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Amorphis - Tuonela (9/10) - Finland - 1999

Genre: Metal
Label: Relapse / Nuclear Blast
Playing time: 46:44
Band homepage: Amorphis

Tracklist:

  1. The Way
  2. Morning Star
  3. Nightfall
  4. Tuonela
  5. Greed
  6. Divinity
  7. Shining
  8. Withered
  9. Rusty Moon
  10. Summer's End
Amorphis - Tuonela
What the hell happened to the growls/grunts?! What's with all this clean vocals?! What's with the 70's Rock-oriented/Psychedelic approach?! In any case, it's pretty damn good! Hehe While "Tuonela" (meaning Hades or the Underworld) did not completely blow me away like its predecessor, "Elegy," it ranks a very close second. To me, "Elegy" had the perfect mix of grunts and clean vocals, awesome guitar melodies, and a good production. It's a little bit more artsy and complex than "Tuonela."

Here, they've gone straight to the point with slightly shorter songs and less structured songwriting. It works very well because the clean vocals and the guitar sound fit nicely. The Rock-ish sounding guitars require cleaner vocals rather than Death Metal growls. I must applaud Pasi's vocal contribution…if it had been a different voice, "Tuonela" would not have the same effect because the melodies he's come up with are extremely catchy. And you can still distinguish his Finnish accent, which only adds to the exoticness. The guitars sound slightly groovy like 70's Rock, and it's also helped out by some psychedelic background keyboards. (Just listen to the keyboard parts of the first few songs and you'll know what I'm talking about.)

They've also decided to add some saxophone parts…how bold! Yes, Metal and saxophone don't mix, but when used to perfection - like on my album favourite, the title track - it works. The reason it works is because the title track is a sad, sullen song and that's where the saxophone comes in. A lead guitar solo at the end instead of a saxophone would work also, but the saxophone only adds to the sadness/gloominess of the song. The title track is then followed by my other favourite, "Greed." It mainly uses Pasi's truly amazing Death Metal growls. I wish he could've sung more of the Death Metal growls in the past instead of Tomi. It's definitely the heaviest song on the album, and also the grooviest. There are so many excellent songs that I don't feel like describing so you'll just have to go out and get this album. (Online June 1, 2003)

Ryan Cariaso



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