Reviewed: June 1999
Released: 1999, Relapse Records
Inside the CD is a quote, “Tuonela = Hades, the Underworld.” Well that’s cool, but why then a plant for a cover? A lot of long time Amorphis fans probably are not happy with the folk metal sound that they have adopted in recent years. I however, am not a long time fan of Amorphis. The first song I heard from them was “Weeper on the Shore” from the Elegy CD. After hearing that I went to the CD store and the only CD in was “My Kantele” which is an EP comprised of an acoustic/electric mix. On first listen I was a little put off as I had thought it was going to be much heavier. However, their music grew on me. Eventually I went out and got more CD’s from their back catalog including the masterpiece “Tales From the 1000 Lakes” and “Elegy.” So now the band releases “Tuonela” and it provides no surprises to me. It’s not all acoustic (thankfully) and it has more of a mixture of “Elegy” and “My Kantele.”
One thing missing from the CD are the death metal vocals that were on past CD’s. The vocals are still great but a mix of the clear vocals with the death would of been more appealing to me. This CD probably won’t be stuck in my player on repeat for too long but it’s still an enjoyable listen when I’m want to hear something a little different. Some of the CD’s finer moments are the opening track “The Way” and “Greed” with it’s Egyptian / harmonic minor sounding intro accompanied with sitar. Gotta love the intro on this one especially the vocals…yes it’s death metal vocals here arrraggghhhh, “GREEEEEEED!” I REALLY wish the CD was more like this song with a mixture of death and clean vocals!! As usual for Amorphis, the lyrics on Tuonela make for a very enjoyable thoughtful read. I also really like the song “Summer’s End” even though it sounds more like a song by Sentenced, weird but true, especially on the vocals.
Like their name, so is their music. It’s hard to put a finger on just what Amorphis are. To me, despite their many influences they are still undeniably METAL.
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