Amorphis had a habit of releasing an E.P. after each of their early albums, made up of existing album material and off-cuts, and while 'My Kantele' doesn't break any new ground in the style of 'Privilege of Evil,' the material and covers are a lot more satisfying than its predecessor 'Black Winter Day.' Again, the major emphasis is placed on the most potentially radio-friendly song from the related album, in this case 'My Kantele,' and the rest of the material acts as an extended single that fortunately doesn't fall back on tedious re-mixes or basic live extracts, but makes for a wholly enjoyable listen, even if it's again quite obvious why the B-sides were never A-sides.
'My Kantele' is one of the better Amorphis songs produced after their departure from a death/doom metal direction, and the acoustic interpretation takes this one step further, sounding as natural as the album's original electric version. It's primarily the guitars that are replaced, the rest of the instruments remaining albeit in a slightly dulled fashion, and with its haunting tone and elements of classic prog rock and folk (a Hammond organ and an accordion respectively), it's a sign of a band still dedicated to the cultural heritage that had played such a major part in their early days. The Finnish folk tradition continues in the two-part 'The Brother-Slayer,' this E.P.'s version of Black Winter Day's 'Moon and Sun,' which is better than that predecessor but still not up to the standards of 'Elegy,' and after this come two interesting and highly deviant covers that see the band branch out further into prog territory by covering classic Hawkwind material and a song from their Finnish contemporaries Kingston Wall, that sounds a lot better and more restrained than that band's later material with which I'm more familiar.
An E.P. doesn't need to boast the same consistency as an album, and is in some ways a means for a band to mess around or throw out some extras for the fans that would clash with a more reputable full-length recording, and for containing an accessible album track, slightly obtuse B-sides and random covers, 'My Kantele' is just about the most stereotypical E.P. in existence. Its only real failing is that the acoustic version of its title song had already been included as standard at the end of the 'Elegy' album, which serves to rob this release of much of its charm and individuality and could have easily been remedied to make it more collectable and essential for fans. Never mind; taken in its own merits it's still a strong Amorphis release and, proportionally speaking, their most heavily folk- and prog-based offering.
1. My Kantele (acoustic reprise)
2. The Brother-Slayer
3. The Lost Son (The Brother-Slayer Part II)
4. Levitation (Hawkwind cover)
5. And I Hear You Call (Kingston Wall cover)
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 My Kantele
2 Brother Slayer
3 Lost Son (The Brother Slayer)
5 I Hear You Call