Released on: 1999-03-30
In one of the many tales from the „Kalevala“ (the finnish national epos) the great hero Lemminkäinen travels to the mighty black river that seperates the land TUONELA (the underworld) from the mortal world. At Luohi´s request, he attemps to kill the beautiful swan of Tuoni, who rules the land of the dead.
The swansong is the saddest song ever heard by human ears, to warn them of the fate that awaits the dying. The fact that Finnland´s famous metal heroes AMORPHIS chose to name their longawaited fourth album after this dark and melancholic place, is a bit misleading though.
It documents the band being true to their past in sticking to lyrical topics from the „Kalevala“ (as on TALES FROM THE THOUSAND LAKES and ELEGY), but TUONELA is not a particularily melancholic and gothic album. Two significant changes within the band chemistry play an important role in the new AMORPHIS sound. Firstly, Kim Rantala, the keyboard player, left the band last year thus the guitars dominate the sound more than on ELEGY as he was not replaced. Secondly, the vocal duties are no longer shared by two people: Tomi Koivusaari’s death metal-voice has grown silent so that remaining singer Pasi Koskinen’s clear vocals increase the distance put between AMORPHIS and their death metal roots.
Also, the tendency toward semi-acoustic, Seventies-influenced songs, as found on the last release (the mini album MY KANTELE), has been discontinued. AMORPHIS work with mighty powerchords, building a majestic soundscape which is further ornamented with folkish melodies. Comparisons to Paradise Lost’s ICON- and DRACONIAN TIMES-era seem pretty close, especially as their former producer, Simon Efemy, created the sound of this album (in Finnvox Studio, Helsinki).
These analogies, however, do not apply to the songwriting - that would be a very insensitive statement in view of Amorphis’ increased individuality. But TUONELA does give the listener a similar feeling of the band that managed to transform a style, born in the seclusive world of the metal underground, into something valid for the evolution of modern heavy music.
AMORPHIS bring together contemporary rock music and an archaic, yet likeable, Finnish character. As they have left behind all of the „ugly“ (in the ears of the common listener) death metal elements and replaced them with simple heavy and cool riffs (that just as easily make me think of Monster Magnet as well as the aforementioned Paradise Lost), TUONELA should guarantee them succes with a broad audience that can´t be bothered with the obscure hybrids of dozens of underground trends. Robert Müller (Hammer), January 1999.
|Track list||Total runtime|
|1||- The Way||4:35|
|2||- Morning Star||3:50|
|9||- Rusty Moon||4:56|
|10||- Summers End||5:37|