Last of the Stories of Long Past Glories
(Arise Records) Enslain Magazine Volume 2, Issue 1 "Last of the Stories of Long Past Glories" is a surprising debut for this young Finnish band. Their sound is split between slow, gentle, accoustic songs, and slow, yet powerful and dynamic tracks. They are at their best when following a certain formula: they begin with a moody or tender intro, then launch into an explosive, heavy, and passionate chorus. The songs are not immensely complicated, but their simple and straight-forward approach has a lot of emotion and is very memorable.
A few songs on this record are especially addictive, including "Ice Cube Sun" and "Unrevealed". When I hear them, I am lucky if I can get them out of my head by the next morning. Part of the appeal is the well-placed structural dynamic shifts and comforting melodies, but equally it can be attributed to Tomi Joutsen's vocal annunciation. His mostly clean singing has good range, and his rough vocals are forcefully emotional. His voice has a tendency to crack somewhat at the more intense moments, and this only adds to the charm. Tomi's heavily accented vocals work well with the typically Finnish rock melodies. There's no question that Amorphis did well by recruiting this guy as their new vocalist.
Some constants on this release are that it is richly atmospheric, well-produced, well-arranged, and fully conceptualized. As a huge Amorphis fan, naturally I had a predisposition to liking this album, but Tomi's pure and intense volcals, and the emotion and passion of the music won me over instantly. I expected growling vocals, and a heavier release, from the guy who got Amorphis playing "The Sign From The North Side" live again, but this record is delightful just the way it is.