Thursday, March 17, 2011

Reminiscing...: Amorphis - Tales From The Thousand Lakes (1994)

Magic and Mayhem
Summer 1994.
It's hot.
I hate the heat. I hate humidity. And here it's aplenty.
The moment you walk out into the street, out of the realm of the air-conditioning system, you start to lose water in big heavy sweating drops. It's unbearable.
No wonder I was and still am so attracted to anything cold. And Amorphis from Finland certainly have a cold vibe. Coming from the land of a thousand lakes, a cold country, with long periods of dark and light (I prefer the darker one; hard to guess, isn't it?).
On that day I was walking quickly on the main street of XXX, right after school, in pursuit of what I knew would be a treasure. I've already seen the cover artwork for the new Amorphis album but hadn't heard a minute from it, only what my friends described to me as a doom-death metal album.
My itinerary came to sight. My focus absolute. And in my head the hope that this store would have a copy of the album. I crossed the street and into the air-conditioned shop I went. Said hi to the man behind the counter going over some cd's and proceeded to the cd racks with high hopes.
Where's the A here? Ah, here it is. Hmmm.... Abba, AC/DC, A-Ha... damn where does the Am's part start?
Freeze! I see it. The blue digipack, I can see it from the top. I reach for it and pull it up and marvel at the beauty of the drawing. I seize the moment for several seconds, devouring the cd with my eyes, all excited inside and my stomach in a flutter. I turn around and head to the counter to pay. The guy behind it barely notices the cd, just looks at the price tag and says it aloud. I hand him the cash, politely refuse his offer of a bag and head out of the store, excited and oblivious to the smoldering heat. I make my way home walking as fast as I can and within 25 minutes I'm there. I head straight to my room, gently taking the digipack from its wraps, and in a worshipping manner take the cd out and into the cd player, putting the volume up and taking a good view of the digipack fully open, watching the picture of the band and reading the lyrics and the thanks section. The music starts to play. Heavy, somewhat slow, melodic, folk-ish in parts; the growling begins. Oh, such bliss. The music feels very structured and rubric, each riff repeated 4 times and then on to the next section. With each song, this album exceeded my anticipations. The Castaway, Black Winter Day, To Fathers Cabin... all stellar songs. There's not a bad or even just ok song here. Everything is pure joy to the ears.
I have since listened to it many many times. And I have that digipack with me still. I heard their recent release with re-recorded versions of their early songs, including songs from Tales. I can't say I was very impressed. I'll stick to the originals.
Indeed, this was Magic and Mayhem.

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