I’ve been working on writing this review since it was released in April. Every time I sit to write I find myself swept along on the music & forget to actually type. Seldom do I find an album to be so all-consuming. Poets of the Fall hit all the right notes & Temple of Thought is a beautiful melange of styles. If you’re looking for an album of 2012 this is it!
I was instantly sucked in with the opening of Running Out of Time. Olli Tukiainen (lead guitar) & Jaska Mäkinen (rhythm guitar) start things out with a rapid pace & a heavy rhythm chord. Add in Jari Salminen‘s drums & by the time Marko Saaresto‘s vocals rip out I feel like I should, in fact, be running. Olli shows off his ability to play blistering guitar with technical precision toward the end of the song. I expected a boisterous end but Marko changes things up & the last sound is but a whisper of “time“. It’s easy to get caught up in the catchy music while singing along. The lyrics are typical of POTF & it is worth grabbing the liner notes & really taking a look at the words on the page.
Running Out of Time
As fast-paced as the beginning of the album is things begin to slow down with the title song, Temple of Thought. A rough-edged lullaby; Temple of Thought contains a solemn vow wrapped in an alternative rock package. Solid guitar & percussion form a solid foundation for Mr. Saaresto‘s vocals.
So when you’re restless, I will calm the ocean for you/In your sorrow I’ll dry your tears./When you need me, I will be the love beside you./I’ll take away all your fears, I’ll take away all of your fears./So you can let go of all your fears.
POTF released Cradle of Love as the first single & it’s easy to see why. A simple acoustic guitar intro creates an intimate atmosphere. Sensual music & silky lyrics form an unforgettable love song. Marko‘s vocals caress each note to the point that it makes me want to weep.
Cradled In Love
Now that your soul is stripped bare POTF ratchets up the volume & Kamikaze Love splashes in with a rock spectacle. No gentle guitar or subtle brushes on the snare here– In fact listening to this makes me feel reckless. Jari‘s drums make your pulse pound. Olli & Jaska provide a dark undercurrent with their guitars.
Take me where the angels fall/You take it all/You give no quarter for my love/You raise me high/to tear me down/Leaves you reeling/feels like stealing/frantic moments/of Kamikaze Love
The bridge brings in a heavy metal element & is followed by a light progression that takes you by surprise with it’s gentility. The guys come roaring back in for a few bars & then leave with the final notes echoing out like ripples on a pond.
The musical talents of POTF are not lacking by any means & their ability to go from gentle love song to heavy metal on the same album makes for a fantastic listening experience. The Lie Eternal falls somewhere in the middle. Rhythm guitar & percussion are weighty; the vocals gritty with the reality of a lie readily believed.
The Lie Eternal
The Lie Eternal
The theme of the album continues through Skin, The Distance, Show Me This Life & Morning Tide. One of my favorites is Skin. A melodic intro progression of guitar melts into the vocals. A story of loss that can’t heal it recalls the sense memory of a lover’s touch long after they are gone. By contrast, ambitious guitar riffs thrum the opening of The Distance & I catch a hint of Genesis in the percussion. One of the brighter songs on the album; there is hope laced with the memories.
I like this album so much & each song has a sound or lyric that is a favorite. Show Me This Life not only provides a wailing guitar solo but a particularly deft turn of phrase.
I thought I could keep it for myself, but this life ain’t, it ain’t for me alone. And here I thought I could keep it for myself, but you can slice the light right off my sun with your razor blade caress of love.
Sit & listen to this…let in flood your mind & take you away.
Acoustic guitar ushers in The Ballad of Jeremiah Peacekeeper. We are treated to another haunting vocal performance from Marko & deft musicianship from Jaska, Olli & Jari. The slow roll of the snare, choral backing vocals & the lone guitar solo give this a feeling of desolation.
He looks like a gunman, but his view is much too wide for such a solution, so he fights without a six gun on his side.
POTF close out this album with a song by their gaming alter-ego Old Guards of Asgard (a fictional band from the Alan Wake video game). The Happy Song is an oddly named song because it has very little to do with being happy. Rather it is violent metal with touches of insanity. It’s catchy, singable & slightly scary…nothing like taking all the expectations built up over an album & flipping it on its ear.
Poets of the Fall take this album for a wild ride. They explore the human condition thoroughly through our connections to Love–lost, found, desperately clung to and pushing us into moments of reckless abandon.