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Well, Amorphis have finally done it. They have created an album that stands strongly alongside Tales from the Thousand Lakes as their greatest achievement. Eclipse was an excellent album that truly reinvigorated the band with the addition of Tomi Joutsen, but Silent Waters is simply stunning.
The album starts of with a powerful and dark riff accompanied by death growls with 'Weaving the Incantation', and the song brilliantly combines death metal, heavy metal, folk and rock into one cohesive piece. "A Servant" is next, and what we have here is basically a great melodic death metal song (with clean vocals added to the chorus) complete with double bass drumming and a great solo section. It contains a beautiful lead guitar melody played by Esa. These first two songs contain strong influences from Tales and Elegy. 'Silent Waters is next, more mellow with a piano intro and some very emotional and beautiful vocals over the verse. The song does become powerful and heavy during the bridge and chorus however. 'Towards and Against' begins with a strange keyboard tone before launching into another agressive, metal driven riff with more death vocals. 'I Of Crimson Blood' begins a section of the album where the focus becomes melancholy and atmosphere as opposed to heaviness. It contains an amazing, epic chorus that is very heavy, but the rest of the song is fairly mellow with a lot of nice work on the keyboards. 'Her Alone' also begins quite calmly, moving into a very emotional chorus and a heavy chugging riff on the guitars following that. Next is the acoustic piece entitled 'Enigma'. Absolutely beautifully played and another great vocal performance by Tomi, layering multiple harmonies over the main chorus and mixing different vocal lines over one another over the outro of the song. 'Shaman begins acoustically and Amorphis trick you into thinking it will be another mellow song like the one before, but it soon is rocking like the first half of the album with one of the best choruses on the album with more double bass drumming. 'White Swan' is another powerful piece, beginning with a Tuonela like section before becoming heavy and haunting. The chorus combines a bewitching piano melody, a dark chord pattern, and the vocals go from death to the more gruff metal style halfway through. It also contains a great guitar solo with key changes and a nice walking bassline in the background. 'Black River' is a fitting close for the album, containing several elements from the whole album (acoustic sections, mellow piano verses, heavy bridges and some very epic and fitting guitar solos). It is a melancholic, atmospheric and epic way to end the album and works beautifully.
Basically you will see that the first half of the album contians most of the death vocals and straight heaviness, while the second half tends more towards the melancholic/atmospheric side of the band (even in the heavier songs on the second half such as 'Shaman' and 'White Swan' this melancholy atmosphere is still very strong, marrying the first half of the album with second half). While it is similar to Eclipse in a certain way it is also very different, largely due to the increased use of acoustic guitars (even in the background on the very heavy tracks), a darker and more melancholic tone, and the best vocal performance ever on an Amorphis album. Joutsen has really taken it to a new level on his second album with the band, and whether it be the amazing and powerful death growls (listen to 'A Servant' for the sickest gorwl ever on an Amorphis album), his regular gruff metal voice (which is often accompanied with harmonies and the growl in the background on choruses), or his very serene and clean tone displayed on the verse of 'Silent Waters' and songs like 'I of Crimson Blood' and 'Her Alone', he simply sounds stunning. A powerful, dark, melancholic, and extremely diverse journey that has been expertly crafted and arranged (in terms of the
order of the tracks) and will take you from melodic death metal to acoustic folk music and everything in between.