Two years after the ‘Beginning of Times’, Finnish masters of melancholy Amorphis deliver their 11th opus : ‘Circle’. Bass player Niclas Etelävuori tells us how they’ve come full circle.

This is your 11th album now. You've seemed to have found a new lease on life ever since Tomi Joutsen joined the band on ‘Eclipse’?

I guess he brought the motivation back that was missing in the later Pasi Koskinen years. Since he joined we have been a lot more creative and toured a lot more, it wasn't possible before.

‘Circle’’s a significant departure from the previous album, which was, in my humble opinion, much easier on the ears. While I applaud the shift, isn't it a bold move seeing that ‘The Beginning of Times’ was such a commercial success?

We wanted to experiment a bit more so from the start we took a different approach. We had done all albums since Eclipse in the same studio with almost everything the same so now we went to a different studio, hired a new producer and just let it flow. It feels fresh even if it is the same old band.

There are quite a few surprises in there. For example : Tomi’s voice is more versatile and at times aggressive than ever and at one point you can even hear some black metal in the guitars.

There's a lot of details on the album, I think you need to spin it around a few times to hear it all. We didn't want to stick to much to the traditions so on the album we just let it come out as it was. Peter being an extreme metal guy also helped to bring up that element a bit more, he had special techniques for everything.

The artwork is quite uncommon for Amorphis. For me it’s actually the most intriguing one you’ve had since ‘Tales…’ you would expect this type of moody, darkly psychedelic covers more from bands on the Relapse roster? How did you get in touch with this artist Tom Bates?

He was suggested to us by our label Nuclear Blast. We saw some of his artwork and he did share some ideas with us and I think it looks fantastic, probably coolest Amorphis artwork ever.

It again tells an original story by Pekka Kainulainen, could you tell us a bit more about this tale?

He wrote the original story and Tomi Joutsen edited it a bit. There can be many circles, this is just one of them, basically a survival story of a man getting through the day in a traditional way.

Peter Tätgren produced the album. I’m actually surprised you never collaborated on any albums before seeing that he often works with bands on NB. What do you think he has brought to the sound of Amorphis on this record?

He brought a confidence to try new things and with his expertise we managed to make the hardest and I think best sounding Amorphis album to this date. It was the first time in over 10 years that we had an outside producer with us from the beginning to the end. I think it was a fruitful collaboration and I wouldn't mind doing it again some day.

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