Soliloquy is the second album by Norwegian band Teodor Tuff. Teodor Tuff are a band that have only been around since 2008, but they already have a bit of an interesting and detailed story to their name. Starting life as a hard rock band and releasing a self-titled album in 2009 in this style, Teodor Tuff parted ways with 60% of their line-up in 2010 and now in 2012 have re-emerged with a new line-up featuring brothers Christer and Rayner Harøy (both also in Divided Multitude) on guitars and bass respectively as well as their cousin Terje (formerly with Memorized Dreams) on vocals as well as a new musical direction. Soliloquy is a melodic progressive metal album, also drawing on power metal, and it’s an absolute gem of a release.
I would actually go as far to say that Teodor Tuff have found a pretty unique sound for this album. The music features more focus on melody both musically and vocally opposed to the metal riffs, which are good but not really as heavy as I’m sure some would like as metal album to be. It’s not difficult to hear the group’s hard rock roots at times and even when the music is at its most progressive it remains accessible due to the hook laden choruses which are made even more addictive through Terje Harøy’s excellent clean singing. His voice has all sorts of different dynamics to it. At other times the music takes on epic proportions and even has something of a rock opera sort of vibe.
I don’t believe I’ve ever heard any other band with a sound quite like this. I could make a few comparisons to the more melody based progressive metal acts out there but Teodor Tuff has that extra something that makes them different and no matter who I tried to name drop as a reference here it still wouldn’t give a decent idea about what Soliloquy sounds like. So the only course of action is not to try, and advise my readers to just look up the music video they’ve made for their song Tower of Power, one of the album’s highlights, as a starting point and you’ll be well away to discovering for yourself what the Teodor Tuff sound is all about.
Tower of Power may be a highlight, one of many that also includes Mountain Rose, Hymn (For an Embattled Mind) and The Last Supper, but the album has its real masterpiece in the form of a track called Heavenly Manna. Not only addictive in the way detailed above, but it also features a four guitar solo duel from a group of guest guitarists, Tonje Harøy, Mattias IA Eklundh (Freak Kitchen), Martin Buus (Mercenary) and perhaps most notably Jeff Waters (Annihilator), of which the end result is one of the best songs I’ve ever heard. It’s certainly a contender for my favourite song of 2012.
And to close on that note, the album as a whole is easily top tier material on my rating system. Teodor Tuff have crafted something really special here, an album that is a love at first listen experience where further listens only bring me to regard even more of its tracks as highlights. I can’t say I have a single criticism to send the album’s way. Everything from the music, the vocals, the compositions and the production by Jacob Hansen strikes me as high quality work and although I may be stretching my credibility as a reviewer by giving a third album the following rating for a single year’s releases, I find myself unable to find another score to give Soliloquy that would do what Teodor Tuff have created here any justice. Therefore a perfect rating is given and you’ll now have to excuse me, because I am now off to listen to the album again.
(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven (http://metaltube.freeforums.org))