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on 19 September 2012
Wow, I nearly missed this one, and boy am I glad I didn't. I was chatting to a friend a couple of weeks ago about tori's earlier albums and realised I missed quite a few so I popped on to amazon and topped up my collection. The others haven't had a look in, I just can't get enough of this album. I'm not really into classical music but this is classical tori style, full of passion and beauty. The production is fantastic and the other musicians really compliment tori and her piano without detracting from it. It has a great flow. Even the tracks which should annoy me work in the greater scheme of things. I was very worried about having her daughter on the album as it usually is abit embarrassing when artists do it, but her voice is wonderful and has a maturity far beyond her (at the time) 11years. They work really well together and I'll be interested to hear her in a few years time. It is a brilliant album, give it a couple of listens and let it take over.
I do just have to get this off my chest. Why does every album have to be compared to little earthquakes. Don't get me wrong it is an amazing album and it was the voice for me 20 years ago and I know I'm not the only one, not by a long way. But for crying out loud, it was 20 years ago! I was a very different person then, 18 years old full of hopes and dreams and pain and despair and lust and all the other emotions that tori managed to voice for us all. But just as I am 20 years older, so is tori so why should every new album be the new little earthquakes! Please let it go, celebrate the past of course, but also embrace the present and the future.
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on 22 September 2011
I seem to be in the minority here. I was really looking forward to a classically inspired release from Tori Amos, but while you can't argue with the ambition behind this album, like her last few it is a bit of a mixed bag.
On the plus side, Tori's wonderful piano playing, which seemed in the background on her last album, is back to the fore. I also think her voice sounds better than it has in years, and the classical arrangements and musicians work well. The opening and closing tracks are the standouts: Shattering Sea is wonderfully powerful and dramatic while Carry is simply beautiful. On repeated listens Edge of the Moon, Fearlessness and Night of Hunters really come into their own.
However in some songs the cryptic (to me anyway) lyrics of the "song cycle" don't match the beautiful music. Battle of Trees goes on for about 8 minutes without really going anywhere, and feels a lot longer. Cactus Practice is a sweet tune, but again the odd words seem to jar. As a long time Tori fan I am used to her unique and often beautiful lyrics, but while these seemed to fit and add to the atmosphere on an album like Boys for Pele, here sometimes they make it harder to really connect with the tracks. While Tori's daughter can clearly sing and has an interesting voice, the duets don't really work for me.
It is definitely an album that needs repeated listens to be fully appreciated. I admire the uniqueness and ambition but it doesn't always fulfil its potential. I believe there is a great classical album in Tori Amos, but this isn't quite it.
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on 24 September 2011
I'll start by saying that I'm one of those people that thinks "Little Earthquakes", "Under The Pink" and "Boys For Pele" (her first three albums) are Tori's best albums. Even though the albums released after them are all beautiful in their own way, I don't believe any of them had the same level of passion, intensity, and beauty of those first three albums...

Many people are saying that this album is a "return to form" and comparing it to the first three albums, "Under The Pink" in particular. I've been listening to "Night of Hunters" for a few days now - I resisted the urge to write a review after the first listen, I think it's better to let the album sink in a bit first...

So, is this album the much anticipated "return to form"? My answer would be yes and no. The instrumentation, like the first three albums, is absolute perfection. Even though there are no guitars, drums, or percussive instruments (other than piano of course) the album is rich and full in sound (please don't let the acoustic label put you off). The atmosphere Tori has created is intense, moody, and very dark, which, I believe is a return to form in a way. The piano is finally back and she's playing it in a way I've been wanting to hear again for a long time. Just listen to 4:06 into "Star Whisperer", or 2:44 into "Edge of the Moon" and you'll see exactly why people are comparing this album to "Under The Pink". With this album, Tori has decided not to allow the vocals to suffocate the songs - we are frequently treated to a few minutes of no vocals, just the piano, strings and other instruments swirling around and creating a magical and enchanting atmosphere (which is also a characteristic shared with "Under The Pink"). It's nice to have an instrumental track, "Seven Sisters", while very short, really is quite beautiful... The strong classical influences mean that the structure of these songs is different to what we've been hearing from Tori for the past many years, and again more in common with the first three albums, and I believe this is a very good thing. I enjoy this album more than any of the albums Tori released after "Boys For Pele".

Where this album is not a return to form is the vocals... Over the years, Tori's voice has changed quite a lot, and so has the phrasing of her words. Many, myself included, have complained about THAT strange new accent she's been singing in for a while now. Her vocals also seem to have lost much of the passion and intensity that she used to have. This was the only initial disappointment I had when listening to this album. One thing we must remember though, is that Tori's life has obviously changed since the early days in her career. I think she was a very frustrated, possibly depressed, woman when she was making her best music - she has been in a relationship for a long time now, she has a daughter, and she seems very happy these days. After listening to the album a few times, and allowing myself to warm to the vocals, I realise that her voice is still very beautiful and there is much passion, just passion of a different kind. Her vocals on this album are actually in better form than they have been for the past 6 years or so. The choice to include her daughter's vocals is an interesting one, and I don't think it was bad idea. They provide an interesting contrast to Tori's vocals and I believe they work together quite well.

Overall, I think that, whether it's the anticipated "return to form" many have been waiting for or not, "Night of Hunters" is an original, complex, and immensely beautiful album that deserves to be heard without being compared to earlier albums. It may not be to everybody's liking, and certainly requires an open mind. It also may take a while to "sink in" (as many of the best albums do), but once it does it's worth the effort. For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, I think the change of seasons will help many to appreciate the album more. It's moody and dark atmosphere make this an album to listen to in the Autumn or Winter, preferably at night.
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on 20 January 2012
Will all the rubbish you hear these days, I thought I'd revisit Tori Amos.
I was a fan a few years ago but kind of moved away, but decided to give this a listen as I was intrigued by the reviews and the unusual (at least in my opinion) approach that seemed to have been taken with this album.
It literally took me one listen and I was completely hooked.
I find this a total delight from the first note to the last. What a wonderful, uplifting piece of work this is.
Fabulous musicianship, tremendous melodies and structures. I actually got the Sin Palabras version too, but that's not to say the vocals from Tori and her niece and daughter aren't enchanting.
You probably guessed I completely love this :) If you like Tori Amos get it now, if you're not sure, get it anyway and prepare to become a fan!
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on 10 October 2011
I was very much looking forward to purchasing "Night Of Hunters", Tori Amos' 12th studio album, as it is an acoustic set, comprising of 14 tracks accompanied by piano and orchestra. I was also a little apprehensive as Tori has been somewhat more reserved and less experimental and daring in her song choices over the past 10 years, possibly due to the fact that she has now discovered motherhood and is more conscious of her image. However, this release is in no way disappointing and is a very interesting concept, with some lovely classical arrangements and solid songwriting.

"Shattering Sea" is a beautifully crafted piece of work, with a distinctively dark and eerie Tori feel to it. "Battle Of The Trees" is an intriguing and captivating song with subtle yet creative arrangements. "Fearlessness" has a soothing quality to it with a very beautiful melody and fantastic piano playing by the ever so talented Tori. "Star Whisperer" is both dark and dramatic with very moving and varied orchestral arrangements. "Nautical Twilight" is very pleasant and "Your Ghost" is very romantic. "The Edge Of The Moon" is pleasant, but gets more exciting as it builds up into a faster paced song. "Seven Sisters" is a very beautiful instrumental track. But the best track on this album is the final track "Carry" as it is gentle yet powerful, as well as passionate and daring.

There are 4 tracks that feature her daughter, Natashya. She has a very pleasant soft voice, which blends with Tori's much more mature and plaintive vocals. Their collaboration works well on all of the interesting tracks they duet on, "Snowblind", "Cactus Practice", and especially well on the quirky sounding "Jobs Coffin" and the magical "The Chase". Her niece Kelsey features on "Night Of Hunters" and she has a very interesting tone which works with the traditional folk influence on this track.

"Night Of Hunters" is very beautiful and perfectly arranged. Her best albums have always had a mixture of piano and orchestra led tracks alongside more rythmic arrangements. Nevertheless, this album is worthy of 4 stars and yet again demonstrates how Tori Amos is able to reinvent herself as a credible and accomplished artist.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 16 January 2017
Tori Amos is a musician and performer I have really loved for many years, but have to confess that I haven't exactly loved everything she has ever released as her career is full of peaks and troughs (although I think there are way more highs than lows) and some of her albums are easier to love than others. Night Of Hunters is a piece of work based on classical variations of pieces by composers such as Bach, Schubert, Chopin, Debussy and more; simply put, she has taken many classical pieces and written lyrics and melodies based on that particular theme. With an often sparse backing of piano and an octet of orchestral instruments (strings and woodwind), much of the album is carried, quite ably, by Tori's vocals (and also those of her then ten-year old daughter Natashya) and, whilst this is a much more demanding album to listen to and attempt to follow than some of her more straight-forward records, it has a wintry, fragile beauty throughout. The more time you to really get to know this music, the more likely you are to gain appreciation and enjoyment from it.

To call Night Of Hunters a concept album is a bit of an understatement. At the time of release, Amos wrote a lengthy essay on her website to explain the concept, song-by-song, so that listeners would be able to understand the project completely. I haven't read it, personally, because it seems tantamount to having the complete plot of a film explained to you before you've watched it. However, a brief synopsis of the album that Amos plays a character who is at the end of a dying relationship and, overnight, she experiences an initiation which leads her to reinvent herself. If you think that sounds quite flowery and arty, then you'd be right. This is a challenging, densely-layered piece of work that will probably appeal most to those who favour both classical music and classic literature with a fantastical bent.

The music is superb and sublimely performed by extremely able musicians, but the story isn't easy to follow with any great deal of coherence. A lot of love and effort has been put into the presentation of the album, and the edition I have, with hardback, book-like CD packaging, has full lyrics and plenty of photographs of Tori and her daughter in character. I wish I could say that reading the lyrics along with the music helped me follow the story any more than simply listening to the aural content, but I can't honestly say that it did. It's certainly all very interesting and entertaining, though. In terms of scope, vision and ambition, it could be said that Night Of Hunters is one of Tori Amos' very best albums, but I fully accept that it isn't going to be for everybody. If you wanted to start with one song to get a taste of the album, I think the most accessible and easily enjoyable track is Cactus Practice, but – really – don't expect to completely understand the lyrics.

Despite owning this album since it was released in 2011, I had never watched the DVD before so, after listening to the album a few times, I sat down to watch the visual content. First of all, there is a fifteen minute documentary where Tori explains the story behind the album. It's a little dry, but watching it gave me a greater understanding of the project and the huge amount of thought and work behind it. There are also music videos for Carry and Nautical Twilight (the shots of Tori at the piano are much more successful than the slightly pretentious outside shots, reminding me of just how astonishing her musical ability is), of which my personal preference would be the latter. The entire length of the DVD isn't more than twenty-five minutes, so it's a little light on content, but it provides a pleasant supplement to the main album.
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on 19 April 2013
Tori returns to her classical roots to adapt existing pieces. The storyline of the album is about a woman in marital difficulty, who goes on a journey of discovery. This is not 'Human Remains - the Musical', though (much as I'd like to have heard Tori sing Les's songs from that series, especially No Peas In Barcelona!). It's more fantastical than that. She meets up with a shapeshifting fox whose vocals are sung by Tori's daughter Tash Hawley. She's got that kind of voice that is halfway between child and woman, and Job's Coffin is her best song. The worst is Cactus Practice where 'let's partake of the Cactus Practice' is repeated so often I think 'Just drink the thing, okay?'

I also like 'Battle Of Trees', a song based on a Satie tune that Steve & John Hackett also did in guitar and flute form on the 'Sketches Of Satie' album.

Karyn Dobyns plays another character and has a high warble that reminds me of Daniel Gildenlow's contributions to Transatlantic on their tour DVDs.
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on 16 July 2014
I've been postponing the purchase of this album and hesitating to give it a listen for a very long time, and I couldn't be more sorry. It is pure gold, a musical masterpiece and in my humble opinion - it should be in every music lover's collection. The album should be listened to as a whole for the first few times and experienced and understood as it was meant to be by the genius Tori. It's only after that that a single song functions and sets in on its own. I am going to enjoy this for a very long time.
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on 23 September 2011
Having been a fan since Little Earthquakes a new release from Tori is always a bit of an event for me so I was really looking forward to Night of Hunters.
I am pleased to say I was not disappointed!

First of all the length of the album; there are 14 tracks on NoH which is plenty; the one complaint I've had about some of Tori's past releases was that they were just too long.

The stand-out tracks for me are Shattering Sea, Job's Coffin, Nautical Twilight, Your Ghost, the title track and the lush and lovely Carry, which I have already decided to have played at my funeral! Tori's vocals are crisp and clear, the orchestration is stunning and the piano has definitely made a welcome return.

The duets between Tori and her daughter are lovely, the contrast between their vocals is striking and really works.

The only track that I didn't like was Battle of Trees; it's just a bit too long and doesn't really go anywhere.

I love the way the whole thing is packaged, like a book, with some beautiful imagery and photo's of Tori inside and on the front. The DVD is a nice little addition, with Tori talking about the concept of the album and footage of the photo shoots for the albums pictures.

I can't wait to curl up on the sofa on a dark, miserable day and put this album on full blast; it has that kind of dark, dramatic, windswept feel about it.

If you are a Tori fan you won't be disappointed. If you aren't a Tori fan give it a go anyway, especially if you love classical music.
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on 22 September 2011
When I first wrote this review, I said I was a bit disappointed and gave the album 3/5. I said it wasn't really my thing and I couldn't get into it. I also mentioned if I changed my mind I'd come back and edit this review. But I didn't think I would. Boy, was I wrong! This album has since grown on me and my liking for it has increased exponentially. It is just an amazing work of art by an artist who still has a lot of talent, and is not afraid to try new styles, always increasing her creative output, unafraid to take risks. Part of the reason I started to like the album more was I started to listen to it a lot at work ... powerful but also comforting, it was the perfect CD to accompany my work. Then I went to see Tori live in Dublin and hearing her perform tracks from this live, complete with accompanying classical musicians, continued to increase my love for this album. I still don't like it quite as much as earlier to mid Tori ("Boys For Pele" is my favourite) but I love it very much, and I highly recommend it. My favourite tracks include "Star Whisperer" and "Your Ghost". If you're anything like me, it might take you a while to get into this, but stick with it, as - trust me - it pays off, and really grows on you over time.

4.5/5
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