Taking their name from the word "amorphous," meaning 'no determinate form or shape,' Finland's most creative and acclaimed metal band have certainly lived up to that name along the course of their six year history. With a vast set of musical influences amongst their membership, AMORPHIS have taken large strides with each consecutive album, reaching their most ambitious plateau yet with Elegy.
Boasting a sound more aligned with 70s progressive rock bands like DEEP PURPLE and KING CRIMSON than modern day death metal inspirations, AMORPHIS aren't afraid to let go of their past and fly into uncharted territories by way of their Finnish heritage. The band have always stood against the trends of the day, forging their own unique style amongst hordes of sound-alikes and pretenders. Forming around the duo of guitarist/creative center Esa Holopainen and drummer Jan Rechberger, the two quickly picked up vocalist/guitarist Tomi Koivusaari after his band, underground grind sensations ABHORRENCE, broke up. Bassist Olli-Pekka Laine joined shortly after, and AMORPHIS recorded their one and only demo, Disment of Soul in mid-91. On the strength of this demo, AMORPHIS secured a multi-album deal with Relapse Records, immediately recording six songs which were intended for inclusion on a split album with Incantation. Due to an array of complications, the release was scrapped. Two songs from this session were released as a limited edition 7" EP, with the rest of the tracks being shelved until a later date. Building a solid underground following on the strength of their demo and the 7" EP, AMORPHIS capitalized on their rising popularity by recording their debut full-length entitled The Karelian Isthmus. Named after an historic Finnish battlefield, The Karelian Isthmus blasted forth with majestically moving atmospheric death metal, far beyond their rather traditional death metal compositions that had come before it. The band's sound featured jagged doom riffs, vocal cries of misery and ethereal synthesizers to complement their new adventurous sound. Before work began on their next album, Relapse Records released the entire recording session for the aborted split LP with 1993's Privilege of Evil on the Relapse Underground Series label.
In 1994, AMORPHIS ventured even further into their keyboard-oriented progressive death metal sound, celebrating their rich Finnish history within the music. Bringing in a permanent full-time keyboardist in Kasper Mortenson, the band once again recorded in Sunlight Studios with Tomas Skosberg, and emerged with one of 1994's finest masterpieces of metal, the critically-acclaimed Tales From the Thousand Lakes. Incorporating lyrics from the Finnish national pole book, The Kalevala, AMORPHIS fused elements of traditional heavy metal, doom, death metal and '70s progressive rock to craft an album that stunned not only the band's own followers, but the entire metal underground. A video for Black Winter Day was filmed, eventually appearing on the Death...Is Just the Beginning III videocassette release. AMORPHIS toured the European continent several times, with the likes of PARADISE LOST and TIAMAT, among others. Late '94 saw the band visit American shores for the first time, as special guests for ENTOMBED's North American trek. Before any serious tours commenced, keyboardist Kasper was replaced by Kim Rantala, due to Kasper's inability to meet tour commitments. Kim has become an integral part of the AMORPHIS sound, and has since become a permanent member. 1995 brought yet another chapter in AMORPHIS history with the Black Winter Day EP. Featuring the single of the same name, as well as three unreleased tracks from the Tales... sessions, the EP held hungry fans over temporarily while the band took a very short rest before writing and recording their third full-length epic...ELEGY!