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Amorphis: Tales From the Thousand Lakes/Black Winter Day

Relapse Records combined a few years back two very important releases from Amorphis that both came out in 1994-the classic Tales From the Thousand Lakes and the equally enchanting EP Black Winter Day. Both of these releases remain mainstays of the genre, as they combined melodic death metal with symphonic prog-rock and heaping amounts of psychedelic doom.

While the gloomy and depressed vocal growls of Tomi Koivusaari are heard aplenty throughout this CD, there are many extended instrumental passages, whether the band is riffing on some Black Sabbath-inspired dirge, or settling in for some atmospheric progressive rock jaunt. A tune like "First Doom" is a classic example of doomy prog, with thunderous riffing and Moog work, while "Black Winter Day" crushes you with death metal intensity, but is still very melodic thanks to the intricate guitar and keyboard work. Koivusaari and Ville Toumi do a nice job of alternating between clean and death vocals on this one, and it proves to be one of the more adventurous pieces in this collection, also noteworthy for Kasper Martenson's nimble Moog solos.

Church organ meets crushing guitars on the spooky "To Father's Cabin", while the two-part "Moon and Sun" is prime doom melded with gothic death metal, a sound that will easily send shivers up your spine. Perhaps the only weak point here is the cover of the Doors "Light My Fire" , which is simply quite laughable and should not have been attempted.

The tracks from the Black Winter Day EP are mixed in among the Tales album cuts, making this one seamless listen, and it was probably the way these songs were originally meant to be heard. One other thing needs to be mentioned, and that is the amazing artwork that adorns the CD booklet courtesy of Sv Bell Illustration and Wes Benscoter. This should be an essential part of any melodic/progressive death metal collection.

Track Listing
1. Thousand Lakes
2. Into Hiding
3. Castaway
4. First Doom
5. Black Winter Day
6. Drowned Maid
7. In the Beginning
8. Forgotten Sunrise
9. To Father's Cabin
10. Magic and Mayhem
11. Fork of the North
12. Moon and Sun
13. Moon and Sun, Pt. 2: North's Son
14. Light My Fire

Added: January 22nd 2005
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Amorphis Website
Hits: 3165
Language: english

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