"Circle", the eleventh album from Finnish melancholic dark metal forerunners AMORPHIS will be released on April 19 via Nuclear Blast Records. Production and mixing duties for the follow-up to 2011's "The Beginning Of Times" were handled by HYPOCRISY and PAIN mastermind Peter Tägtgren, who has previously worked with such bands as CHILDREN OF BODOM, CELTIC FROST, IMMORTAL and DIMMU BORGIR. The recordings took place at Petrax Studio (NIGHTWISH, CHILDREN OF BODOM, KORPIKLAANI) in Hollola and 5K Studios in Helsinki. The cover artwork was created by Tom Bates (BLEED FROM WITHIN, DEVIL SOLD HIS SOUL) and can be seen below.
A six-minute video clip containing snippets of all songs on the album, as well as a track-by-track commentary by guitarist and founding member Esa Holopainen, can be seen below.
Commented AMORPHIS vocalist Tomi Joutsen: "The mystic, androgynous person on the cover represents a spiritual guide. This character was sent from another time and place to help the album's protagonist find a new path for his life."
"Circle" track listing:
01. Shades Of Gray
03. The Wanderer
04. Narrow Path
05. Hopeless Days
06. Nightbird's Song
07. Into The Abyss
08. Enchanted By The Moon
09. A New Day
10. Dead Man's Dream (bonus track)
The album's limited digibook version will come with a bonus DVD containing the following:
* The Making Of "Circle"
* Nightbird's Song (video clip)
Apart from the CD+DVD digibook version, "Circle" will be available on CD (without the bonus track), black 2LP in gatefold, brown 2LP in gatefold and as a bulging limited box, including three bonus tracks and a wristband — exclusively via the Nuclear Blast mail order.
A short summary about the album's concept/story that spreads throught out the lyrics by Pekka Kainulainen, who wrote the lyrics for most recent AMORPHIS albums: "The protagonist has been dealt a bad hand at birth. He’s always felt himself an outsider with strong potential to become marginalized. Through an accident, after a crisis, he finds a connection with his inner powers. A guide is sent to him, from some other time and place. He gets a chance to take hold of his own life and change his destiny. From the past of Carelian Finland he finds his own spiritual tribe and the power to turn the course of his doomed life. This is a story of survival."
Joutsen added about the album title: "'Circle' represents integrity. Back in the days, when there was something special to talk about, wise men used to sit in circle. Not everyone was invited to join them. But in this story, the protagonist was invited among the wise men's circle."
Regarding the direction of the new AMORPHIS material, the band's guitarist and founding member Esa Holopainen said: "While promoting 'The Beginning Of Times', we started to feel that we were giving the same explanations over and over again when people asked about the studio process and how the songs came about. Even though the music was very strong, the making process didn't offer any surprises and appeared to be quite secured. Now the addition of a new dimension to the developing process has inspired us to focus on our material even more. The songs are extremely strong, bombastic and skull-pummelling."
"The Beginning Of Times" entered the German Media Control chart at position No. 16 — the best chart position ever scored by an AMORPHIS album in that country. The CD also landed at position No. 1 on the Finnish chart.