Amorphis - LIVE: Islington Academy, London 2011

The Beginning of Times Tour
November 27
Capacity 800

Amorphis, to be fair, are a fairly dependable entity and in recent years have been pretty reliable as far as both albums and live appearances are concerned. They tour with a reasonable amount of regularity, consistently putting on solid shows. At the same time, however, Amorphis aren't exactly the most exciting proposition as far as live acts go. Certainly their albums are very intelligent, interesting and well executed, but they aren't really a band that people talk about when it comes to their actual shows. Still, their regular touring schedule does suggest that at the very least, people definitely care about seeing the band live.

A quiet Sunday meant that tonight's show had a fair but not overly crowded audience, just about the right amount of people for the Islington Academy to feel busy but not suffocating (as is the case when the venue is sold out). Unfortunately the usual good standards of sound quality seem to have let support band Leprous down. Whilst the Norwegian proggers are full of energy, and their music itself incredibly creative, the guitars sounded alarmingly quiet. Compared to their immense set supporting Therion in '10, they proved slightly disappointing.

Still, sound issues eased out for the headline act. Opening up with new song Song of The Sage, attention quickly turned to the band's singer, the incredible Tomi Joutsen. It is sometimes easy to forget the singer isn't actually an original member of the band, given how the singer's voice, look and presence has become synonymous with the band's current image. Wielding an enormous steam-punk-esque microphone stand that would make Blackie Lawless jealous, and flailing an impressively large head of dreadlocks, Tomi has the onstage presence to match his deep but wide-ranging vocal style.

Unfortunately the rest of the band did not seem all that exciting. Certainly everything the band played was perfectly executed, but outside of their singer the band don't quite have the same life and charisma. Thankfully this is made up for by a career-encompassing setlist that covers not only popular recent albums The Beginning of Times, Skyforger and Eclipse, but also delves deep into the band's history, performing songs from the band's very early albums – including a particularly fierce version of Vulgar Necrolatry. There's a bit of tongue in cheek behaviour too, such as ad-libbing a bit of Rammstein's Pussy before a song.

Mostly though Amorphis are entertaining but not quite unmissable. Very few would disagree that Amorphis played a tight set of great songs, but at the same time there was that missing spark that could make them something really special. They certainly have a tremendous frontman – but it will really take more than that for them to elevate further. A live band for their eager fans only then perhaps – but given the high quality of their music, there's certainly enough of them.

“ a career-encompassing setlist ”

Setlist: Song of The Sage / My Enemy / The Smoke / Against Widows / Alone / You I Need / Sampo / Vulgar Necrolatry / Into Hiding / Crack In A Stone / Sky Is Mine / Black Winter Day // Silver Bride / My Kantele / House of Sleep

Photo(s): Andy Lye

Written by James Donovan
More: 2011, Gigs, Heavy Metal,

More News

Demons & Wizards London setlistAlien Weaponry London setlistLast In Line London setlistDiamond Head London setlistRyan McCombs London setlistDark Blue Inc. Cologne setlistEnd of Green Cologne setlistAt The Gates Roadburn setlistPrimal Fear tour 2019Triptykon Roadburn setlist


A yearly calendar of the concerts and festivals Jukebox:Metal plan to attend and/or review. Updated regularly with new shows and review/setlist links. Click here.


Subscribe to the Jukebox:Metal Dispatches RSS news feed or click here for more info