by Gary Hill
Lead guitarist Esa Holopainen and drummer Jan Rechberger formed the band Amorphis in Finland in 1990. To complete their lineup they recruited vocalist/guitarist Tomi Koivusaari and bassist Olli-Pekka Laine. They released a demo in 1991 called Disment of Soul. The demo was so successful in getting attention for the group that they had acquired a record deal and released an EP the same year. They next released their first full-length album, The Karelian Isthmus, in 1992. The following year, their early demo recording session was released as Privilege of Evil. 1994 saw the group sending out their next CD, Tales from the Thousand Lakes. In 1994, Kim Rantala joined the band on keyboards, being integrated as a member of a band rather than the side musician he was replacing. An EP entitled Black Winter Day was released the next year. Their next album was Elegy. This disc showcased a new six-member lineup, completed by Pasi Koskinen as their second vocalist. The lineup at this point also included new drummer Pekka Kasari. In 1997 they released My Kantele. In 1998, Rantala left the group, being replaced by Santeri Kallio. The group released Tuonela with that lineup in 1999. The following year, Niclas Etelävuori replaced Laine on bass. In 2001 the band went in a more experimental direction, including saxophones and a greater focus on keyboards for Am Universum. Jan Rechberger rejoined the band in 2003 just in time to record Amorphis‘ sixth studio album, Far from the Sun. Koskinen left the band in 2004 to focus on his family and was replaced by Tomi Joutsen. For their next project, Amorphis began work on a series of concept albums based on the famous Finnish epic poem The Kalevala, releasing Eclipse in 2006, Silent Waters in 2007, and Skyforger in 2009. In 2010 the band decided to revisit some of its older work, recording new arrangements of earlier material for Magic & Mayhem: Tales from the Early Years.