Amorphis is one of those bands that's been around forever, under the radar of all but the most dedicated listeners. They were seminal in their own way, forging a blend of melodic death metal rife with folk melodies and somber overtones, and then, through the mid-1990's, adding ambient and sometimes psychedelic elements to their sound. Circle is their 11th full length studio album, and as usual, the Finns do not disappoint.

Produced by Peter TÃĪgtgren, the guitars really shine on Circle... in fact, the production is the jewel of this album. The songs are extremely well-written and catchy, but the production really drives it home. Tomi Joutsen's rich, layered choruses are as haunting as they are compelling, in a sort of Depeche-Mode-meets-Volbeat kind of way, and his growls, even through slick production, are raw and primal.

Lyricist Pekka Kainulainen once again penned the lyrics and story arc for Circle. As with all of Amorphis' albums, the lyrics are conceptual, but this time they stray from their usual Kalevala stories and venture into an original tale. I won't retell it here, but it's pretty interesting.

Amorphis have truly become a timeless band, an one that often goes unnoticed. It's OK, they can be our little secret. Nobody else has to know. They can keep putting out masterpieces like this and the world will pass them- and us- by as we sit and listen in quiet, contemplative musical bliss.