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The Karelian Isthmus

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  • Amorphis’ debut album, The Karelian Isthmus, was originally issued with the tag “Purveyors of Fine Grind”, which is ultimately a misnomer; this is not in the loosest sense of the word deathgrind; it is well crafted mid-paced death metal from start to finish. Slower passages are broken up by thrashier blast-beat passages, but instead of bringing home the intensity of the band’s doom-laiden atmosphere, it only points out how slow and careful the music is. Too careful, in my opinion. After the fourth or fifth track the band’s formula becomes all too predictable and the cd has yet to keep my interest well enough to listen to the whole thing in a single sitting. The primary faults are the songs are too formulaic, too long, without enough going on to justify song lengths and the albums overall length (over an hour). The “Privilege of Evil” EP packaged at the end of the reissue is raw demo material consisting primarily of songs from the full-length, and is worth missing. To sum up, I’m glad I have this album, as Amorphis display a sound here that I have yet to hear elsewhere, a kind of epic, atmospheric deathchurner. However, it’s not one I listen to often, and never all the way through.

    Posted on February 17, 2010