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Music / Amorphis

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From left to right: Santeri Kallio, Jan Rechberger, Olli-Pekka Laine, Tomi Joutsen, Tomi Koivusaari and Esa Holopainen

Amorphis are a Finnish metal band from Helsinki, and regarded as one of the more influential bands in modern Finnish heavy metal scene.

Formed by Tomi Koivusaari, Esa Holopainen and Jan Rechberger in 1990, they started as a underground Death Metal band playing very classic garage sound death. After a couple of demos they released their debut, The Karelian Isthmus in 1992 - which, despite the title, was more about occultism, ancient warfare and Celtic mythology. Their real breakthrough was in 1994 with their sophomore release Tales From the Thousand Lakes, which showcased most of their soon-to-be trademark elements; melodic riffs, mixing growls and cleans, influences of Folk Music and Progressive Rock, and above all lyrical themes taken from the Finnish National Epic Kalevala.

Tales' sequel Elegy was another big success, and the two albums are generally regarded as classics. With a new clean vocalist Pasi Koskinen they switched in it from Death Metal to a more progressive Heavy Metal. Since then their career became rather eclectic, with stylistic experiments and line-up changes, no record sounding like the one before, until band got stuck in Creative Differences and lack of motivation which resulted in Pasi being fired from the band in 2004.

Many were close to declaring the band dead, but they found a new vocalist Tomi Joutsen soon and released the album Eclipse in 2006. It was a new breakthrough for them, and they've been going steady ever since, with successful albums and no new line-up changes. They released their 13th album Queen of Time in May 2018, which saw the return of the original bassist Olli-Pekka Laine.

  • Esa Holopainen – lead guitar (1990–present)
  • Tomi Koivusaari – rhythm guitar (1990–present), harsh vocals (1990–1997, 2010)
  • Santeri Kallio – keyboards (1998–present)
  • Jan Rechberger – drums (1990–1995, 2002–present), keyboards, synthesizer (1990–1993)
  • Tomi Joutsen – lead vocals, occasional acoustic guitar (2005–present)
  • Olli-Pekka Laine – bass (1990–2000, 2017-present)


  • Niclas Etelävuori – bass, backing vocals (2000–2017)
  • Kasper Mårtenson – keyboards (1993–1995)
  • Kim Rantala – keyboards (1995–1997)
  • Pekka Kasari – drums (1995–2002)
  • Pasi Koskinen – clean vocals (1995–2004)


  • Marco Hietala — vocal producer, backing vocals (Far from the Sun, Eclipse, Silent Waters, Skyforger, The Beginning of Times)



  • The Karelian Isthmus (1992)
    • Privilege of Evil EP (1993)
  • Tales From The Thousand Lakes (1994)
    • Black Winter Day EP (1995)
  • Elegy (1996)
    • My Kantele EP (1997)
  • Tuonela (1999)
  • Am Universum (2001)
  • Far From The Sun (2003)
  • Eclipse (2006)
  • Silent Waters (2007)
  • Skyforger (2009)
    • Magic And Mayhem - Tales From the Early Yearsnote  (2010)
  • The Beginning of Times (2011)
  • Circle (2013)
  • Under The Red Cloud (2015)
  • Queen of Time (2018)
  • Halo (2022)

Notable songs:

Tropes related to Amorphis (YMMV tropes go here):

  • Audience Participation Song: Joutsen usually makes the crowd to sing the chorus of House of Sleep.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: This apparently happened to Kimi Rantala, the former keyboardist; according to the Tales from the 20 Years dockumentary, they practically lost contact with him after Elegy tour and had to get Santeri Kallio to play keyboards in Tuonela.
  • Concept Album: Tales and Elegy take their lyrics almost straight from the Kalevala and the poetry collection Kanteletar. The "Joutsen era" albums have a recurring theme of being based on one of the main characters of Kalevala (Eclipse is about Kullervo, Silent Waters about Lemminkäinen, Skyforger about Ilmarinen, and The Beginning of Times about Väinämöinen). Circle switches the format by telling an original story, while based on Finnish folklore.
  • Cover Version: They've covered songs from The Doors, Hawkwind, Kingston Wall, and Abhorrence.
    • Covered Up: It's more than likely that you've heard Vulgar Necrolatry note  first via Amorphis, as Abhorrence were fairly shortlived and obscure band that Tomi Koivusaari was in before Amorphis.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to the previous Joutsen Era albums, which were generally evolving towards more serene and melodic sound, Circle takes a turn to overall gloomier and heavier direction.
  • Foreign Language Title: Tuonela is a Finnish name for the realm of the dead.
  • Genre Mashup: Melodic folk death heavy metal with influences of jazz and progressive rock.
  • Harsh Vocals: Common. Since Elegy they've been usually accompanied with clean vocals (formerly by Koivusaari & Koskinen duo, recently by Joutsen handling both).
  • Heavy Mithril: Most of their lyrics are based on Finnish Mythology in general and The Kalevala in particular.
  • Lighter and Softer: Evidently when they shifted from Death Metal to a more progressive sound.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: Frequently deliberately invoked. Much of the Elegy album, in particular, uses this shamelessly, given that it's quite harsh melodeath but all of its lyrics are taken old Finnish folk songs.
  • Melodic Death Metal: One of the first bands to play the style with Tales From The Thousand Lakes. Possibly the Ur-Example, as a few songs from The Karelian Isthmus could certainly fit in the genre and predate the commonly accepted Trope Maker, Heartwork by Carcass.
  • Myspeld Rökband: "Amorphis" comes from the word amorphous, nicely fitting their changing musical style.
  • New Sound Album: Aplenty! Most notable are Elegy compared to Thousand Lakes (from Death Metal to a more progressive direction, with a new clean vocalist), and Eclipse compared to Far From The Sun (from progressive rock to a more straightforward Heavy Metal, with a change of vocalist).
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted with two Tomis (Koivusaari and Joutsen). In the earlier line-up there was also bassist Olli-Pekka Laine and drummer Pekka Kasari.
  • Power Ballad: Her Alone and My Sun, among others.
  • Rearrange the Song: The 20th anniversary compilation album Magic and Mayhem, which consists of remade songs from the pre-Joutsen era.
  • Record Producer: They've been a technical DIY variety for a long time, as despite the albums having a nominal producer, the band has usually done the work themselves. For Circle they seem to have collaborated in mutual understanding with Peter Tägtgren.
  • Replacement Goldfish: "Silver Bride" tells the story of how the blacksmith Ilmarinen tried to make a new wife for himself from gold and silver after Kullervo killed his first one, only to fail miserably.
  • Shout-Out: The opening melody of "Magic and Mayhem" is borrowed from an old Finnish folk song "Soittajapaimen". Similarly, the main riff of "Smithereens" is from the main theme of The Phantom of the Opera.
  • Truck Driver's Gear Change: Used in "The Smoke" and "White Swan", for example.
  • Yarling: Pasi Koskinen's usual vocal style. He is one of the few metal vocalists to use this style, along with Sully Erna, Layne Staley, Paul Isola, and a couple others.