AMORPHIS with OPETH and ENDLESS at the Kathedral (651 Queen West), Saturday (April 7). $15-$20. 416-504-0744.
Finland's 12-armed, forward-thinking Amorphis are all about challenging the rigid status quo of contemporary aggro music, and they're willing to howl in the Queen's English just to be sure the message is heard. Barring Metallica's adventures in symphony, name the last hard rock record to feature sax, flute or sitar that wasn't completely embarrassing?
Certainly, Amorphis's fifth full-length album, Am Universum -- out this week via Relapse Records -- doesn't lack crunch. Big guitars are central, but so, too, are ambient, almost gothic sweeps of synth and the aforementioned sax. Amorphis may make thinking person's metal, but you can bet the fists will be flying in holy terror when the group touches down at the Kathedral Saturday.
"We don't really think of our music as metal," confirms bassist Niclas Etel&aulm;vuori from home. "It's just our form of expression. We all come from metal backgrounds, but by now the band has been playing for 10 years and has naturally developed its own sound, whether people call it metal or rock or whatever.
"Personally, I haven't heard saxophone in this kind of music before either, so you can see there's constant experimenting going on. Nowadays it's trendy to have all kinds of loops and drum machines and that sort of thing. But I think there are still a lot of instruments for us to try before we start dealing with the computers. "But you know, music of all types is a very big thing here. People play in school -- it's Sibelius everywhere. Let's face it -- Finland is dark and cold most of the year. What else are you going to do? Either you play music or you become a hockey player."