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Finnish Tales - 92%

OzzyApu, December 6th, 2006

While the Holy Trinity between In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, and At The Gates was forming over in Sweden, Amorphis had already reached perfection with -Tales From The Thousand Lakes- in Finland.

Vocalist/guitarist Tomi Koivusaari does the growls/cookie monster vocals, which I think mix very well with the music. Amorphis also happened to hire Ville Tuomi to perform clean vocals for a sense of variety and so that Tomi's doesn’t get dull. In any case, his vocals are very doom-like; lazy, light growls straight dug from the throat rather than the powerful deathlike one from their debut. My theory behind the appeal that this album holds to so many people is the atmosphere it creates when you let it fully absorb you. The mood and vibe flowing through each song gives a stronger significance to them. I do find the production to be rusty on some tracks more than others, but everything one wants to hear is mostly reached (It’s their second album, c’mon).

The monster vocals are easy to take in, but the clean singing at first will appear shallow, which is probably the reason why they hired Pasi to handle them on later records. Songs like "Into Hiding" and "Black Winter Day" will have memorable passages that will automatically hook you with catchy riffs and keyboard parts (both the backbone of the album). Esa’s riffs and solos are seriously stand out to perfection, while Tomi settles the rhythm try and true. Jan’s drumming capabilities can’t go without saying they aren’t brutal, but they are well paced, solidly timed, and dusty as one would expect. Olli-Pekka’s bass lines are heard clearly when the rest of the instruments calm down, leaving him to never exceed or show any sign of intricacy exceeding what’s already being played by the riffs.

While the production isn’t near reaching the best quality of 1994, Tales… doesn’t let up with what is put on it. All the tracks seem to have some degree of catchiness while many of them are extremely memorable due mainly to Esa’s riffs and the structure of the song. Another thing that one shouldn’t worry about is the length. While the album almost reaches 38 minutes on the original, the re-release has a few more worthwhile tracks and the songs are so deep that one will dive into them, creating the “lasting” effect. Any (Melodic) Death fan that digs varied songs, both heavy and catchy, should not pass this up. Go now, the Karelian is waiting!