Review Summary: Melodic, heavy and captivating throughout it's entirety.
The term “powerful” has been becoming increasingly common as an adjective for albums that quite simply, do not deserve it. As are the terms epic, classic and even perfect. If you have to think about what makes an album stand out from the rest, it does not deserve the previously mentioned praise. Sure, there are great albums, but they may get lost within your ever-growing music library… Silent Waters is not one of those albums; it is by far one of the most powerful albums I’ve listened to.
The album, as a whole, is incredibly dynamic. It’s heavy, yet incredibly melodic. It’s somber and pained, yet hopeful and ethereal. It’s shows incredible musicianship, and at the same time, the perfect amount of restraint. No member of the band ever over-performs, which makes this album one of the most fluid and musically coherent albums I’ve listened to.
While it would be wrong to highlight one aspect of the music over the others, the performance of the individual members cannot be overlooked. Tomi Joutsen delivers one of the best vocal performances you will hear in metal music. His growls are harsh and deep. His cleans are soft, fitting to the music, and carry incredible melody. Tomi also has something that many vocalists lack, and that’s a middle ground of sorts. The harsh, raspy, clean that he uses for a majority of the album is absolutely stellar.
Tomi’s vocals fit perfectly with the music, which is also done beautifully. The guitar work is phenomenal. The pacing and tone of the guitars are rarely repeated throughout the album’s entirety. There are moments that draw from their days of straight death metal, there are slow acoustic interludes that transition songs beautifully, and there are, most impressively, incredibly melodic guitar leads that hold a very subtle folky vibe. The guitars are layered and dense, but they refrain from ever being overbearing.
The keys add another important layer, but are often subtle enough that they could go overlooked. That would be criminal, as almost every track has a piano melody behind it, and the melodies are done so incredibly well. The keys also work very well with the percussion on this album, especially in certain song transitions where the rest of the music fades out. The drums are tight, very strong and very driving. They push the album along, changing pace seamlessly, and provide a great backbone for the rest of the album.
Silent Waters is a very captivating listen, and one that will not be soon forgotten. The performance by Amorphis on this record is one of the best in modern metal, and will continue to be as my music library grows and grows. For anyone who finds themselves describing album after album as “powerful,” I urge you to listen to Silent Waters.