Losing a longtime frontman whilst simultaneously having to deal with the torturous twists of a multiple-album recording contract can do funny things for a band. The latter is the reason why U.S. ears are only just able to wrap themselves around the Finns' sixth studio album, whereas Europe has had it for roughly a whole year. And within that timeframe, as mentioned, Pasi Koskinen fled the nest to be temporarily replaced by Juha-Pekka Leppäluoto of CHARON/POISONBLACK fame.Which leaves us then with Koskinen's last hurrah — an album up to the usual AMORPHIS happy standards of joyless psychedelic rock. Shelved at the point of songwriting was any notion of outside producers and songwriters joining in (as has happened on previous occasions), to leave the band striving for a heavier cut this time around: more guitars, less ethereal tinkering. At least, in theory. As it stands, you'd be pushed to really notice any increase in riff and grit. And unless you're a big devotee of that AMORPHIS knack of going nowhere in a hurry, you will find "Far From the Sun" hard work. This ranges from the mild level of patience required to get through the PARADISE LOST-esque chimes of "God of Deception" to the extreme endurance test that the swirling ambience of the title track forces upon the listener. There is a fine line between epic and dull, and despite the fact that AMORPHIS are loved by many, it has to be said that they plant a big boot in the wrong half on many occasions. Nevertheless, if you can stay the distance, there are a few quirks that slap it back to life when you least expect it. "Ethereal Solitude", for one, carries curious hints of a laid-back reggae rhythm guitar, later washing the whole thing away with swathes of doomy piano work. Also, the acoustic version of the title track (included as a bonus track for the U.S., alongside four others which pretty much hit flat-line in the excitement stakes) is, rather ironically, a far more spine-tingling version than its rocked-up source. So, another rainy day of an album then, with a few bright spots to break up the gloom. On the whole, almost as far from the sun as you can get atmospherically without taking up residence in a concrete bunker.
To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appears next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).