put together, it is a great way to introduce someone to folk metal and melodic death metal at the same time. In my opinion, there are no bad reasons for listening to this album.

Please note that the opinions expressed in this review are the opinions of the writer alone. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of WSOU, Seton Hall University, nor any of its affiliates.

Posted in: Album Review, Metal, Storming the Ramparts, WSOU Exclusive

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