First up are POEM who’s second album Skein Syndrome has been on constant play with me for some time now, so I had really been looking forward to seeing them. Their particular brand of Metal is definitely very much on the progressive side of things but the vocals and guitar work can come out of left field at times lending an alternative almost indie feel at times, quite dark and moody and tonight they inform us that this is their very first European Tour. Tonight’s set comes completely from the new album, showcasing five of the seven songs in fact, kicking off with the excellent “Passive Observer” and it has to be said that as with the rest of the bands everything sounds excellent tonight, which is so important for any technical music.
The band has managed to play the album practically note for note as the album listens, and although for some that doesn’t work, it always impresses me with music in this genre, you do lose a little bit from the warmth of a more frenetic live show, but it works with what they do, I really could see them straight away on a Prog Festival Bill and they would be lapped up. The reaction of the audience tonight is very good, you can never be sure how well this style will go down in Dublin, it’s not like we have many bands in this genre visit our shores, but maybe that will start to change. Really enjoyable set ending on possibly their most upbeat track “Remission Of Breath”, George, Laurence, Stratos and Stavros all bring something to the show and I’d definitely look forward to seeing them again and seeing how they develop their sound for album number three.
Remission Of Breath
Dutch purveyors of progressive technical death metal Textures are up next, yes that was a bit of a mouthful, but it’s very hard to pigeon hole the band, they have experimented with many styles and sounds over the years, which is no bad thing, but as with what is being displayed in the set tonight the most powerful music for me is in their heavier moments. When at their more aggressive best they really are a wonderful band to watch, now don’t get me wrong there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the rest of their music, just that the heavier end resonates more with me. Tonight we get a good mix from the crushing opener “Oceans Collide” to slower more accessible “Awake” and much in between.
One thing is for sure there is absolutely no doubting the quality of this band when you watch them play, they are currently Touring in support of there brand new album ‘Phenotype’ and that’s where the majority of tonight’s material comes from, and that again is no bad thing as it’s an extremely good album that offers enough variation in style to give you a really good idea of what the band are all about. There are times where you wonder do they need keyboards in there, but when you listen closely to the more intricate pieces woven around the controlled chaos it all makes so much sense, “Illuminate The Trail” from the new album is a perfect example, there’s just so much in that song it’s hard to pick the pieces out.
Tonight it’s great to hear the tones of both guitarists so clearly identifiable, the band often wanders off in a meandering stream of Prog, and it just works for them, I really don’t think there are too many bands out there that can mix so many styles and influences in their music and still be able to produce this kind of thing in a Live environment, and as this set moves along the crowd is getting bigger and more people are getting into the music too. Nice to hear “Singularity” from 2011’s ‘Dualism’ album get an airing and it sounds bigger and badder live, there are times when you are thinking these guys are just so heavy but the amount of subtleties everywhere is amazing.
One of the best things about a night like tonight is that you aren’t focused on one member of a band, there’s stuff going on all over the stage, Daniel de Jongh is another superb front-man, his vocals flip between beastly and just classy clean in an instant. This is a terrific performance from all involved, absolutely loved Stef Broks drumming, great style and presence. Hopefully we will get Textures back to visit us soon as on this showing they will be very welcome.
Shaping A Single Grain Of Sand
Illuminate The Trail
Laments Of An Icarus
There is definitely a buzz in the venue as the time approaches for the headliners to take to the stage, there is always something special about a band playing Dublin for the first time, and although the venue isn’t full to the brim tonight there is a very healthy crowd for a Sunday night. With anticipation building as the band takes their places that feeling settles in your head that this is going to be that little bit special.
There was always going to be a healthy portion of the set donated to airing tracks from last years excellent “Under The Red Cloud” album, and tonight we get a total of five to check out in a live scenario and they all sound great, the set is very well balanced from the early days right through, and right from the start Tomi Joutsen’s Vocals stand out, excellent right to the very end be it clean or growl in style he is a top notch front-man, we have people singing, a moshpit, many raised arms all over the floor. Starting with three tracks from ‘Under The Red Cloud’ we can see from the start that the new music fits in so well, and sounds great live.
These Finnish Legends are simply a joy to watch, and one of those few bands in this day and age where you attention is constantly drawn to different members during each song. It’s awesome to get to hear tracks from the early albums such as “Drowned Maid” from 1994’s Tales From The Thousand Lakes and a couple from the legendary Elegy album “On Rich And Poor” & “My Kantele”, and it’s brilliant to hear these songs still sounding so fresh and vibrant played live. Esa and Tomi on guitars are superb throughout, even with Tomi dancing in and out of the darkness, along with the other members of the band, Jan’s pounding drumming again is a feature of the performance, there really is so little to be able to criticise, the sound is excellent from where I’m standing, and as always it’s brilliant to hear twin guitars with harmonies sounding like they should.
There are many highlights in tonight’s set but it’s hard to tear your mind away from the three song encore of “Death Of A King” from the new album, with it’s middle eastern accents, “Silver Bride” mixed in with the wonderful “Silver Bride” from the ‘Skyforger’ album and finishing up with a superb version of “The Smoke” which encapsulates everything Amorphis do in one track, light and heavy, clean and dark, just a great track. Having said that there’s not a filler in the set, you can honestly look everywhere and find a standout, “House Of Sleep” being a particular favourite for me, it has a slightly Gothic feel but slams right into my face and it’s elevated when played live.
Why they have not been here before is an irrelevance, we need them back here again as soon as we can, they are a stunning live band and appeared to have a blast performing for us for the very first time. We really are being blessed with excellent shows in Dublin so far this year and long may it continue, but this performance from Amorphis could well stay in the top rankings of the Best Of 2016.
Under The Red Cloud
Sky Is Mine
On Rich And Poor
The Four Wise Ones
House Of Sleep
Death Of A King
Words – Stephen Brophy
Photography – Down The Barrel Photography
© OVERDRIVE 2016
AMORPHIS BUTTON FACTORY 20/03/16 GALLERY