Amorphis - Tales From The Thousand Lakes
01. Thousand Lakes
02. Into Hiding
03. The Castaway
04. First Doom
05. Black Winter Day
06. Drowned Maid
07. In The Beginning
08. Forgotten Sunrise
09. To Fathers Cabin
10. Magic And Mayhem
11. Light My Fire (The Doors Cover - bonus)
What can I actually say about this masterpiece that's not already been said?
'Tales From The Thousand Lakes' was probably Amorphis' breakthrough-album back in 1994 and made them what they are now: One of the most innovative bands coming from Finland. The 'Tales...'-album is probably still, after more than 10 years, the album which the band is associated with in most
cases when you hear people talking about them.
Already Amorphis' debut 'The Karelian Isthmus' showed some melodic parts, but still it was more or less progressive death metal without any clean vocals. With their second album they took their first steps into a more experimental direction that made them combine lots of different elements to their basic death metal sound. On 'Tales...' we can hear elements from doom metal, '70s progressive rock (which can be heard more extensively on their later albums) and of course much more keyboards. The use of the Kalevala as a lyrical theme makes this album very Finnish - thus the title describes it
very well. If you have read the Kalevala it is maybe even a bit more interesting, but if not it doesn't matter either.
Already the intro "Thousand Lakes" is able to lead the listener into the musical world created in this album. Very calm, atmospheric and yet melodious by the use of keyboards. What follows is "Into Hiding", a track that appears quite raw in the beginning - some doomy guitar riffs and some growling. However, when the song is about half-through you can hear the first clean vocal parts (by Ville Tuomi) which open the new chapter of Amorphis' music. On this album the growling parts are still dominant, but still it is something I would call a perfect mix of clean and death vocals.
What I described above as '70s prog elements can be heard very well throughout the next song called "The Castaway". But the best track on the album probably is "Black Winter Day" which is still one of Amorphis' biggest hits nowadays. This song really is a masterpiece - not only because of the composition, but also because of the mixture of clean and death vocals. However, this is the song where clean vocals are more present than in the other ones and it fits perfectly to its atmosphere. The atmosphere can also be felt very well in the music video that exists for this song - so if
you get the chance to watch it, do so.
Another favorite song of mine is the next one that follows; "Drowned Maid", telling the tale of Aino who drowned herself in the sea. There aren't any clean vocals in this song but the melodies are very interesting, almost catchy somehow I would say. The next track "In The Beginning" starts off rather gloomy with some doom metal riffs, but I like very much how the song develops into something experimental, very melodic and well... a song that represents their style on this album quite well.
The digipak version includes a The Doors-cover of "Light My Fire". I think it has been perfectly adapted to Amorphis' style back then, so that it really sounds like an Amorphis song. In addition to the fact that the keyboards are maybe used more extensively here and the song consequently is more melodic, Tomi Koivusaari manages to bring in his growling vocals that well that you can actually recognize the original lyrics. There is also a reissue of the album including the abovementioned cover version plus the complete 'Black Winter Day'-EP.
All in all I think this is simply a 'must have'-album and if you don't own it already, go and buy it. Otherwise you might have missed a part of metal-history that has been written here.
|Released: 1994, Relapse Records|