Bolder than The Karelian Isthmus and conceptually superior to later attempts at progressive but radio-friendly '90s metal, Tales From the Thousand Lakes might just be Amorphis' best recording. This record is heavy, yet never succumbs to the inane extremes common to the melodic death metal genre. The guitars and drums are in ample supply, and a rare attention to arrangement and production really sets this disc apart. The guttural vocal work isn't for every metal fan, but the neo-prog instrumental work and overall heaviness should impress those turned off by the throaty rants. In a possible attempt to widen the band's appeal, Tomi Koivusaari briefly sings, which doesn't exactly work out. These moments of confusion are short-lived, though, and they hardly blemish the release. The subtle addition of keyboards is a nice touch -- Amorphis' captivation with the instrument would soften later efforts. So even though Tales From the Thousand Lakes heralded a shift toward later, inferior recordings, the new and old are balanced precisely on this 1994 Relapse offering.
AllMusic Review by Jason Anderson