Amorphis
Tuonela


3.0
good

Review

by Wizard USER (85 Reviews)
November 22nd, 2008 | 92 replies


Release Date: 1999 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Transitions in sound will either make you stronger or die trying.

Lets face it, when bands begin to tinker with new sounds and concepts to their already lustrous careers, they either manage to pull something off brilliantly or they fail miserably. There are countless bands that could be mentioned that could fit into either one of these categories (Ulver coming to mind for the brilliance and Darkthrone for the fail). But what about the bands that leave people scratching their heads about their highly experimental albums, unable to come up with some form of opinion about? Albums like this usually get shelved after one or two listens and quickly fade out of mind when the next big album is released. Tuonela is one of these so called albums that places all the chips on the table but ends up splitting the pot with four other people, leaving Amorphis wondering who the hell took notice with their transition in sound.

The first thing the listener will notice is the complete back-turn on the death metal genre that gave them life in the first place. There are only hints of the melo-death era The Karelian Isthmus or Tales from the Thousand Lakes to be found on here. Instead, Amorphis have chosen to take a step into the big rock arena world with songs filled up on U2’s delay and flanging tinged guitar lines, Middle Eastern melodies, and huge leads that could come across as the next big thing in rock. Opening song ‘The Way’ utilizes all of these attributes productively, creating catchy melodies, a massive chorus and an equally explosive outro that finds the band touching on the word “epic”. ‘Nightfall’ is a great example of Amorphis spreading out their wings of creativity and showcasing how far they’ve come since their debut in 1992. Instead of guitar leads doing all of the work, a saxophonist takes precedence, intertwining between the imaginative guitar lines and creating some fantastic Middle Eastern melodies that really drive the song along. Fans of their old sound should not fear as they’ve retained some old folk traits in the song ‘Rusty Moon’, added through flute lines that will make the listener want to frolic through a sunlit meadow with a hobbit.

Unfortunately, as well received as these experimentations into Amorphis’ sound should be, they are bogged down by flat vocal delivery and a rather large amount of filler. Very few throaty death metal growls are to be found here. In place is a rather insipid vocal range that attempts to create more melody into the mix and instead sounds like a typical grunge vocalist from the early 90s. This simply does not work, coming across as more of a pathetic attempt to please the record label by introducing a digestible set of vocals to sell more records (strange thing to be said considering this is on Relapse Records). Further, the amount of filler on this album only makes the vocals that much more irritable. ‘Tuonela’ and ‘Shining’ are good examples of this as the band lets the instruments take a back seat to allow for the vocals to breathe more. In turn, this may make the listener skip these types of songs to hunt out the true gems contained on this disc.

The watered down approach Amorphis has taken borders on risk taking as well as mediocre radio rock. As much crap as there is on your everyday radio station, I wish stuff like this would be played. Tuonela isn’t that far off from lets say “a radio hit” due to its typical song structures and vocals that sound like they could use some lessons. It’s the rather intriguing moments on this disc that will surely have anyone who is a fan of bands experimenting with their sound giving this a spin. Transitional records are a bitch, especially when a departure of sound announcement can alienate your true fan base. Amorphis just took the risk here. In return, they ended up with a mixed bag of results that can leave your loyal fanbase scratching their heads.



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user ratings (337)
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Wizard
November 23rd 2008


20497 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Probably one of the strangest reviews I've written so far (also recommended albums as well seeing how this album is all over the album).



Warning to fanboys: I know how you love this guys vocals on later albums. They absolutely suck on this album. Please, if you feel my opinion is wrong about them, clean out your ears.

fireaboveicebelow
November 23rd 2008


6835 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this was a decent record, am universum is much improved though



kudos for the review

Wizard
November 23rd 2008


20497 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thank you. I love the Middle Eastern vibes (sorry to generalize) so much on here. The leads are great but the vocals just make me want to puke.

fireaboveicebelow
November 23rd 2008


6835 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I dont know why they ever hired that dude, he's always sucked miserably

bastard
November 23rd 2008


3432 Comments


happy 20th review man.

nice job.

Willie
Moderator
November 23rd 2008


20203 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

His vocals aren't that great, but the music makes up for it. I really like the guitar melodies and middle eastern influence. I thought the two albums after this were the ones that really dropped in quality.

Nice review.

rasputin
November 23rd 2008


14967 Comments


Great review wiz. I've only heard Thousands Lakes, Silent Waters and Eclipse and really like all of them, but this doesn't sound too appealing.

BallsToTheWall
November 23rd 2008


51175 Comments


Good work Wiz, I want to hear this.

Wizard
November 23rd 2008


20497 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I love how my nickname now sounds like someone is going out back to take a 'wiz' hahaha. Thanks for the compliments guys (and girls).

Crysis
Emeritus
November 23rd 2008


17619 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good review as usual dude, however I find myself liking this a hell of a lot, a little more than you do. Good points in your review nonetheless, this band is awesome.

Warning to fanboys: I know how you love this guys vocals on later albums. They absolutely suck on this album. Please, if you feel my opinion is wrong about them, clean out your ears.


This is with their old vocalist too, mind you.This Message Edited On 11.23.08

Wizard
November 23rd 2008


20497 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ahhhh I didn't know that. I thought I was going to get negged to death for that comment. I do enjoy the vocal range of their new singer on Silent Waters.



I do have this rated at a 3.5 too Crysis hahaha. It's really enjoyable but I like to keep my reviews in a realistic perspective.

Taoboxer9
October 26th 2009


207 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ah,you know they say about opinions.That being said,I love this cd .To me there are really no weak tracks on it.As a matter of fact I think this is the best release from this band.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
March 1st 2011


10634 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

His vocals aren't that great, but the music makes up for it. I really like the guitar melodies and middle eastern influence. I thought the two albums after this were the ones that really dropped in quality.



this

kangaroopoo
March 2nd 2011


3175 Comments


Still find the music and vocal melodies excellent and consistent on this and Elegy. The next 2 releases exposed his limited vocal range.

FrozenVain
March 8th 2013


3043 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The Way is really good

manosg
Emeritus
March 8th 2013


12703 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

This is the album that got me into Amorphis. Great album.

deslad
January 7th 2014


645 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great album indeed.

Hawks
June 24th 2015


84706 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Damn this is pretty sweet.

Hawks
June 24th 2015


84706 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Not even close to mine, but yeah it's good shit for sure.

Flugmorph
June 24th 2015


33384 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Vocals on here are fucking atrocious



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