After forcing their eclectic but often scattered sonic experiments to extremes of self-indulgence on albums like Tuonela and Am Universum (both of which still offered the odd great song, mind you), Finnish heavy metal godfathers Amorphis found their way back to songwriting consistency and economy on 2004's acclaimed Far from the Sun. A surprisingly focused amalgam of past and present, that album marked a measured return to Amorphis' heavy metal roots after years of apparent disownment, and set the stage for yet another compelling LP in 2006's even more unapologetically metallic Eclipse. Not that either one of the records could be called a death metal slugfest, nor a complete abandonment of those not-always-stellar but still necessary forays into other progressive musical realms, but rather mature and well-balanced statements, acknowledging the style that made the band famous in the first place. New songs such as "Two Moons," "House of Sleep," and "Born from Fire" offer driving heavy rock, frequently embellished with atmospheric piano passages, psychedelic organs, and, yes, those alluring folksy melodies that first distinguished Amorphis from the extreme metal pack. New vocalist Tomi Joutsen's expansive range of clean and dirty singing capably replaces those of longtime frontman Pasi Koskinen, whose unexpected departure coincidentally made way for rhythm guitarist and original vocalist Tomi Koivusaari to reactivate his cookie monster growl for occasional use here. As well as making for even cooler emotional contrasts within retroactive standouts like "Leaves Scar," "The Smoke," and the return to Finnish legend, "Perkele (The God of Fire)," this obviously answers the long hoped for, yet never actually expected, wishes of Amorphis' metal-minded older fans. And since even the listeners who actually enjoyed the band's more recent diversions are catered to here by mellower numbers such as "Under a Soil and Black Stone" and "Same Flesh," it's fair to assume that Eclipse contains the broadest appeal of any Amorphis LP yet.
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AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia