Mikko Joensuu – Amen 2

Mikko Joensuu Amen 2

As the second instalment into the 'Amen Trilogy', Joensuu's 'Amen 2' builds significantly on the far more simple first collection to form a huge atmosphere.

7 out of 10

Right from the opening of first track Drop Me Down, it is obvious that Amen 2 will be atmospheric and incredibly emotional. On the first Amen album, Joensuu set himself the limit of “only using acoustic instruments and to keep everything restrained up to a point” yet on this second collection he hold back absolutely nothing as he explores what it means to question one’s religion and surroundings. The lyric “Oh God won’t drop me down” recurs throughout the song, which brings to light the hope he held at the beginning before the subsequent downfall of his faith. The whole album is Joensuu’s quest to accept that a deity does not exist in his mind anymore, and this track sums it up perfectly.

In contrast to the emotional and quiet pieces that dominate the beginning of the album, tracks like There Used To Be Darkness make the album seem a lot more positive as Joensuu has clearly found where he wants to be and move on. The title’s positivity rings true throughout with a strong bassline and more upbeat synthesiser sounds throughout that bring a sense of reconciliation and understanding to the confused narrative at the start of the release. The choral sounds at the end are spine-chilling to bring to a close the colossal 11-minute track. This song is the epic that will define this album’s popularity with Mikko’s fans.

The closing track I Gave You All is a predominantly instrumental piece stainding at 20 minutes in length, but the lyrics speaking of the burden Joensuu has finally managed to drop stand out in the song to bring the only slight sense of closure to the album. It leaves the trilogy open to however he wants to close it with Amen 3, and the ability to leave it so open-ended is both a blessing and a curse.

Overall, Joensuu’s Amen 2 follows up the first in the trilogy well while exploring his own dropping of faith. The emotion is clear without and the instrumentation is clean but taken as one album it seems to lack something. It is almost be a certainty that the collection will be an incredibly moving piece that is outstanding, but each of the first two collections seems to lack the closure that Amen 3 is destined to bring when that is finally released. Mikko has said “there’s a certain balance to be found between an overwhelming joy towards the beauty of life and living, and not really knowing if the mind will collapse into the abyss again” – a quote which describes the emotive side of the album better than perhaps anything else.

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