Friday, August 7, 2009

Amorphis - Black Winter Day (1995)

In January 1995, Amorphis followed up on the success of Tales From the Thousand Lakes with the Black Winter Day E.P. In a way, it seemed that their musical transition had already been decided upon. This release would serve as an epitaph for the early period of Amorphis. After this, they would continue to 'progress' toward something quite far from their roots.

It begins with the song "Black Winter Day". This is the same version as found on the L.P. For me, this song didn't stick out so much as to deserve its own E.P. All of the songs on Tales From the Thousand Lakes were quite consistent, so any one of them would have sufficed. At any rate, this was the song that they felt best represented that album, apparently.

"Folk of the North" is a somber instrumental that begins with a piano. It is sooned joined by the guitars, bass and drums. Much like the material on the last full-length, this has a peaceful atmosphere and wouldn't have been out of place among those songs, really.

The next song is "Moon and Sun", which is a bit more straight-forward. There is still some utilization of the keyboard, though it is implemented in creating a darker feeling than on other songs. The guitar riffs possess the same epic nature as is found on the two previous albums, causing one to wonder whether or not this was a leftover track. Judging by the lyrics, it would appear so. If it was passed up, my guess is that this decision was based more of time constraints rather than quality, as this is a very good song.

"Moon and Sun Pt. II: North's Son" starts with an eerie keyboard effect, though the song is a bit more uptempo than its predecessor, once it actually begins. As with the last one, the vocals are all done in the Death Metal style, being deep and almost more reminiscent of The Karelian Isthmus than Tales From the Thousand Lakes. The speed has increased a bit, as well. During the latter half of the song, the pace slows down and nothing is left but a piano and the drums. This hearkens back to the intro from the last album. Once the guitars return, the pace picks up, slightly, as the song finishes out.

Black Winter Day is a fitting manner to say goodbye to the first era of Amorphis and to begin the new one with a clean slate; i.e. no leftover songs from the past. The material here is just as good as anything found on the previous full-length, which is easily noticed due to the inclusion of a song from that L.P. For people such as myself, this is also a good point at which to close the book on this band, as they subsequently transformed into something quite different.