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(Nuclear Blast)

jools green

Jools Green

amorphis circle

Now in their twenty third year as a band, Finnish melancholic dark rock/Metallers Amorphis' latest album, 'Circle', their eleventh full length, encompasses tried and tested elements alongside a few newer elements.

Once again lyricist Pekka Kainulainen, who has worked with the band on previous albums, has been involved in the creation of 'Circle', so there is a familiar feel to the lyrical style.

'Circle' tells a story about an unfortunate man, who is invited to a circle and receives strength from the old Finnish Gods. The plot is set completely between dusk and dawn, giving a dark, melancholic atmosphere.

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Opening with 'Shades Of Gray', an exciting track from the very start, the harsh vocals from Tomi Joutsen sit so well beside the chugging guitars and sinister keyboard segments which give a dark ominous feel and the addition of clean vocals balance the composition of this stunning opening track, my favourite track of the album.

The next few tracks have only clean vocals; however there is a powerful depth to Tomi's cleans, so that keeps me happy. 'The Mission' has a slower tempo and a lamenting, slight folk influence and progressive aspect to the guitars. After a short gentle opener 'The Wanderer' develops into an up tempo but melancholic number, this element is something which develops from the lyrics and vocal intonation.

As with many of their tracks, past and present, 'Narrowpath' has a strong folk influence which is picked up in a repeat pattern from the keyboards and guitars, an up tempo and beautiful track.

On 'Hopeless Days' the combination of chugging guitars mixed with sections where the tempo drops and just reflective gentle keyboards, then powerful cleans, all capped off with a great guitar segment that is interwoven with some excellent keyboards towards the end. All this comes together to form a powerfully emotive track.

The harsh vocals return alongside the cleans and from a vocal perspective, 'Nightbird's Song' is a standout track just for the sheer range used within its construct, extending to an almost gurgling scream at times and powerful enough to make hair stand up on the back of your neck.

Given the title I expected 'Into The Abyss' to be darker but it's actually quite melancholic. It also features a couple of great guitar and keyboard solos which almost seem to compete with each other. 'Enchanted By The Moon' has great soaring, spiralling opener and more splendid deep harsh vocals mixed with powerful cleans.

The final track, 'A New Day', has a beautiful extended emotive guitar opener before the clean vocals begin, continuing in a slower tempo and maintaining the emotive feel, the track takes on a folk influenced melancholic element towards the end.

Although 'Circle' does fit into that tried and tested Amorphis formula that has been present over the last few albums, it also has a little something extra not found on its predecessors, maybe a little punchier, but whatever it is, for certain it's an absolutely great album with a polished finish and a first rate production.

The album was produced by Peter Tägtgren (Hypocrisy, Pain), and recorded at Petrax Studio, Finland. The cover artwork is by British artist Tom Bates.

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Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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