Review: Tuple – Welcome To Hell

Review: Tuple – Welcome To Hell

AOR Heaven (May 28th 2021)

Reviewer: Jason Hopper

Tommi “Tuple” Salmela returns with his second album, ‘Welcome To Hell‘, and I admittedly could not wait to check it out. Tuple’s last album, ‘Wooden Box‘, was the biggest musical surprise of 2020. Songs like the title track, ‘Miracle’, and ‘Get With The Program’ are tunes that have never left my workout playlist. For those of you not familiar, Tuple’s sound is an amalgam of Heavy Metal and AOR. His influences include the bands Black Sabbath, Journey, Dio, and Boston, so that should tell you the mix of styles he blends together. His singing style is comparable to someone like Ozzy Osbourne, in that he’s not a singer in the traditional sense, but he respects his limitations and plays to his strengths, making for a sound that is distinctive from many other bands.

The album opens with ‘Welcome To Hell’, a fabulous uptempo track about the state of our world right now.  Regarding the chorus, I have a soft spot for clever lyric connectivity.  Constructing lyrics where one word dovetails into another is something I’ve always appreciated.  Having the lyrics of “Oh Well…..Welcome to Hell”, making it sound like he’s either partially singing the title of the track or also singing separate words not related to the title just makes it a fun song to sing along to.

There are so many great tracks on this release and while the whole band does a great job throughout, the production by band members Tuple, guitarist/keyboardist/composer Riitis, and keyboardist/mixer Janne Tolsa is spectacular. The keyboard melodies are the ones that stand out most and make this album as great as it is. ‘So Damn Cruel’, ‘Stay’, and ‘Not Enough To Love Me’ all have keyboards that share the lead with the guitar melody and elevate the songs the way they do by working so harmoniously together.

I’m a big Battle Beast fan so it was a surprise that there was a guest vocalization by Noora Louhimo. ‘Survive’ is similar to the keyboard heavy tracks of Battle Beast’s repertoire. Tuple and her voice blend well together and make this another standout track.

The album closes with the lone ballad, ‘Silver’. A seven minute track about loss and longing that starts off as a ballad, with ocean waves sounding in the background. It builds in an epic crescendo that showcases the bombast of the album. It takes a few minutes to get there but it’s well worth it.  Similar in nature to ‘Pretty Much Perfect’ off the last record and a great way to end a fabulous album.

Those who are familiar with the last album will be happy to hear that this one is on par with his debut and this can easily be a blind purchase. For those unfamiliar with him, this is some really well done AOR style rock with heavier elements sprinkled throughout the album. I’ve listened to this album several times now and I grow to like it more with each listen. This is not an artist I see talked about much and that needs to change.

Definitely check this out to experience a band that is truly unique to the AOR/Rock genre.