I recently caught up with Guitarist Tomi Koivusaari from the Finnish heavy metal legends Amorphis to talk all about the latest album “Halo” which was released 11th of February through Atomic Fire Records.
Rock and metal music have always been a haven for those who have bigger stories to tell, who have grander emotions to convey. For more than thirty years, Finnish figureheads AMORPHIS have done their best to carve their very own niche in heartfelt yet aggressive, melancholic yet soothing tunes. On HALO. their staggering fourteenth studio effort, the Finns underline their trailblazing status as one of the most original, culturally relevant and rewarding acts ever to emerge from the land of the thousand lakes. In the past, mythology and legend took the role of today’s pop culture: stories and a set of values uniting us by giving us a voice and a tapestry on which we can find each other and identify with something. By weaving the tales of Finnish national epos Kalevala into their songs and interpreting them in a timeless way, AMORPHIS combine the role of ancient minstrels and luminaries of the modern world, honouring tradition without getting stuck in the past.
The vibrant, lively, and touching beauty that is HALO highlights their musical and storytelling mastership on a once again soaring level: it’s a progressive, melodic, and quintessentially melancholic heavy metal masterwork plucked from the fickle void of inspiration by original guitarists Esa Holopainen and Tomi Koivusaari, bassist Olli-Pekka Laine, drummer Jan Rechberger, longtime keyboardist Santeri Kallio and vocalist Tomi Joutsen, the band’s long-standing lyrical consciousness Pekka Kainulainen and a selected group of world class audio professionals led by renowned Swedish producer Jens Bogren. Considering the band’s prolonged journey in the forefront of innovative metal music, it’s difficult to grasp how AMORPHIS manage to raise the proverbial bar time and time again, presenting a more than worthy finale to the trilogy begun with 2015’s Under The Red Cloud followed by 2018’s Queen Of Time.
“It really is a great feeling that we can still produce very decent music as a band,” says Holopainen, a founding member of AMORPHIS. “Perhaps a certain kind of self-criticism and long experience culminate in these latest albums.” To the songwriter himself, HALO sounds both familiar and different. “It is thoroughly recognizable AMORPHIS from beginning to end but the general atmosphere is a little bit heavier and more progressive and also organic compared to its predecessor,” he elaborates.
Tomi Joutsen, the man with vocal cords capable of unleashing colossal, bear-like growls as well as singing soothing, mesmerising lullabies, adds: “To me, »Halo« sounds a little more stripped down compared to »Queen Of Time« and »Under The Red Cloud«. However, don’t get me wrong: when a certain song needs to sound big, then it sounds very big.” He’s right, of course: by stripping down some of the arrangements, the monumental moments become even more monumental. That’s of course also thanks to producing renaissance man Jens Bogren who harvested the eleven final tracks from a batch of thirty songs AMORPHIS offered him. “Jens is very demanding, but I really like to work with him,” says Holopainen. “He takes care of the whole project from start to finish, and he allows the musician to focus on just playing. I may not be able to thank Jens enough. Everything we’ve done together has been really great, and this co-operation has carried AMORPHIS significantly forward.”
“Halo” (February 11th, 2022) Purchase AMORPHIS https://vvk.link/1zdmzeb
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