AMORPHIS (+ Poem, Textures)
Rescue Rooms, Nottingham
Returning last year with the incredible 'Under The Red Cloud', Finnish progressive metal outfit Amorphis showed that even after 25 years they are just as essential as ever. Cue a big European tour in support of the album and not only are the band proving they have what it takes in the studio, they're also blowing a host of imitators right off the stage as well.
The small but cosy Rescue Rooms plays host tonight with an early start to accommodate it's ludicrous 10pm curfew time. No sooner have the doors open than Greek progressive metal quintet Poem taking the stage a mere five minutes later. The band plough through a short but sweet set that balances technical prowess with soaring melodies and dashes of intense heaviness. It may not be as well-rounded as the headliner's sound but it is interesting nonetheless and the band receive a warm welcome from those already in the venue. It is just a shame they had to go on so early and only had 25 minutes on stage as they deserved more of an crowd.
Up next Textures hit the stage with their somewhat mad and frenetic blend of technical wizardry and sheer brutality. From the outset it is an all-out assault on the eardrums. Fast riffs, quick changes and heaps of groove are thrown around with impunity for convention. It can make them a little hard to take in in such an intimate environment, but they certainly bring an energetic extremity to the stage that pumps the growing crowd up more and more. With a little longer on stage the band can engage with the audience a little more and throughout the set they look like they are having an absolute blast. Having been around for fifteen years in their own right the band put on a tight and powerful performance worthy of any veteran act.
But tonight's main event is definitely Amorphis. The Finns pack a set with recent hits and find time for a few classic cuts as well. It is just one of those shows that will leave both old and new fans deeply satisfied. The band are tight and energetic from the word go as they launch into new cuts 'Under the Red Cloud' and 'Sacrifice'. Vocalist Tomi Joutsen sounds even better live than on the albums as he switches between death growls and clean vocals seemingly without any effort.
The band's technical ability and on-stage prowess is only surpassed by the crowd's growing frenzy as tracks such as 'The Wanderer', 'Dark Path', 'Silent Waters', 'My Kantele', and 'House Of Sleep' dominate the set list.
The band power through the set with only a small problem with Joutsen's custom steampunk microphone briefly holding things up. Luckily with the use of a spare mic the problem is quickly resolved without it impacting any of the songs.
For the band's encore a thunderous rendition of new track 'Death Of A King' welcomes the band back to the stage in epic fashion, proving that this will evermore have to be an encore track. Similarly epic renditions if 'The Silver Bride' and 'The Smoke' bring the evening to a close as the band bow an leave the stage proving once again they are one of European metal's strongest and most under-appreciated acts.