Halo the upcoming, highly-anticipated opus of Finnish melancholic progressive metallers AMORPHIS, will hit the shelves on February 11, via Atomic Fire. With its release being only about five weeks away, the group have shared the second installment of their accompanying studio documentary via YouTube today. Watch the trailer to follow Santeri Kallio’s tracking journey that even made him stop at the Church of Paavali for organ recordings now, here.
He comments: “There’s a couple of opinions from Jens’ (Bogren; producer) side that it’s more melodic but for me it’s also much heavier than previous Amorphis albums, at least a few. It’s definitely more guitar driven, the guitars are in a main role on this album. There’s a few songs where the keyboards are more present, like ‘The Moon’ and ‘Halo’, but mostly it’s supermassive!”
Once again adorned by artwork provided by Valnoir (ALCEST, PARADISE LOST etc.), Halo was recorded, produced and mixed by Jens Bogren (Fascination Street Studios) while mastering duties were handled by Tony Lindgren.
Pre-order the album physically, pre-save it or pre-order it digitally to receive ‘The Moon’ instantly now, here. Also pre-order Amorphis’ soon-to-be-released On The Dark Waters 7″ (out January 28), here.
‘The Moon’ (OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EU5A5nqojYo
Drums & Percussion (OFFICIAL ALBUM DOCUMENTARY – EPISODE #1): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQlSniNBTWs
Halo – Track Listing:
- On The Dark Waters
- The Moon
- A New Land
- When The Gods Came
- Seven Roads Come Together
- The Wolf
- My Name Is Night
Live In Europe 2018-2019 – Track Listing (BOX SET EXCL.):
- Death Of A King
- Amongst Stars [feat. Anneke van Giersbergen]
- Sky Is Mine
- Message In The Amber
- Her Alone [feat. Anneke van Giersbergen]
- The Castaway
Halo will be available in the following formats:
– 2LP IN GATEFOLD:
gold (wholesale excl.)
red (US excl.)
blue marbled (band shop excl.)
yellow/blue marbled (Atomic Fire excl.)
orange marbled (Napalm Records & UK excl.)
red/blue marbled (Levykauppa excl.)
white/blue marbled (EMP + US excl.)
– BOX SET (incl. 2LP, excl. »Live In Europe 2018-2019« bonus CD, flag, slipmat and button):
green/blue marbled vinyl (Atomic Fire excl.)
silver vinyl (EMP excl.)
– TAPE (Levykauppa excl.)
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.”
Indeed. Setting off with the stormy grandeur of opener ‘Northwards’, Amorphis take us on an epic journey through the lands of the North, their rich cultural and historical heritage and musical traditions. This is not only an album for fans or metal connoisseurs. It’s a must for every imaginative mind out there with a soft spot for cinematic soundscapes, triumphant melodies and breathtaking dynamics measuring the borderlands of light and dark.
However, no AMORPHIS album would be complete without the imaginative and poetic storytelling of renowned lyricist and ‘Kalevala’ expert Pekka Kainulainen. “From day one, Pekka has always been an enthusiastic and prolific lyricist for Amorphis ,” says Joutsen. “It is a slow process of translating archaic Finnish poetry into English and adapting it to our progressive rhythms. Fortunately, Pekka does everything on time and with great care.” Since 2007’s Silent Waters, Kainulainen has been navigating the mythological waters of his homeland with great skill and respect. For Halo, he outdid himself once again. “Halo is a loose themed record filled with adventurous tales about the mythical North tens of thousands of years ago,” he explains. “The lyrics tell of an ancient time when man wandered to these abandoned boreal frontiers after the ice age. While describing the revival of a seminal culture in a world of new opportunities, I also try to reach the sempiternal forces of the human mind.”
Thirty-one years after their inception, with uncounted global tours under their belt and fourteen albums deep in their career, Amorphis still prove to be the musical fountain of youth, an extraordinary band constantly reinventing themselves without abandoning their mystical roots. With Halo, they deliver an astonishing album that deserves to be played everywhere, transcending the realms of metal and rock by its sheer profoundness and musicality.
Tomi Joutsen | vocals
Esa Holopainen | guitars
Tomi Koivusaari | guitars
Santeri Kallio | keyboards
Olli-Pekka Laine| bass
Jan Rechberger | drums