The Karelian Isthmus is one of the best early-'90s European death metal debuts. Amorphis previously issued some demos that were eventually combined into Privilege of Evil, but this 1992 release is the band's first fully conceived effort. What is most impressive is the high dynamic standard that the group establishes so early in its recording career. This is due mainly to the group's heavy and quite original riffs. "Black Embrace" and "The Lost Name of God" feature some of the most effective and yet surprisingly simple guitar signatures imaginable. By themselves, these compositions and performances would be enough to warrant a strong recommendation, but The Karelian Isthmus is more than a few nice guitar phrases. The husky vocals and tight drum performances also earn Amorphis high death metal/grindcore marks. A must for fans of this group's early, melodic death metal period, The Karelian Isthmus ranks among Amorphis' finest offerings.
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AllMusic Review by Jason Anderson