Something in my deep memory makes me think I've seen Amorphis before but I think it's just some kind of lapse and this is indeed or was the first time I have seen the Finnish masters of all things dark and melodic.
Actually to say I'm a fan of the band would probably be a bit of stretch. They make pleasantly melodic and haunting music with a typically Finnish dark atmosphere which can please the soul. I don't own a single Amorphis album although I did own Elegy way back but decided I don't need it and guess I got rid of it in a trade or something many moons ago. Their recent output is much much stronger in my opinion. Their song writing is much more memorable and the melodies wash over you in a grand manner. Anyway I'm wandering again so to get back on track, the Islington Academy was filling up nicely as I walked in and the first band was already lining up to play their first song.
It turns out they were a Greek band by the name of Poem. Their music wasn't exactly poetry to my ears though! They were basically a slightly progressive modern metal band from the new school of all things Djent. Now the modern djent movement is one that I steer well clear of in the main. Sometimes I'll hear a riff that will pique interest and then soon enough the same grooving staccato patterns emerge and I'm like get me outta here! Anyway Poem were OK. The singer/guitarist's voice was a sort of crooning affair although it was very hard to hear the vocals as he was pretty buried in the mix. His melodies seemed a bit different than the usual Djent style and he didn't resort to screaming much at all apart from the odd line or word. Musically the band was a bit oddball. They had sort of melancholic parts and heavier sections of grooving before doing the regular djent thing going on with a slamming riff taking off. The drummer was louder than everything else pretty much as I recall. Not a terrible support and I've heard worse but not my cupa.
Next up were true believers of the Djent scene in Dutch band Textures. These guys played at colossal volume. The bass guitarist was especially reaching rib cage crushing levels. Textures are a completely typical Djent band. They play that jigga jigga jahhhhhhhhh riff style relentlessly with synchronized stage moves by the two guitarists and the bass player whilst the singer switches between staccatto screams and fluid cleans. The clean vocal parts are rather pleasant it must be said but soon the jarring riff technique soon reappears and we are back in full Djent mode. Some people seemed to enjoy them a lot and others who were there for Amorphis where I'm sure pretty non-plussed by them. Personally I find them cool to watch and they are way into their music whilst they are playing it, so it's cool to see them enjoying themselves. But that joy doesn't pass on to my ears unfortunately. Maybe I'm just too fucking old to get it really I don't know!
Finally at close to 9.30 or slightly before it was finally time for the Finnish warriors to take to the stage. They seemed to get a hero's welcome as they took their positions. Front man Tommy came on and I thought he was gonna be much bigger and taller than he turned out to be. He was quite a wiry smallish dude but with a fearsome roar on the growls and a handsome croon on the cleans. My problem is that whilst I'm listening to Amorphis I can enjoy it but I don't really know a single song of theirs from memory, not even their biggest hit or most well known song. But plenty of people did and were soon singing along to the melodic sections. I must admit that Amorphis sounded really tight and good, like a well oiled machine.
Unfortunately the sound wasn't really that great from my vantage point on the right side. I would've preferred to be more centrally positioned as I normally am to get a better balance, but the venue was pretty damn packed by the time they came on so moving around wasn't really a possibility.
Like I said I couldn't tell you what song is what in an Amorphis set but each song had something pretty cool about it although a couple of times I got slightly bored as songs tended to bleed into one another and sound samey. However the song The Wanderer stood out more than others as I recall. On Rich and Poor was also musically very melodic and enjoyable. House of Sleep closed the main set and also seemed to be a huge crowd favourite with mass sing along
After returning for the encore they played three more songs and left at dead on 11 to rapturous applause from the packed crowd. So I've finally seen Amorphis and it's another band to chalk off the list but the gig was merely good and not amazing and I'm not convinced to see them again should the opportunity arise.
Under the Red Cloud
Sky Is Mine
On Rich and Poor
The Four Wise Ones
House of Sleep
Death of a King