• How a respectable compilation should be done - A review of Amorphis' "His Story"

    Amorphis - His Story (2016)

    Amorphis hasn't released a physical greatest hits compilation in more than thirteen years when ''Chapters'' had been published. Since then, Amorphis had an important line-up change with the chasrismatic and versatile Tomi Joutsen taking Pasi Koskinen's spot. The band has also released a whopping eight studio albums which weren't covered by the last compilation. A compilation was therefore overdue and His Story is a great example of how to release an appropriate greatest hits record for new, old and occasional fans. Sadly, this release was only made available in Japan but it's one of the few cases when it's worth paying an elevated price for an import version.

    The band included songs from all its studio records in equal parts. Since Amorphis' sound has shifted and changed numerous times throughout its impressive career, it's appropriate to follow the band's way in chronological order. Gloomy death metal from the early years as in ''The Gathering'' is followed by the band's revolutionary mixture of progressive melodic death metal with psychedelic folk elements as heard in ''Into Hiding'' before the band honors its psychedelic rock era with masterpieces such as ''Alone'' on the first disc that represents the early and transitional years of the group's career.

    The second disc focuses on a band that has found its permanent line-up and style but still desires to break boundaries and create new pieces of art as one can hear in the mellow psychedelic folk ballad ''Under a Soil and Black Stone'', the uplifting progressive power metal masterpiece ''Sky Is Mine'' or the rhythmic death metal influences of yore intertwined with melodic and moody power folk sections as in ''Death of a King''. Even though some fans might miss a few personal highlights here and there, these two discs are filled with far over two and a half hours of music and offer both quantity and quality as well as value for money.

    The third disc includes four rare tracks that haven't been released in Japan so far and that were only included on different limited editions in Europe or North America. These four tracks have a respectable running time of twenty-three minutes and prove that even Amorphis' bonus songs are much more impressive than what other bands put on their regular albums. The first three tracks are taken from the Circle recording sessions while the fourth song is from the Under the Red Cloud era. These songs offer more progressive masterpieces where the band's extreme metal roots meet its more melodic and uplifting contemporary era.

    A gorgeous new cover artwork completes the whopping running time of about three hours on this carefully crafted compilation. Since this is a limited release, you shouldn't hesitate to purchase this output that really does the band's impressive career justice. This is also a perfect gift to offer to anyone who is less familiar with metal music and wants to discover the world's most eclectic and open-minded high-quality band of this vast genre.

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