Date: March 20th, 2016
Venue: The Button Factory, Dublin
Line-up: Amorphis + Textures + Poem
Finnish progressive metal giants Amorphis have been a much requested act by many (myself included) for many years now. This year finally the marks the Finn’s first visit to Ireland in their 20+ year long career. Tonight they’re supporting their 12th album, the phenomenal Under the Red Cloud, alongside their classic tracks.
Opening the show were alternative metallers Poem, a young bunch of enthusiastic musicians from Greece. Vocalist George Prokopiuo explained the band’s excitement in playing their first European tour and wished that everyone would enjoy themselves. Their set was largely made up of material from the new album Skein Syndrome; their sound being equal parts melodic and heavy at times. George’s vocals were seriously impressive, giving it his all with a smooth soaring voice despite some problems with the microphone.
Also playing their first ever Irish show tonight were progressive/math metal group Textures. Rarely have I seen a band who loves what they’re doing as much as these guys, hyping each other up with high-fives before they’d even started playing. They were smiles all round, in particular bassist Remko Tielemans jumping around the stage and keyboardist Uri Dijk who was screaming all the words. Daniël de Jongh was a force to be heard, his screams were loud and forceful and his cleans were cool and confident. With a brilliant new album under the belts, Phenotype, they were keen to show off the new material. The highlight of the set was most certainly the gorgeous “Zman” which gave Uri his moment in the spotlight, giving a little cheeky smirk when the crowd started to cheer, and its follow-up “Timeless”.
It was finally the time for Amorphis to take to the stage with the crowd clamouring in anticipation of their arrival. They opened their set with a heavy dose of new material from their latest album Under the Red Cloud, “Sacrifice” sounded huge and as catchy as ever but also “Bad Blood” and “The Four Wise Ones” were on the other end of the scale highlighting how aggressive and heavy the band can get.
Vocalist Tomi Joutsen is already renowned as one of the best vocalists in modern metal but his live performance is on another level completely, sounding even better than on record which is an incredible feat. For this tour Tomi is also sporting a new microphone, already known for using an old fashioned mic, this new stand was heavily inspired by steampunk and various mechanisms.
With keyboards featured so predominantly in Amorphis’s sound, it was no surprise to see Santeri Kallio set up with three of them. Together with lead guitarist Esa Holopainen, the pair flawlessly played the catchy leads of the newer material and their proggy solos. Nowhere was this better displayed than with “On Rich and Poor” from 1996’s Elegy and its infectious harmonised guitar and keyboard section mid-way through. A couple more older tracks found their way into the set, “Drowned Maid” saw guitarist and original lead vocalist Tomi Koivusaari providing deep gutturals to back up Tomi, and “My Kantele” gaining a well-deserved applause.
“House of Sleep” managed to garner a huge sing-along from the crowd with some encouragement from Tomi. Amorphis closed the show with three-hit killer of an encore, the new live favourite “Death of a King” and the always pleasing “Silver Bride” and “The Smoke”. With a powerhouse performance and warm crowd reaction, hopefully it’s not too long before we see them make a return to our shores.
Under the Red Cloud
Sky Is Mine
On Rich and Poor
The Four Wise Ones
House of Sleep
Death of a King