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After hearing the gruesome lyrics of earlier Amorphis releases like, "Privilege of Evil," I was expecting more of the same. Tales From the Thousand Lakes follows basically the same path but with toned down lyrics, and more instrumental and talented tracks that are instant classics.
This album delivers heavy guitar tunes and very constant steady drumming work. Following the paths of Death/Black/Viking metal and mixing in tunes of melodic metal, and not forgetting about the harsh deep vocals this album is a must have. I have personally rated each track out of 10 (10 being best).
This first song, "Thousand Lakes," is an into track that delivers peaceful piano playing and an opera chorus that sets your mind up in an ocean filled world full of legends and mysteries. This tacks is short and completely done with keyboards, an all instrumental sound.
After a gloomy set up intro track the album jumps directly into, "Into Hiding," a quickly paced track with great heavy guitar beats that guide the song into solo riffs that jump into the song hear and there. It talks about a man that is running away from bad deeds and escapes as an eagle to hide for the rest of his life. This track is one of my personal favourites.
The next track, "The Castaway," starts out with a catchy tune likely played by one guitar, which is followed by heavier guitars that try to follow the same tune. I believe that this section of the song could have been done better because it does not follow the first part of the song very well. This track never seems to developed much just keeps moving along playing the same tune until about 1:35 in the song when the heavy riffs come in with a steady beat, and the light guitars carry on with the starting tune. This track talks about the man who is an eagle and is soaring across the ocean. Overall this is a very well composed track but could have been played a little better, the track also carries on a bit long.
The following track, "First Doom," is not much better. It starts out heavy with good drums and a slow beat but slows down a little much, still good riffs keeps the track from becoming lame. The track finally speeds up for a while. The lyrics I can only guess what they are talking about; I may be wrong but I think that it mentions the man asking the queen of North for forgiveness... come up with your own idea if you want.
The next track is the classic of all Death/Black Metal. "Black Winter Day," is a true masterpiece that combines everything you could ever want in a Metal song. Catchy tunes such as the beginning keyboard solo and then the heavy guitars bursting in and the perfect death metal growl makes for a perfect song. Later on in the song some Guitar solo's come, meanwhile the drumming is perfectly timed and follows the song perfectly. Overall this is a picture perfect track (Amorphis's best). The track never gets boring and stays good until the end. The vocals to this song are yet again confusing, but what I get out of them is that the same man is feeling guilty of his crimes when he really shouldn’t be.
The following track, "Drowned Maid," is nearly as good as, Black Winter Day. Combining a good heavy tune with melodic guitars guiding the entire song. Three different tunes all really good come into place during the song, fitting the mood for the lyrics, which are played during each different section of the song. This track talks about the death of a maid and a hen where their blood and flesh is poured into the ocean.
Track # 7, "In the Beginning," combines all components of the tracks above but throwing in a normal man’s voice along with the growling voice. I am not sure if the two voices fit well together but it is something different. I have no clue what this song is talking about.
The next song, "Forgotten Sunrise," is an interesting song that starts out with a beat played by heavy guitars that follows a skilled solo which directs the track until about 2:40 in the song, when the heavy base and lead guitars carry on a very good sounding tune very different from the beginning of the song. Occasionally the two tunes mix creating yet another good melody. This track I believe talks about the man who was mentioned in earlier tracks; in this song it mentions how the corruptions of modern times have plagued the man turning him evil.
“To Fathers Cabin,” is a very different track that almost sounds out of place on this album; but the song itself is very well done. Starting out with a clean flowing sound using an extremely catchy tune, this track looses some of its glory in the middle section which starts at about 40 seconds into the track. This section is the vocals, which I think, are poorly done not matching the tunes much and the voice is lame and boring. After another minute of mindless playing the track really gets back on track at 2:05 in which the song directs a great solo and a well flowing beat that slowly ends the masterpiece of a track. The Lyrics are a bit confusing I am not really sure if they have much of a point other then talking about a powerful old man.
The 10th track, “Magic and Mayhem,” starts out with a slow beat that has a graceful and sad sound to it and is not entirely entertaining. At 1:00 the track changes direction very quickly, a grind/gritty sound is produced portraying a more sinister type theme. The lyrics I think are talking about an evil man who is rich and powerful with slaves, and treats people poorly.
The following track, “Folk of the North,” is another instrumental track using a keyboard and drums and a base guitar. Other guitars join in later, which make this song feel magical and full of mystery.
Track number 12, “Moon and Sun,” is a slowly paced song that has a dark sound to it, somewhat like earlier Amorphis albums. This track is quite similar to earlier tracks but with a different beat. Although the tune is not very exciting or has any catchy tunes this track is a good solid track to have on the album. The track talks about darkness falling over the land and battle commencing.
The second part to the, “Moon and Sun,” “Moon and Sun Part II: North’s Son,” is a more energetic sequel that is a good ending track for this album. Combing catchy tunes with good steady beats that are constantly changing, and building up and then going back to slow beats, this track talks about the ending of all that was talked about in the lyrics of earlier tracks.
The last song, “Light my Fire,” is just a remake of the original by, “The doors.” Amorphis do an excellent job of playing the song with a much heavy tone and Death metal lyrics. This track has catchy tunes and good guitar riffs.
So all in all Amorphis’s classic masterpiece, “Tales from the Thousand Lakes,” is an exceptional album with a perfect death metal type sound but not entirely death metal like lyrics. I would class this album as Death/Viking metal with a hint of folk. After listening to this album you will feel like you had been taken on a journey and met many new people, seen extraordinary events take place, and mysteries without answers spring up
Definitely buy this album I highly recommend it, the album is much heavier and darker then modern Amorphis and not as dark and deathlike as past Amorphis. I hope I have helped you decide if this Album is worth having because it definitely is.