Live at The Roxy Theatre
West Hollywood, CA
October 10th, 2019
Review and photos by Travis Baumann
Finland produces many amazing bands and one of the finest graces our shores once again. Amorphis return to North America, touring in support of their latest album, the amazing "Queen of Time".
Amorphis are known for their moving compositions that relay tales often related to the folk lore of Finland in their signature style that blends melodic death metal, progressive folk metal, and more conventional rock and metal structures.
Key to their sound is Tomi Joutsen's amazing vocal talents, switching between beautiful and uplifting melodic vocals to harsh death metal growls as the story calls for. Joining him on stage are band-founders Esa Holopainen on lead guitar and Tomi Koivusaari on rhythm guitar.
Original bassist Olli-Pekka Laine came back into the fold in the last couple of years, Jan Rechberger is on the drums, and Santeri Kallio takes care of the keyboards and synths that layer in the massive atmosphere that makes up the Amorphis sound.
They kicked off their set with "The Bee" which likewise is the start of the "Queen of Time" release. As with all of their songs it features large lush compositions, epic thematic story telling that transverses the universe and existence, and Tomi's deep intense voice weaving the tale punctuated with his growled verse.
Giving us a second dose of "Queen of Time" right off the bat, they performed "The Golden Elk", another fantastic representation of folk legend and myth presented in unparalleled form. I love Amorphis's albums, but seeing and hearing them live is really a special experience. The flawless level of their musicianship is stellar, and Tomi's voice is impeccable.
They transversed back ten years to 2009's "Skyforger" album for the fan favorite "Silver Bride" which had everyone singing along. "The Four Wise Ones" came from 2015's "Under The Red Cloud" giving us a more recent song before Tomi introduced the next song as coming from one of their oldest releases, "Into Hiding" from "Tales From The Thousand Lakes".
I started listening to Amorphis with the release of the "Eclipse" album and love hearing anything off of it so I was particularly happy when they played one of my favorite selections, "The Smoke".
Moving back to "Queen of Time", they gave us two more in a row starting with the ballad-like "Wrong Direction" then followed up with "Heart of the Giant". Moving to another of their classic early albums, "Elegy" provided a staple of their set lists, "My Kantele".
Tomi said they were going to do another song from "Tales From The Thousand Lakes" album which drew a loud response from the audience. They did "Black Winter Day" which may be the most popular song from this album.
"Queen of Time" features the brilliant guest vocalist Anneke van Giersbergen on "Amongst Stars", and since she was playing as the opening act on the tour we were able to see her perform this live which was absolutely amazing.
Tomi said that they had hit the final song of the night but luckily they saved one of my all time favorite Amorphis songs to close out the set; "House of Sleep". A phenomenal song, it is one of the tracks I always recommend new listeners to as it has an epic story, a catchy powerful chorus, and is quite accessible to those not well versed in the more extreme vocal styles as he keeps it all on the melodic side for this one.
Once again, Amorphis blew me away live. The mood and vibe of the songs and the lyrical content are quite unlike anything else in the genre. A stand out band that really deserves everyone's attention. I am always astounded by how much great music comes out of Finland, and these guys stand at the top.
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