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Amorphis is a Finnish metal band started by Jan Rechberger, Tomi Koivusaari, and Esa Holopainen in 1990. Initially, the band was a death metal act, but on later albums they evolved into playing other types of genres, which include heavy metal, progressive metal, and folk metal. They frequently use the Kalevala, the Epic Poem of Finland, as a source for their lyrics.
In 1989, Jan Rechberger and Esa Holopainen played in a thrash metal band called Violent Solution, which Tomi Koivusaari had left the previous year to form the death metal band Abhorrence. Violent Solution slowly dissolved and Jan Rechberger and Esa Holopainen put together another death metal band. In early 1990, Tomi Koivusaari became the vocalist and Oppu Laine became their bassist.
During that time, Tomi also performed rhythm guitar, leading to the band dumping all original compositions and starting over again. Tomi's other band, Abhorrence, split up and he found himself with more time to put into Amorphis. A demo tape, Disment of Soul, was recorded in 1991 by Timo Tolkki at TTT studios.
Amorphis in 1992 with Jukka Kolehmainen of Abhorrence.After the band recorded their first studio demo tape, Relapse Records offered Abhorrence a recording contract. Since Abhorrence was no longer active, they sent their own demo in the return mail and got signed to a worldwide recording deal. Soon after getting signed they released their death metal debut, The Karelian Isthmus under the new name Amorphis and later released the Privilege of Evil EP. The EP featured Abhorrence's original vocalist, Jukka Kolehmainen, on vocals on the Abhorrence cover song "Vulgar Necrolatry".
In 1994, Amorphis released their second studio album, Tales from the Thousand Lakes, a concept album based on the Finnish national epic, the Kalevala. This 1994 release, while still rooted in death metal, was their first step toward a new direction as melodic clean vocals were added, provided by Ville Tuomi. Tales from the Thousand Lakes won the band a fan base thanks to its innovative sound and fusion of death metal with traditional folk, psychedelia, and progressive elements. This album went on to influence the signature Amorphis sound.
Elegy and TuonelaDuring the subsequent tours Kasper (keyboards) left the band, to be replaced by Kim Rantala. Jan was replaced by Pekka Kasari (ex-Stone), and a sixth member was recruited, singer Pasi Koskinen. The third album, Elegy was released in 1996. Lyrics were again adapted from Finnish mythology, in this case, the Kanteletar, a collection of ancient folk poetry. Pasi and Tomi shared the vocals on an equal basis, with Pasi's providing only clean parts.
After a year and a half of touring following the release of Elegy, the band members took a time-out. Their next offering, 1999's Tuonela was a mellow guitar album, although toward the end of the studio sessions, Santeri Kallio of Kyyria was brought in to add some keyboard tracks to the songs. New instruments were introduced (Tomi playing sitar in the song "Greed", Sakari Kukko on saxophone and flute providing a foreign accent) and the death growls were reduced, as all vocals were performed by Pasi.
The tenth-anniversary compilation Story was produced, and the band experienced another line-up change. Following the breakup of Kyyria, Santeri joined Amorphis as a full-time member. Bassist Oppu was replaced by another ex-Kyyria member, Niclas Etelävuori, to tour with Amorphis on their third U.S. tour.
Am Universum and Far from the SunAm Universum was released in 2001, which included more emphases to keyboards and saxophone work, the latter contributed by Sakari Kukko. It was an experimental album and Amorphis' most psychedelic to date. In 2002 the band contributed to the soundtrack for the movie Menolippu Mombasaan. The commissioned piece was a cover version of a 1976 Finnish pop hit "Kuusamo", it is currently the band's only song in their native language.
Amorphis' last album with Relapse Records was Am Universum. In 2003, Relapse released the retrospective Chapters, which included a DVD featuring the band's videos from "Black Winter Day" to "Alone". Far from the Sun was produced by the band itself, which had been rejoined by original drummer Jan Rechberger after Pekka Kasari had quit to concentrate on family duties. Pasi left the band in 2004 after nine years.
Amorphis received hundreds of demo tapes from prospective vocalists before ultimately deciding upon Tomi Joutsen as their next singer in 2005. Joutsen, best-known for his work with metal band Sinisthra, urged Amorphis to return to the use of contrasting vocal styles for their next album. His first album with Amorphis, Eclipse, was released in 2006. It was a critical and commercial success, hailed as a return to form by some critics, and achieving gold certification in Finland for the first time in the band's history.
Amorphis followed Eclipse with gigs and festival appearances throughout Europe, all the while writing new material for its follow-up. They released their next album, Silent Waters, on September 3, 2007, debuting at number 44 on the German Media Control chart and achieving gold certification in Finland for the second time. The album marked the first time in the history of the band an album was recorded with the same personnel as the previous one. In support of Silent Waters, Amorphis launched their first ever headlining tour in North America alongside supporting acts Samael and Virgin Black.
Amorphis playing at Tuska 2009.In November 2008, Amorphis entered Sonic Pump Studios to begin recording their 9th album. The result of those studio sessions, Skyforger, was released in Finland on May 27, 2009, throughout Europe two days later, and in the United States on June 16. Initial presses of the album had mastering errors, which prompted Nuclear Blast to issue replacement CDs. The album was certified gold in Finland on July 7, 2011, making it the third Amorphis album in a row to do so.
On November 20, 2009, while touring in support of Skyforger, Amorphis filmed a show at Club Teatria in Oulu, Finland for their first-ever live DVD. The show was released alongside another show from Summer Breeze Open Air 2009 and a documentary, titled "Tales from the 20 Years", as a part of the CD/DVD set Forging the Land of Thousand Lakes on June 25, 2010.
On September 30, 2010, Nuclear Blast announced that Amorphis had started work on a new album. On January 24, 2011, the band released an update which revealed recording was almost finished, except for vocals which would be completed at the home of producer Marco Hietala. Titled The Beginning of Times, it will be released toward the end of May 2011 and feature cover art by longtime collaborator Travis Smith.