Poets of the Fall - Temple of Thought Review
Posted by Pingk on Sat, 16 Jun 2012.
Marko Saaresto – Vocals
Olli Tukiainen – Lead Guitar
Markus Kaarlonen – Keyboards
Jani Snellman – Bass Guitar
Jaska Mäkinen – Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals
Jari Salminen – Drums, Percussion
The Poets' latest album, Temple of Thought, once again lead the band to a new direction; focused more on personal, sensitive songs compared to Revolution Roulette or Twilight Theatre. Reading through the lyrics of each song, it is not implausible to think that the theme of love runs though the majority of the songs, from an initial infatuation which slowly crumbles through the middle of the album, before rising up again into a seemingly stable relationship.
Running out of Time emerges as the opening for the album, building steadily through an initial guitar melody, leading a deep bass line and suitably paced drums. Marko's mid-range vocals complement Jani's dominating bass. The short-lived but well composed solo continued the trend of the song, fluidly escorting the final chorus into the song before closing on a slight flourish. While Running out of Time is an enjoyable first song, this strong rock style doesn't set the image for the remainder of the album.
The next song, Temple of Thought, is a better example, with a soothing guitar tune giving way to the vocals; which wait patiently for the crescendo of the chorus. The chorus brings with it a welcome set of drums. The solo this time around is not nearly as technical, but features a great example of the speed Olli can achieve when strumming.
Cradled in Love continues the progressive softness of the album with a great keyboard introduction. This is also the first song in the album that showcases how softly Marko is able to sing, and demonstrates his effortless upper vocal range. The drum beat is well judged, staying unobtrusive and allowing the keyboardist of Markus to control the pace of the song. Lyrically, this song represents the end of the mutual love between the two unknown subjects.
Kamikaze Love and The Lie Eternal bring the fall of the relationship; easily recognisable from the lyrics of the former song "You take it all, You give no quarter for my love, You raise me high to tear me down…" Kamikaze Love is musically similar to Temple of Thought, though is slightly faster paced; the latter song, by contrast, begins with a punchy drum beat and relaxed guitars. Marko's voice portrays a sense of ignorance, in keeping with the loveless theme of this part of the album.
Skin is the lowest song on the album, the sadness in the vocals and instruments feels almost tangible, particularly during the slight lift of the chorus. The Distance unfolds in a similar vein, though in a less successful way. The Poets tried to bind the sadness of Skin with the upbeat nature of Temple of Thought in order to create a path out of the sombre setting. It works adequately, but they may have been a smudge too ambitious with this song.
After many songs of high- and mid-range vocals, we eventually witness Marko's deeper vocal style in Morning Tide. Unfortunately, this revelation is paired with one of the weakest songs on the album. Due it its slow nature, it seems overstay its welcome; the keyboards and guitars appear satisfied to trundle along with no uplifting flourish during the bridge.
The Ballad of Jeremiah Peacekeeper and The Happy Song are the two final songs on the album, and are also the most out of place regarding the general theme. The Ballad is written in the third person, and tackles the situation of one man attempting to bring peace to the world without the use of violence "So he fights without a six-gun by his side". The Happy Song, however, fails to bring such a topic to the album. More metallic than any previous song and featuring distorted vocals with bland lyrics, it has been written for the Alan Wake game, and appears to have been put on the album 'just because'.
Nonetheless, a couple of bad songs are not enough to spoil an album of this calibre, experimenting with various styles is proof the band is trying to push itself. Poets of the Fall have produced a generally decent album, and will hopefully continue to evolve their sound for future albums.
You can find out more about the band form their website here: www.poetsofthefall.com/