Album Review: Silver Lake by Esa Holopainen

Album Review: Silver Lake by Esa Holopainen
Reviewed by Richard Oliver

Due to the global pandemic and the complete lack of touring by bands many have had plenty of spare time on their hands. Musicians have been in writing overload with many bands having recorded or recording new albums but this lull in activity is also presenting the opportunity for many musicians to embark on the fabled solo album venture. One such musician who has been thinking of doing a solo album for quite some time but has never had the time until now is Amorphis guitarist Esa Holopainen. He had been writing music that hasn’t sounded exactly like Amorphis and the time had come to get these songs recorded and with the help of a who’s who of Scandanavian metal vocalist royalty including amongst others Jonas Renkse (Katatonia), Einar Solberg (Leprous), Bjorn “Speed” Strid (Soilwork), Tomi Joutsen (Amorphis) and Anneke Van Giersbergen (VUUR).

As you would expect, this album is absolutely gorgeous. The links to Amorphis are clearly there with an atmospheric, melancholic and progressively minded feel but these songs have a different feel to them and a variation of styles incorporated from the gloom of Sentiment to the poppyness of Ray Of Light, the sheer catchiness of Storm and dark heaviness of In Her Solitude. The songs feel very much suited to their respective singers and Esa has done a great job of finding the best singers to match the music. Storm featuring Nordman singer Håkan Hemlin is guaranteed to be in my head for days whilst anything featuring the astonishing voice of Leprous’ Einar Solberg is going to get my seal of approval. The only song that fell a bit flat for me was Alkusointu which is mainly an instrumental but features some spoken word vocals from Finnish artist Vesa-Matti Loiri which feel slightly out of place. This is one very minor criticism of an album that oozes sheer quality throughout.

I went into this album with high expectations and they were very much met. Amorphis are a band I adore and to hear one of the key members of that band branching out with differing and varying styles of songs accompanied by some of my favourite singers was always going to be a winner for me. Esa has hinted that there may be more Silver Lake albums to come and going off the strength of this first album, that is a very exciting prospect.

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