Tuonela (Relapse)
Enslain Magazine Issue #6
Order Issue #6!  This review included. Let me be honest. When I caught Amorphis' live set at the March Metal Meltdown in NJ, they nearly put me to sleep. Their set was such a change of pace from what I had been hearing all night, and they played so few old songs for any variety. It simply seemed slow and endless. This was before I had heard "Tuonela." Upon first listen of the album, I deemed the material talented, yet it still didn't have enough to keep me awake. Something kept me intrigued enough to listen to it repeatedly, though. After half a dozen spins, I realized an addiction. This album has so many moods, at times very gloomy, and at times very upbeat, with the expected influences from metal and folk, but pieced together more gently. Tomi's growled vocals are nonexistent on here, the vocal duties being taken on solely by Pasi, whose clean, passionate vocals were introduced on "Elegy." They are highly appropriate for the sounds on this disc, and performed emotionally. Additional instrumentation including keyboards, flute, and others are tastefully added to the mix. This material simply doesn't get old, and Amorphis have not lost their amazing vision. The album opens with "The Way," with an intricately played intro, leading into a relatively slow song with cleanly sung vocals, that impresses me by its dynamic incorporation of double-bass during the chorus, another Amorphis trademark that has not been lost. Another thing I like about this album is that the lyricist has not abandoned the art of making the lyrics poetically structured, and complexly metaphoric. This may not sound like the Amorphis many of us grew up with, but their ideals to write groundbreaking and powerful music have not changed at all. Everything that Amorphis has ever done has been intriguing and different, as well as lively and moving. As I began asking myself what sounds have not yet been explored, and what could possibly remain in the future of metal, I realized that this album was exactly what I needed. -- Lady Enslain