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Amorphis - Tales From The Thousand Lakes

Release: 1994
Label: Nuclear Blast
By: Tordah
Posted: Oct 1, 2005

Behold the featured Scandinavian classic of October, this month we have dissected this Finnish giant, so please go forth and read the result.


TORDAH: Amorphis is one of those bands that have always walked their own path. Their sound has evolved drastically over the years and it's hard to believe that the band once used to play raw death metal. They have released several albums that are considered classics but one album is mentioned more often than all the others. I think you know which album I'm talking of…

The year is 1994 and "Tales From The Thousand Lakes" is released upon the world. The music is a hybrid of death and doom metal and the combination turns out to be an exceptionally impressive one. The music and lyrics on this album were heavily inspired by the Finnish national epic, Kalevala, and they managed to capture some of the magic within those tales into these songs. From the very beginning until the last track 'Magic And Mayhem' the music captures you and takes you on a journey.

The album starts out with an atmospheric keyboard intro before venturing into the melancholy of the great tune 'Into Hiding'. A track which contains everything from heavy riffs, double-bass drumming and growls to cool guitar-melodies, atmospheric keyboards and clean vocals. And that's pretty much the formula for the rest of the album as well. The music is neither technical or very fast but it's very powerful and memorable. Especially the melodies are great and catchy. The heart of the album definitely lies within the heavy riffs and beautiful guitar-melodies. They also use a moog occasionally. That's a kickass instrument you don't get to hear very often in metal.

'Black Winter Day' is one of Amorphis' most well-known and best tracks and the highlight of the album. The band managed to incorporate many different sounds and moods into just one short piece of music. Even after hearing this song countless times it still sounds fresh, it's an immortal track. Other highlights on the album are 'The Castaway', 'Drowned Maid' and 'Magic And Mayhem'. Compared to modern albums the production on "Tales From The Thousand Lakes" might seem a bit muddy but it has a very organic and fitting sound for the music. It's hard to compare the music to any other band cause they have such an original sound. I'm surprised that no clone-bands started to pop up after this release. Or maybe I just don’t know about them. In conclusion, this is an excellent album and one that every metal-head should have heard. Long live Amorphis!

20050929classic2.jpg Amorphis era "Tales From The Thousand Lakes"

JOHELL: Oh Yeah! "Tales From The Thousand Lakes" is also a classic in my collection. There was Something special, or better to say that there still is, with the band's second full lenght release. The sound, the atmosphere, the death and doomy side gave much to the feeling, I got from listening to this brilliant album, while I was spending holidays with my friends at "The very red house" in Finland during the summer of 1994.

I liked "The Karelian Ishtmus", Amorphis' first album, but when my friend Fjalle said I had to listen to their new masterpiece, I didn't expect that it would be a so damn cool album. I even got the rest of the flock almost upset, as I pushed on the replay button probably more than twenty times the same day!!!

All tracks are good on the "Tales From The Thousand Lakes" release, the intro gives the vibe, 'Into Hiding' is great, 'Black Winter Day' is a classic, but my favourites are still 'To Fathers Cabin' and 'Magic And Mayhem'.

Well, I have 'banged a lot to this album, besides that I have seen Amorphis live 3 times, as they toured for "Tales From The Thousand Lakes" album and I later bought many different versions of this album.Probably one of their best albums together with "Elegy", but I have always followed them and will continue to do so, as long as they continue to release new material, line-up changes or not, softer metal or back to the roots...Amorphis is a very inspired band and on stage they are a lot damn heavier than on the studio releases.

They are also really cool guys, as I had the chance to meet them many times after their shows and in "real life". I am looking forward to hear their next release! 

DEEK: I've had this album for quite a while now but had never really listened to it. Maybe once or twice before other albums I got around the same time sort of took precidence over it. The melodies used in the songs have so much feeling, and 'In the Beginning', with the growl and clean vocals overlapping gives it such an amazing sound. I know their album "The Karilian Isthmus", and love it, but this one has quickly taken over as my favorite from them, easily becoming their best in my mind. I really do wish I had listened to this album more. 

ANDERS: Amorphis has been praised a lot, especially for "Tales From The Thousand Lakes" when we talk about the early albums. I have to admit the album didn’t catch me the first I listened to it. At that period at time I wasn't into the dark and doomy death metal, and the melodies on it pushed me even further away. It wasn't until I came across the Finns' '93 EP "Privilege Of Evil" that I got caught in the world of Amorphis. The dark and evil atmosphere on that EP really talked to me, together with the raw sound and the killer growls from Tomi Koivusaari.

After my experience with "Privilege Of Evil" I had to check out the rest of the band's material again, and of course "Tales From The Thousand Lakes" once again. The dark and doomy atmosphere on the album is enchanting and pulled me into the belly of the beast. Even though I still have a small problem with the at times too melodic leads there are present. But the vocal progression incorporating clean vocals together with the growls, are a good addition, that adds some mystery and a new dimension to the music. Another dimension is added with the use of keyboards. The keyboard is at times great and infuses some nice atmosphere into the doomy tracks, though when the moog takes over and its psychedelic scents of the 70ties plays along with the sorrowful music, I get kind of lost. The sound of the moog seems too weird and psychedelic for the atmosphere Amorphis invokes with this album, and at times it does sound rather cheesy and "cheap", but a vintage synthesizer the band brought into the darkness, with varied result in my opinion. When that is said, it does add something unique to the release, but it takes some time to settle with, at least it did for me.

I don't have the same enthusiasm regarding this album as my co-writers, even though I enjoy the album now and then. And I do fully realize its importance for the progression of Amorphis. Even though they would have been stuck with the killer death metal era "The Karelian Isthmus" and "Privilege Of Evil", if the world was perfect. "Tales From The Thousand Lakes" is a good atmospheric doom-death metal album, and my fave tracks on the album are 'Black Winter Day', 'To Fathers Cabin' and the absolute highlight on the album in my opinion 'Drowned Maid'. The dark, chilling and very atmospheric cover artwork does also deserves to be mentioned, killer and atmospheric work from SV Bell Illustration.

Amorphis website

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