AMORPHIS – Oslo – Vulkan Arena
The pretty fresh booking agency Blastphemy Productions is pulling off some really cool concerts around Norway lately and you should check out their webpage for all the goodies they have in the bag for 2016. One of the events for March was having the Finns from Amorphis playing about 4 concerts in Norway, with Omnium Gatherum and Poem as support acts. The drawback was maybe the fact that it took place on a Tuesday and so we cannot talk about a packed venue, but all in all the atmosphere was pretty nice by the end of the evening, while the beginning was a rather shy one. But among the crowd and on stage, as Poem is a pretty young band who is about to release only their scond album and this was actually their first such big tour experience. Which one could see in their laid back and somehow shy stage attitude, but luckily they are very talented musicians who put together a really skillful mix of progressive tunes that give you a lot to watch out for during their performance. Even the music seems to have some sort of shy starts, but most songs end up developing into something very heavy and powerful, with a bunch of out of nowhere riffs and combinations, making it mandatory that you hear it a few times afterwards to figure out what just happened and how much effort might have been behind those gigantic arrangements. I would surely keep an eye on the soon to be released new album and hope that a bit more relaxation would make Poem worth of headlining their own tour. And eventually lose the hat worn indoor. Worst move a musician can make. There’s no bad hair day which is worse than wearing a hat.
Omnium Gatherum was a band who most of all impressed by the amount of good mood throughout the concert. The vocalist, Jukka Pelkonen, wouldn’t stand still for a second and would constantly try to get the crowd to clap or come closer to the stage or react to his actions and he didn’t give up despite the very very slow responses. I find that very surprising for a Scandinavian band. What I also found surprising was how…Finnish their music sounded. I knew the band by name but never got to hear them. And all I could think of during the concert was what part of their music makes them have this ‘Finnish’ sound. I cannot explain it, but it’s there all along their proggy death metal full of symphonic melodies, mad action on the frets and good vibes. But it was a bit of an overload at some point, so my brain decided to take a break from the music a bit before the concert ended and go out for some fresh air.
I got back just when the intro from the Amorphis gig was playing and then watch the band members enter the stage. I am not sure if I’ve ever seen Amorphis outside Finland, as I ended up seeing them on homeground quite a lot of times during my visits there. And most of the times it was one special occasion or the other which had them singing a lot of their ealier classics. Tonight was probably one of the first concerts where I actually wasn’t familiar with any of the songs – I just failed at listening the band’s latest releases. And this is the main reason I decided to check it out. The live presence was not at all disappointing as everyone in the band is quite a pro by now and can deliver in any kind of circumstances. Even when the microphone makes funny noises during the first few seconds and there’s no vocals for a little while, everyone else just goes on as normal.
"Under the red cloud" is the band’s latest release from 2015 and probably the main reason of this tour. Hence, there seems to be a good amount of songs chosen to represent it. I think the one I liked most was ‘The Four Wise Men’, which had a heavier vibe to it than the rest. Altogether it felt like a different band (from the other shows I’ve seen) with a familiar sound, as each songs somehow managed to point out some spot in the band history but it took it into a more modern direction. I surely have a lot of catch up to do in order to see if I get the same feeling on the albums or not. When they started the lovely riffs of My Kantele everything was a time travel and the whole peformance of this beautiful song reminded me what I was missing the most during the show until then: the growling. While I am not always a big fan of it, it was somehow missing. Everything else that’s beautiful with Amorphis seemed to be well in place, but the deep powerful growlings of their tiny singer were kinda missing. But then again, I guess this probably appeals to some other of their fans, so we just say this is a matter of taste.
All in all it was a nicely spent Tuesday afternoon and since the tour has just started, I highly recommend you go and catch up with it when they play in your area, since the lineup offer a good combo of 3 talented bands.