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Tuple - Wooden Box Award winner

Wooden Box
by Mark Machlay at 27 June 2020, 2:52 PM

What do you do upon turning 50 and you’ve lead a roller-coaster of a Finnish musician life? You write a full concept album about it with your friend that acts as a kind of personal, spiritual purification and invite all your musician friends to contribute a part or two to it. This is exactly what Tommi ‘Tuple’ Salmela decided to do with his solo debut “Wooden Box”. Tuple is most famous for joining the longtime Finnish metal band TAROT in 2006 – the same year they reached the number one spot in the Finnish music charts for first time in the history of the band – a band itself famous for founder Marco Hietala who joined NIGHTWISH in 2001. However, he has had quite a long career singing background vocals for many other Finnish bands such as AMORPHIS, TWILIGHTNING and CARDIANT to name a few. He is also one of the singers for RASKASTA JOULUA, a Finnish band that records and performs metal versions of traditional Christmas carols inspired by American group TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA. With TAROT’s future uncertain after the death of drummer Pecu Cinnari, Tuple has been keeping busy as the lead vocalist for Finnish melodic heavy metalers LAZY BONEZ since 2012.

Tuple takes many of his influences for the varied melodic rock genre and sprinkles in a poppy Arena Rock style to give the songs strong hooks and easy re-listening experiences. The influences for the record are varied but pieces of bands such as BLACK SABBATH, KANSAS, BOSTON, CHICAGO, and particularly DIO can be felt throughout the record. From such varied cuts as the strong rocking single of “Demon Alcohol”, the softer, melodic power ballads “Together” and “Miracle”, and the much more ambitious second half of the album – starting with “In These Altitudes” featuring a startlingly amazing guitar solo from TAROT bandmate Zachary Hietala – the music is unpredictable, mainly uplifting and moving. The lyrics are honest and raw, showing the rock and roll lifestyle of one long in the rock business in striking detail. He can even show some humor in a Captain Jack Sparrow name drop in “Get With The Program” making fun of how rockstars can see themselves at parties “in the middle of the pool” having too much “fun”. The myriad of guest musicians should give this man credit alone with the likes of Sande Kallio of AMORPHIS contributing piano to a couple tracks, lead singer of SONATA ARCTICA Tony Kakko and TAROT bandmate Janne Tolsa contributing background vocals – the latter also contributing key and piano work on several tracks – and even the famous Marco Heitala contributing bass and acoustic guitar to a track.

In short, it’s a great throwback to late 80s arena rock and an absolute treat.  The production is amazing and honestly should be since it was mastered by longtime TAROT production contributor Janne Tolsa – this guy wears so many hats on this album he should be named MVP –and mastered at the famous Finnvox Studios by Mika Jussila, much sought after in the metal community having mastered over 1300 albums at the studio since 1990. Needless to say, it is near perfection and hopefully Tuple can step out of the background more often and has many more years ahead to sing and produce much more content such as this.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 9
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

1. Wooden Box
2. Demon Alcohol
3. Together
4. Fucking Beautiful
5. Kryptonite
6. In These Altitudes
7. Too Far Gone
8. Miracle
9. Get With The Program
10. Rocking Chair
11. Pretty Much Perfect
Tommi ‘Tuple’ Salmela – Vocals
Tom Rask – Drums
Riitis – Guitars, Keyboards, and Loops
Pate Kivinen – Hammond Organ
Jyka Sirainen – Bass
Record Label: AOR Heaven


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