Click Here for Martin's HardRadio HardReviews Archives
Two Tales Of One Tomorrow (Cornerstone/Fono/Koda)
Disconcerting that this longstanding band of classicist metal traditionalists is still somewhat unheralded, Cornerstone being the domain of one Doogie White, of Rainbow and Yngwie fame. What sets the band apart is its lack of urge to be heavy for heavy's sake, oddly mirroring the Violent Storm record experience, from Doogie's erstwhile Yngwie bandmate Mick Cervino. Production and playing is of a stadium rock quality, the record heaving with dynamics over crisp drumming, in essence, Doogie seemingly on a quest to get the oddball Stranger In Us All Rainbow album right. By that I mean that this is like a follow-up to that record, but much more finished, appointed, rich of sonic depth. But Blackmore melodies abound, making this, on the negative, also a bit like a Joe Lynn Turner album he'd make with his Japanese friends if he succumbed completely to that Rainbow continuance concept. Highlights include 'Blinded', a gorgeous, sophisticated ballad with a passion-filled chorus as well as guest violin, plus 'Starlight And Mystery' a medieval rocker with Bodom-like synths, and, again, a profusion of elevated melodies zig-zagging here and there, Doogie being the king of kingly moat metal well-versed in slathering durable mortar to stone.
Silent Waters (Nuclear Blast)
There's something dense and uncommunicative about Silent Waters, Amorphis rolling up their sleeves and getting their hands dirty, including touchstones from all their post-raw records, namely the last five or six, and even many death growls from the early days. I'm still having a hard time getting over the fact that this band has a new vocalist, Tomi Joutsen having replaced Pasi Koskinen for the last record, Eclipse (actually more like just after Far From The Sun, seemingly aeons ago). But listen to 'Toward And Against' and one has to admit he's covering the light and shade bases. But yes, like Paradise Lost as of late, Amorphis seems bent on encompassing their catalogue and compressing it into carbonic diamonds of progressive, note-dense, mostly quite heavy, sound-filled tracks, resulting in listener fatigue as one tries to draw all these chill Finn vapors in. Cohesion is sacrificed for substance, meat on the bones, a seven course meal that's gonna take many listens to digest. And actually, if you get yer slide rule out, in keeping with this idea of everything offered, there is all sorts of acoustic and quasi-ballad moves as well, Amorphis seemingly bending time, making us believe the album is bloody three hours long. Katatonia and Anathema albums have been tiring in this way, and never Pasi-era Amorphis albums. And then again, you almost gotta call this the most accomplished and professional Amorphis spread of them all. Weird.
Hard Reviews Page 2