Review By Alison Booth
I first discovered epic Finnish progressive metallers AMORPHIS back in the “Tuonela” days of 1999. They fast became one of my favourites and have always blown me away with their live performances. Moving forwards to the band’s 12th album release in 2015, “Under The Red Cloud”, it achieved impressive chart results all around the world, including their first ever entry in United Kingdom and Australia, as well as their highest ever entries in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands and France.
I last saw AMORPHIS at Bloodstock Open Air in 2013, so jumped at the opportunity to go and see my favourite Finns on the last date of their tour in Ireland and the UK at The Rescue Rooms in Nottingham. Prior to the show, I had interviews with Tomi from AMORPHIS and Uri from TEXTURES, so I just caught the end of opening band, Greek prog metallers POEM. I hadn’t heard them before and was impressed with what I saw – quality music with great stage presence, I look forward to hearing more.
After a short break, the next band on stage were modern prog metallers from the Netherlands, TEXTURES. I didn’t catch the whole performance but what I experienced was a great crowd pleasing show. The band were full of energy, delivering a finely honed and tight performance, featuring tracks from their new album “Phenotype”.
On to the main band of the night! The venue seemed to be pretty packed from my view at the front, with the crowd cheering for AMORPHIS to make their appearance, the stage adorned with the stunning album artwork on all sides. Each band member appeared on stage one after the other, accompanied by a prolonged introduction to ‘Under The Red Cloud’, which went down well with the Finn loving metal crowd! The opening three songs were all new and I’d been dying to hear them live, they didn’t disappoint! ‘Under The Red Cloud’, ‘Sacrifice’ and ‘Bad Blood’ set the tone for the next hour and a half, our eardrums were treated to the unique sound that makes AMORPHIS sound like nobody else in metal. Tomi Joutsen‘s vocals were on fine form, flowing effortlessly between clean singing and growls, he also worked the crowd like the pro that he is. Lead guitarist Esa Holopainen‘s solos sounded perfectly melodic, he really makes that guitar sing! It was great to hear, but unfortunate that I could barely see him from my left side of the stage surrounded by giants! It’s a shame the stage in this venue did not allow for Esa, Tomi Koivusaari and Niclas Etelävuori to move around and swap sides, but entirely understandable given the size and the fact there are six band members.
AMORPHIS, Nottingham 2016
With a catalogue of albums stretching back over 24 years, it must be get a little more difficult with each tour to choose set lists, but some great classics were played during the show. ‘Drowned Maid’ from the epic 1994 release “Tales From The Thousand Lakes” stood out for two reasons – it was great to hear the dual vocals between the two Tomi‘s, complementing each other well. The other was the slight hiccup whereby the custom microphone Tomi J uses had a technical hitch and he had to use a standard one, which worked perfectly but looked quite strange! Quite rightly, there was a large cheer from the crowd when he came back with the one we know and associate him with.
‘The Wanderer’ and ‘Hopeless Days’ from the last album release “Circle” sounded excellent, showcasing Santeri Kallio‘s atmospheric multi-layered keyboard sounds, along with the crowd’s fine voice during the choruses. The whole rhythm section of the band is a real powerhouse backdrop complementing Tomi‘s vocals and Jan Rechberger‘s precision drumming creates a commanding presence.
‘House Of Sleep’ from 2006’s “Eclipse” was a splendid close to the show before the encores. And what an encore it was! Starting with the new opus ‘Death Of A King’, this is already high up in my top AMORPHIS songs of all time. I never tire of listening to it and to see the track performed live was stunning. Followed by the equally excellent ‘Silver Bride’ and ‘The Smoke’ to round off the perfect metal night.
AMORPHIS – don’t leave it too long until you come back to see us in the UK!!
Under The Red Cloud
Sky Is Mine
On Rich And Poor
Four Wise Ones
House Of Sleep
Death Of A King
Our recent interview with Tomi Koivusaari can be found at this location. Check out some photos from the show on the slide show below.