Folk metal and music that uses folk influences is always balancing between seeming real enough to sound authentic, while still retaining as much elements of the original genre as possible. This is a very delicate, and often butchered practice that leaves so many albums feeling like they just shoved celtic music down your throat while simultaneously trying to play death metal, instead of it all flowing seamlessly. Under the Red Cloud has lots of really cool ideas, including doing one of the coolest tuning ideas I’ve ever seen. At one point in the album they actually tune the guitar to sound like a sarod, despite not being one. In this case, it doesn’t feel forced or fake, and more just like a band being very creative, which I very much admire. Unfortunately, that can’t be said for the rest of the album. While arabic scales and celtic flutes dance melodically across with pianos and organs, none of it really seems “real” at any time. It feels a bit unnatural and plastic, completely getting the listener out of the immersion into the album. I actually don’t blame the very clean production for this, as that’s pretty much the go-to for progressive metal. No, instead I blame the fact that the ethnic influences seem nothing more that prevalent decoration. It’s like putting a nativity scene in your house as a christmas decoration. You probably don’t actually care about jesus, you just thought it’d look nice. And to be fair, it does. While not being fully immersive, at a superficial level, Red Cloud does sound nice. I will give credit for Amorphis actually going beyond the progressive sound to actually experiment occasionally in their record. But it’s just so hard to get that plasticy taste out of my mouth. Red Cloud is a great sounding album, but it feels a bit too much like a vegas reproduction of the world, rather than actually going to those places yourself.