Amorphous | Shapeshifting (review)

Amorphous 'Shapeshifting' cover artwork

Amorphous ‘Shapeshifting’ cover artwork

The name Amorphous may be unfamiliar, but Gil O. Santos’s work in the 1990’s under the Morgue moniker (sometimes Morgue Mechanism) casts a long shadow. Brazil at the time proved a fertile breeding ground for EBM acts including Aghast View and Simbolo, and of course Morgue, among others. And just as Aghast View successfully updated their sound with Aesthetische, Santos successfully returned in 2015 as Amorphous.

During the long hiatus from Morgue Santos worked on demand completing film scores, remixes and lounge music. After a Skinny Puppy tour (hanDover album) Santos decided again to try his hand with electro/EBM music. The debut Amorphous album Behaviourism was released in October of 2015. For more background info, please see this interview with Side-Line.

In December of 2016 Amorphous released their second album, Shapeshifting, on Wave Records. On first impression, the album tends to borrow heavily from vintage Skinny Puppy in terms of instrumentation and phrasing. It reminds me at times of another 1990’s act with a limited shelf life, Putrefy Factor 7 of Germany. Amorphous absolutely retains a 1990’s dark electro sensibility, but with a much heavier emphasis on rhythm than some of their colleagues.

That being said, Amorphous brings many elements that are purely their own. The first two tracks, “Second Nature” and “Tabula Rasa”, both feature piano as a primary element. Two other tracks, ‘Brave New World’ and ‘Irreversible’, feature guest vocals from Victoria Sykes (Torsykes). Female vocals in this genre are often used as a mellowing presence, but here they add an ominous twist. A highlight of the album is perhaps the song “Amorphous”, a nearly 10-minute epic that dabbles in many different sounds and techniques, morphing over time into something frightening and unrecognizable.

I can highly recommend this release for fans of Skinny Puppy and acts such as yelworC or Putrefy Factor 7. Similarly, fans of Aghast View and Aesthetische and Santos’s former project Morgue will find much to like with this release. If you enjoy thoughtful electro-industrial, music that can take you on a journey, then this album is for you.

(This review was originally published for the webzine Reflections of Darkness. You may find the original review at this location).

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