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Road Reports

Artist: Amorphis
Venue: B.B. King Blues Club - NYC
Opener: Into Eternity, Beyond The Embrace
Date: 3-20-2005

Finnish legends Amorphis returned to New York City for one show to support their latest release entitled “Far From The Sun”. This release on Nuclear Blast Records finds the band with a new lead singer and an entirely different approach to their brand of metal. When one looks at band tour schedules, you will see that B.B. King Blues Club seems to be getting every single metal act that is on the road. It’s pretty interesting touring nowadays. I think I have been to this venue over a dozen times to cover shows and it does not seem to have a slow down yet. Always a good thing to have one venue at least you can trust to bring you the latest and greatest in Heavy Metal performances.

This was definitely set to be a concert to remember for not only was Amorphis returning to the States, but they were bringing with them Into Eternity and Beyond The Embrace. Also performing that evening were two smaller bands who I did not catch or remember their name for this review. Kicking off the portion of the event that I saw would be Into Eternity. This band is awesome and takes the progressive feel of Dream Theatre and Yes and mixes it with their own brand of heaviness. They showcased a lot of material from their incredible release “Buried By Oblivion” which is available on Century Media Records. If you are a fan of Progressive riffing metal, do yourself a favor and buy this CD. You will not be disappointed.

Next up would be “Beyond The Embrace”, one of the key players in the Metal Blade artist roster. To best describe these guys would have to be this way. The band reminded me of Metallica when they were good. Now without offering any disrespect, I mean this in the fashion that the band was powerful, intelligent and very hungry to offer you quality metal above all else. The majority of their set was comprised of tracks from their 2004 release “Insect Song” (another worthy piece of metal). The great thing about these three groups in the lineup was that each offered the attendee something different and you left hungry for more and not bored. This was a smart move if you asked me. When I returned home I listened to all three of these releases.

Amorphis was up next and when they hit the stage the venue was at its largest in audience level. Given that this was the first return for the band in a couple of years I was surprised that the show had not sold out. People were still able to get tickets up until Amorphis performance time. The return of the band would have a major difference to the audience, for lead singer Pasi Koskinen has left and was replaced by Tomi Joutsen. He did a terrific job on the older material as well as the new. The remaining lineup is exactly the same as on the recording, and believe me they played their hearts out. The set did include more older stuff than the new and I have not followed them for enough time to be totally up to speed with it. However, the audience jumped and raged from the floor and from this vantage point I was able to get some killer shots of the band. As I mentioned the new CD is quite the departure from the efforts they had done previously, some fans seemed annoyed that it was not crazy heavy but after seeing Tomi sing the older tunes looked to have been won over. I think I was able to capture the set list correctly, but apologize if a minor error or two exists. I was told they were doing the same set night after night as well. I enjoyed the entire evening and look very forward to seeing these bands once again if not together then as solo performances. I advise you to do the same.

Set List:
1. Greed
2. Against Widows
3. The Castaway
4. Goddess (Of The Sad Man)
5. Day Of Your Beliefs
6. Far From The Sun
7. Alone
8. On Rich And Poor
9. Drowned Maid
10. Divinity
11. Summer’s End
12. Sign From The North Side
13. My Kantele
14. The Way

Official Websites:

--Ken Pierce

Amorphis @ The Downtown - Farmingdale, NY – 03.30.05

I walked into this show not really knowing what to expect. I had never heard new vocalist Tomi Joutsen sing before. I didn’t know if he could growl or not. I wondered if they would play only their newer stuff or throw in some of their amazing old songs off of “Tales From The Thousand Lakes” and “Elegy.” Opening up the show were Thornefiction, Sinaria, Beyond the Embrace, and Single Bullet Theory. None of these bands really interested me and I hung back for the most part, not paying much attention. Into Eternity were also supposed to play but dropped off the tour when two band members fell sick.

The crowd turnout for this show wasn’t great. At about 9:30, when all the openers had finished, the club was maybe a third of the way full. Most of the people were at the bar or in the back for the openers, and so when they were done it wasn’t difficult to get a spot right in front for Amorphis. After about twenty minutes of waiting, they came out and started the show with the track “Greed” off of Tuonela. I was pleasantly surprised with the new vocalist. He could both sing and growl very nicely. Due to this, they were able to play a great variety of tracks from the old (where growls were more prevalent) and new albums. Tomi was constantly moving around and got the crowd energy high. The rest of the band was great at interacting with the crowd too – bassist Niclas Etelävuori and guitarist Tomi Koivusaari came around and slapped hands with everyone in front a few times.

There were, however, a few things that could’ve been done better. First, every song was played very guitar heavy, not just the ones that appear that way on the albums. As a result, the keyboard was sometimes drowned out, like on Divinity. This wasn’t a huge deal, but I was a bit disappointed not to be able to hear a few Santeri Kallio solos. On the first few songs, the mic volume seemed to be a little too low and it was tough to hear Tomi, but that was eventually sorted out. Aside from those two little things, Amorphis’ performance was stellar.

After the show, most of the people cleared out but a few, including me, stuck around. This ended up being a good idea, since a few band members came out to the bar and socialized a bit, chatting with fans and signing autographs. I talked very briefly with Niclas and got his autograph. I left the building feeling a bit worn out but very satisfied with the excellent concert.

Amorphis’ set looked something like this, but it’s not in perfect order.

Against Widows
Goddess of the Sad Man
Day of Your Beliefs
The Castaway
Far From the Sun
Drowned Maid
On Rich and Poor
Summers End
Sign From the North Side
My Kantele


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