How does one describe Amorphis? As the prog/melodic/death/heavy metal band from Finland whose sound morphs and changes yet always makes sense? Under the Red Cross is Amorphis' 12th release in a series of records that have explored the universe of metal and beyond.
You might know Amorphis from their early death metal sound on the classic Tales From The Thousand Lakes, or their album Eclipse form 2006, which introduced singer Tomi Joutsen to the band. Tales From the Thousand Lakes celebrated its 20th birthday last year, and Amorphis toured the summer festivals replaying their famous album.
With so many influences, it is hard to describe Under the Red Cross. “The Four Wise Ones” pulls back to Tales From the Thousand Lakes (it is clear that the band got some ideas playing their old album again in its entirety). Then there is “Sacrifice”, which revisits the more progressive style from Skyforger and Eclipse. A dash of folk is provided with “Three of Ages” and Aleah Stanbridge's guest vocals stand out on “White Night”.
While this combination of sounds and influences might sound confusing, Amorphis made a solid album out of it, that never loses its coherence.
To conclude: Under the Red Cross is possibly the best album Amorphis have ever made, pulling all their influences together into a deeply layered masterpiece. It is still possible that over the next 3 months an album gets released that knocks me off my socks even more than Under the Red Cross, but until then, I can firmly state: ALBUM OF THE YEAR 2015!
01. Under the Red Cloud
02. The Four Wise Ones
03. Bad Blood
04. The Skull
05. Death of a King
07. Dark Path
08. Enemy at the Gates
09. Tree of Ages
10. White Night
Label: Nuclear Blast