Sound — 10
The music is dark, moody and heavy. The album is also more thrash influenced and certainly grittier sounding than past offerings from the band. The album is full of atmosphere, often moody and ethereal, and it contains plenty of soft and slower passages to give the listener plenty of time to absorb the story and suffer along with the main character. At times somber, melancholic and as you listen through, you'll notice a good amount of goth influenced moments. Not to fear, there are perhaps more folk influenced passages with plenty of thrash spread around the album. Acoustic guitars, keyboards, flute, electric guitars, bass and drums all used to perfection in order to enhance one's musical experience.
Lyrics — 10
For the subject matter of this album, Amorphis found inspiration in ancient Finnish mythology, they borrowed from the epic tragic tale Kalevala and more precisely, from the story of Kullervo. As the story goes, after his father is killed, Kullervo is sold as a slave. Kullervo escapes slavery and returns to his family only to find his sister missing. Later on in life, Kullervo unknowingly meets his sister and seduces her. When the truth be known, Kullervo's sister commits suicide out of shame. Kullervo exacts revenge on Untamo, the brother and killer of his father, which was in fact the incident that started all the events that ultimately led to the suicide of Kullervo's sister. In the end, Kullervo takes his own life as well. This is a very sad and tragic story. "Eclipse" retells this story, the way one would expect it to be told, both musically and lyrically speaking. To begin with, I doubt anyone has ever heard Finnish mythology on north american radio stations. So this is quite a unique musical experience for many listeners and definitely not your run of mill rock opera, in fact, very far from it. Newly aquired frontman Tomi Joutsen has a clean tenor voice and he sings with occasional harshness when the music requires him to. I was amazed at Joutsen's ability to find some superb melodies with the lyrics at hand. Just check out the last minute of "Two Moons" when Joutsen sings: "They've taken off in the rivers of heaven, They've taken off." Awesome work!
Overall Impression — 10
I've been spinning this album on and off since I got it, taking it out for a spin every now and then. I'll play it two or three times and put it away only to take it out again the following day or the following week. And, I repeat this scenario week after week. Album highlights for me, the fast paced opening track "Two Moons" with it's layers of heavy guitars and wonderful solo with a most energetic and melodic climactic ending. "House of Sleep" was the first single off the album and deservedly so with it's big catchy chorus. I simply love the slow and mournful "Under A Soil And Black Stone" and the most melodically beautiful track on the album: "Shame Flesh." Every metal album I bought this year, this is the album that I end up comparing it too. This album will certainly appeal to fans of "suomi" metal. The music is similar in a way to Charon, Poisonblack, Sentenced, For My Pain, Paradise Lost, Nevermore, Iced Earth.