Amorphis - Avatarium
013 Timburg (NL) - 29 december 2014
In 1994 Amorphis released their groundbreaking ‘Tales From The Thousand Lakes’ CD. This former Death Metal band shook the foundations of the entire genre and opened the gates for a whole array of bands that adapted the atmospheric approach in their music. Suddenly keyboards and sampling became ok and the gothic and dark metal scene was born. In a way Amorphis can be seen as one of the founders of the entire folk metal scene as well since the folk elements in ‘Tales’ were so immensely prominent. The album took the headbanging part of the world by storm, including me. For me, ‘Tales’ is exactly that, one of those albums that create a new genre and open the eyes and minds of many people. I remember listening to the album for the first time and being blown away by it.
Now, twenty years later, the ‘scene’ wishes to celebrate this album and Amorphis, a band that is still going strong after all these years, style-adaptations and line-up changes, gladly picks up on the craze.
After all, for Amorphis this is a huge ‘Sales from the Thousand Lakes’. With tons of t-shirts, caps, cd’s, lp’s, patches and stickers sold, the Fins can easily build a brand new recording studio and still have money left to buy a tour van. But they truly deserve it. If a band manages to completely change and evolve an entire genre and bring joy to millions of people they deserve every single penny they get. Not only at the merchandise stand, but also in the audience were tons and tons of Amorphis shirts and other accessories. However, there were others as well, the weirdest one was a UB40 shirt, but then again, why not.
But before Amorphis would appear on stage, their support act Avatarium had the unfortunate opportunity to warm-up the audience. They did not succeed. Not that Avatarium is a bad band but their female fronted seventies doom was somehow misplaced on this evening. From a musical standpoint the Black Sabbath –like riffs were quite good but there were some serious issues. I don’t want to whine about street-credibility but vocalist Jennie-Ann somehow looked more like a possible candidate for ‘Sweden’s Got Talent’ than for a rock band. I don’t know if it was her attitude, her vocal abilities or the fact that nearly nobody in the audience was here to see Avatarium. By the end people were even shouting "boring". Now I know, the people shouting this were most likely narrow-minded morons who lacked every form of respect and should be lynched immediately but still, Avatarium didn’t make a good impression. They are just not the huge success they feel they are.
But all of this was quickly forgotten when the first notes of ‘Thousand Lakes’ started flowing through the speakers and the light shined on the immense ‘Black Winter Day’ backdrop. Suddenly the entire audience was back in the nineties, banging their head and loudly singing along with ‘Into Hiding’, ‘The Castaway’ and all the others. At first the volume seemed to be a bit too low but that too was quickly forgotten and the entire 013 was twenty years younger again. Amorphis played with such energy and enthusiasm, almost bringing a state of ecstasy to the audience. Some members of the audience left the venue when Amorphis digged even deeper into their past, playing 'Vulgar Necrolatry' from the Karelian Isthmus album. Apparently they didn’t really like the old school death metal but Amorphis proved that they can still change and shift their own music and make it sound fresh after all these years.
Amorphis performed on for a bit over ninety minutes, including several classics like ‘My Kantele’ and ‘Against Widows’ from the Elegy CD. Many songs, like ‘First Doom’, ‘To Father’s Cabin’ and ‘The Gathering’ were played for the first time since 1995 or even 1992, making this show extra special for all 2000 people in a packed 013. I for one enjoyed myself a lot, even though I lost track of Amorphis after the Elegy album. But now, I’m the twenty year old fan again with a new t-shirt and my very first army cap with a band logo on it. Evenings like these are nothing short of a huge throwback into ones youth when life was all about music and pleasure. I can only hope that more bands follow Amorphis’ example and embark on a twenty years anniversary tour. I can think of a few to bring us back into the golden years:
The Gathering – Mandylion: 1995
Samael – Passage: 1996
Anathema – The Silent Enigma: 1995 and Eternity : 1996
Cradle of Filth – Dusk and her Embrace: 1996
Therion – Theli: 1996
So if you get the chance to witness Amorphis on this tour, I can only recommend it. If anything, they proved that they’re still one of the leading metal bands from Finland and by the looks of it, they will maintain this status for a very, very long time.