Review by Tobias on March 11, 2001.
In Amorphis’ quest to find themselves, they’ve churned out some progressive-grunge-metal with a hint of psychedelia. As grand as that may seem to some, in the end, strangely enough, it seemed to allow little room for movement in the band’s style.
While the band seems to have developed a sound that is the groundwork for identity, it isn’t really that unique. It comes across as being some sort of melting pot for the Seattle grunge sound and composition with elements of lite-metal (like the Eric Johnson-esque guitar sound on the first track). The vocals, that were once renowned death growls, have moved to a cleaner, but slightly gritty grunge sound akin to Stabbing Westward (not that SW was ever really grunge, but…) or a lighter side of Mudhoney.
Tuonela seems to be at its strongest when expanding upon the psychedelic sounds, which I have always believed to be sorely needed in Metal. However, even this at times ended up sliding into keyboards that sounded more like the technologically limited electric organs of the ‘60’s and ’70’s than an adventurous prog-psychedelic-metal band.
One track, that I thoroughly enjoyed, but found to be a little confusing considering the body of work presented in Tuonela, was Greed. This track features spacey sitars, a dynamic slow to medium rhythm… and death growls. I think that this song may have been the most accomplished of the bunch. In fact, this is the one tune that seems to pull together the band’s history and their new direction to form an even better sound. If they can keep it up with stuff like this, I’ll be a happy man.
Bottom Line: This band has a little more work to do before they can carve out a proper niche for themselves. A good strong start, but not exactly on the money.
Rating: 6 of 10