Exposé Online banner

Amorphis — Am Universum
(Nuclear Blast NB 535-2, 2001, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2001-12-01

Am Universum Cover art

Back when I was in my early teens, I went through a phase where I liked heavy metal. Black Sabbath’s Paranoid was my favorite LP. That phase didn’t last very long, and I haven’t followed the genre much since. If I hadn’t read about Finland’s Amorphis, this bit of my history would be irrelevant: without knowing that Amorphis started life as a metal band, I would not have guessed. I may catch hell for saying this, but Am Universum reminds me more than anything of a heavier version of Porcupine Tree’s lush style. The vocals aren’t as breathy as Steven Wilson’s, and the guitar solos are not reminiscent of David Gilmour, but the overall sound has a noticeable similarity, with lots of wah-wah, phase shift, and keyboards more atmosphere than lead, favoring older sounds like Hammond, piano, and analog melodies. The songwriting is good, with a variety of tempos and moods, with melodies that stick in the head after they’re gone. “Veil of Sin” is the slower tune of the set, and starts with acoustic guitar and piano, and adds sax later on as a decidedly non-metal touch. There’s also a distinct resemblance to some other Scandinavian bands I’ve heard, like Book of Hours, Qoph, or a little Five Fifteen, though it’s hard to put my finger on exactly what it is. I haven’t really delved into the lyrics, but most of them seem non-irritating, though “Goddess (of the Sad Man)” gets pretty close to the realm of silly pretense.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 23, 2001 releases

Related artist(s): Amorphis

Latest news

2017-05-19
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more

2017-05-05
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more

2017-05-02
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more

2017-04-16
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Syd Barrett - Crazy Diamond – With the exception of some live sessions recorded for the John Peel show, this 3CD box set purportedly contains all of the surviving post-Pink Floyd recordings of their one time bandleader Syd...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues