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Amorphis - Tuonela

1999 Relapse Records :: Reviewed by rofreason on 2005-06-30

The first question on everyone's mind will be, of course, is this as good as Elegy, and while in time it may prove to be, for now, my answer is simply, no. That said, you can either leave now, or finish the review to see what fantastic journey Amorphis has decided to take us on this time. No longer are they the folk-death band who spun the world with Tales from the Thousand Lakes, or the pop metal sensation who blew open doors with Elegy. Instead, the band has now morphed into a quasi-alternometal unit, almost completely leaving the death at the door, choosing to chance both old and new fans by incorporating such "kiss of death" tactics as layering saxophone and sitar over thick distortion (Dream Theater, King's X, anyone?). Yes, some of this doesn't work, but most of it does, and when it does, it all kicks into place. Keyboards are kept to a minimum except for the aforementioned monstrous overdubs (ironically, the only "metal" instruments played on the album), providing reinforcement in contrast to the guitar/synth symbiosis present on Elegy. Pasi's clean vocals are stronger here, and amazingly, those growls of doom which work so well on Greed are his, Tomi opting to focus solely on guitar duties this time through. So while it doesn't have the same initial impact as earlier works, and the band appears to shop at Wet Seal now, I'll still follow these guys wherever they go, for while it may not always be spot on, you can be guaranteed that the ride will be an interesting one.