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

2021-01-18
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more

2020-12-09
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more

2020-11-20
25 Views of Worthing Finally Gets Released – A while ago, we wrote about the discovery of a "long lost" Canterbury-style gem by a band called 25 Views of Worthing. And now we're pleased to find out that Wind Waker Records has released their music on an LP. » Read more

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Marc Ceccotti - M.A.S.C. – I heard that this was the new Edhels album all the way up to the time that I got it. Anyway, Ceccotti was more or less the brains behind Edhels, and his first solo album is definitely in the vein of...  (1993) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues