Under the red cloud
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The lyrics are written by AMORPHIS's spiritual mentor Pekka Kainulainen. ”Like Kalevala, they are descriptions of natural phenomena, seasons and the human mind. Reoccuring situations where hope and uncertainty alternate. Attempting to gain advice from higher powers. The poems do not form a complete story per se, but they are drawn together by a certain theme. We live under a red cloud and once again, time weighs us,” describes Pekka Kainulainen.
Founded in 1990 in Helsinki, Finland-based melancholic metal masters AMORPHIS wrote music history, incl. classic albums like f.e. their debut »The Karelian Isthmus« (1992), their breakthrough »Tales From The Thousand Lakes« (1994) and »Eclipse« (2006), their first album with the new vocalist Tomi Joutsen, which marked the beginning of a new era in the band‘s history.
A few months ago, AMORPHIS kicked off the celebrations for the band's 20th anniversary of »Tales From The Thousand Lakes«, which delights the masses even today. Regardless of their relentless touring schedule, they secretly returned to the studio to write and record their forthcoming, twelfth record with famous producer Jens Bogren (SOILWORK, KREATOR etc.) at his Fascination Street Studio in Örebro. The result of this two-month recording session is once again a heavy, melodic statement, called »Under The Red Cloud«.
During the recordings, the sextet was joined by some famous guest musicians: Chrigel Glanzmann (ELUVEITIE) played flutes on 'The Four Wise Ones', 'Death Of A King' and 'Tree Of Ages', Martin Lopez (ex-OPETH drummer) played percussions on 'Death Of A King' and Aleah Stanbridge (TREES OF ETERNITY) sang guest vocals on 'The Four Wise Ones', 'Sacrifice' and 'White Night'.
“It was a great honor to have such talented musicians appearing on »Under The Red Cloud«,“ guitar player and founding member Esa Holopainen comments. “Each one of them puts his/her personality and character in the very right spot.“
The whole recording process was a time full of extremely intense work for AMORPHIS. “It was the first time, that I woke up at 08.00am to start recordings. They went on until 06.00pm in the evening - every day! But the result was definitely worth it,“ the guitarist continues. “It was a great experience and Jens made us playing more aggressive and working really hard“, drummer Jan Rechberger adds. Jens Bogren also handled the mixing and mastering of »Under The Red Cloud«.
“The new record will go in a similar direction like »Circle« but on the other hand it reminds a lot we did on »Elegy«”, Holopainen reveals. „There are a lot of variations in the songs, but the overall feeling is very dynamic and melodic“.
A perfect example for the variety and feel is the first single 'Death Of A King'.It starts with an oriental melody & crashing drums, and has a lot of dynamics. The follow-up 'Sacrifice' is more upbeat and relies more on the soaring lead melody, like the opener 'Under The Red Cloud', which starts with a tension-creating piano intro. The title track flows over into the double bass-dominated and one of the most aggressive songs on the album - 'The Four Wise Ones'. Finally, the closing track 'White Night' marks a kind of summary of the album, because it contains some trademarks of other songs like an oriental feeling or driving double bass drumming at the end. So it’s a worthy last chapter of the story, AMORPHIS are telling us this time.
The new album’s lyrics were written by Pekka Kainulainen, as per the previous four releases. „He has become a sort of ghost member of the band“, Holopainen adds. „His lyrics aren’t forming a complete storyline, but they form a certain there. Pekka describes things like natural phenomena, seasons and the human mind like we’ve done in the past with the Kalevala stories. They are attempts to gain advice from higher powers“.
In typical AMORPHIS style, the band wanted the album artwork to be representative of the lyrical themes. French artist Jean-Emmanuel "Valnoir" Simoulin (LAIBACH, PARADISE LOST, MORBID ANGEL and WATAIN) realised the band’s vision, which Esa comments on: „Valnoir did superb work. The colours and themes are perfectly fitting to the record“.
AMORPHIS commence their worldwide tour to support »Under The Red Cloud« on the 19th of September in Finland. After their string of headline dates, the band will be joining Symphonic Metal gods NIGHTWISH on their upcoming »Endless Forms Most Beautiful European Tour«, together with Melodic Death giants ARCH ENEMY.
„On the summer festivals, we will play our »Tales From The Thousand Lakes« anniversary show. After that, the touring cycle for »Under The Red Cloud« will start and I’m really looking forward to tour with such great bands like NIGHTWISH and ARCH ENEMY and to see all fans on the road“, Holopainen closes.
- Under The Red Cloud
- The Four Wise Ones
- Bad Blood
- The Skull
- Death Of A King
- Dark Path
- Enemy At The Gates
- Tree Of Ages
- White Night
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