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Night of Hunters

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Album Review

Tori Amos has attempted conceptual recordings as far back as Boys For Pele in 1996. It worked beautifully there and on Scarlet's Walk, less so on the Beekeeper and American Doll Posse. Night Of Hunters was created based on a commission by Deutsche Grammophon, to create a 21st century song cycle that took into account classical works from the last 400 years. She built 14 songs from variations on Bach, Debussy, Granados, Alkan, Satie, Schubert, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Mussorgsky and Gregorian Chant. Its mythical theme reflects the New World to Old World journey of a woman who finds herself alone as a relationship dies, and must find inner strength to transcend her circumstances. Amos joined her voice and Bosendorfer piano with reeds, winds, and strings, arranged by John Philip Shenale. While her narrative can be frustratingly complex and her lyrics obscure, the work ultimately succeeds because she restrains herself from all excesses and employs her finest vocal and playing skills—the latter are formidable. Shenale's arrangements take Amos's rhythmic playing into account in his charts; he complements them and never over orchestrates. On "The Shattering Sea," based on an Alkan's "Madwoman on the Sea-Shore," strings by the Apollon Musagete Quartet pulse just behind her piano, creating drama underscored by reeds and winds. When she pronounces emphatically, "That is not my blood on the on the bedroom floor," the tension becomes unbearable. In "Snowblind," (based on a song by Granados) her character refuses to accept blame for the end of the relationship. Amos creates a mythical guide/Muse as balance: the fine vocals of her eleven year old daughter Natasha as 'Anabelle The Fox" make their initial appearance. "Battle Of Trees," based on Satie's "Gnossienne No. 1" will demand attention from the listener who will be seduced by the interplay between voice, strings, reeds and winds. "Cactus Practice," despite it's ridiculous title, is one of the more beautful pieces here; it's with another vocal duet with Natasha based on a Chopin nocturne. Likewise their duet in "Job's Coffin," inspired by Mendelssohn's "Nautical Twilight." "Seven Sisters" the instrumental pairing between her piano and Andreas Ottensame's clarinet—inspired by a Bach prelude— precedes "Carry," the most powerful (and accessible) cut. It's also the closer and is based on a prelude by Debussy. Night Of Hunters is not a pop record and therefore claims a different place in Amos's oeuvre. It contains the emotive power, dynamic, and splendor of her very best material, but because it is a work of classical crossover, any expectation of pop hooks, or sing along choruses will be met with disappointment. Consequently its sophistication, elegance and poetry will reward anyone who takes the time to absorb it. [The Deluxe Edition contains a bonus DVD. Bound in a hardback book, containing a documentary, and videos for the songs "Carry" and "Nautical Twilight."]

Customer Reviews

Be prepared for something different

I am the first to admit I was SCARED when I read Tori's new album was a "Classical" album. Let me reassure you, yes it is probably classed as a classical album but it's still very much a Tori Amos release. It's a piano heavy record with woodwind and strings. Think Yes, Anastasia and Putting The Damage On.

This album will absolutely be a grower and take a few listen to digest. There's a massive concept which isn't my thing but there are still some truly amazing and beautiful songs that stand strong on their own as well as part of the narrative. If you're like me, don't get caught up by the concept and just listen to the album as back ground music a few times and you'll see the tori you probably fell in love with is alive and kickin'!

Don't be too quick to judge this. Give it some time. I think this record will really get some positive critical acclaim for tori.

Top songs are
Shattering Sea,
Battle Of Tree (give it a few listens)
Star Whisperer (especially 2nd half)
Job's Coffin
Nautical Twilight
Edge of the Moon
Night Of hunters

Fabulous as usual

Another album for all Tori fans I will be looking forward to seeing her perform this at the opera house next time she is in Australia and in Perth

Best of a bad bunch since 'Scarlet'

Why since The Beekeeper has she taken out the sound of her taking breaths...? I know this seams like such a trivial criticism, but now her albums are just songs with no notion of a real woman singing them.
Listen to Scarlet or Pele and you can feel the songs coming out at you, but since The Beekeeper, she has started (in my opinion) overproducing and mastering which has led to the passion and organic sound to disappear.

I hope she come to Oz to play live so i can hear what the feelings are behind the songs, because they don't translate in the album's recording...

Having said that, this is her best since Scarlet, and the concept - while a bit arduous is new and fun to go on the ride with.

for fans only -


Born: 22 August 1963 in Newton, NC

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Tori Amos (born Myra Ellen Amos) was one of several female singer/songwriters who combined the stark, lyrical attack of alternative rock with a distinctly '70s musical approach, creating music that fell between the orchestrated meditations of Kate Bush and the stripped-down poetics of Joni Mitchell. In addition, she revived the singer/songwriter traditions of the '70s while re-establishing the piano as a rock & roll instrument. With her 1992 album Little Earthquakes, Amos built a dedicated following...
Full Bio
Night of Hunters, Tori Amos
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