To start a new year with an AMORPHIS concert can never be wrong. In 2014 we finished a year with an AMORPHIS show on New Year’s Eve and it was awesome. So, the next level would be a double show to welcome a new year. Ok, daydreams aside… let’s talk about the current tour that is about to start on this Friday. Nuclear Blast has tied an excellent package together, stylistically varied and with a lot of new material. Also JINJER (as the only non-label band) is perfectly prepared and has just released a new EP containing all new songs. So we have three bands with new releases all out on this Friday and the headlining band, AMORPHIS, who have unleashed their Queen Of Time in May last year but did not tour in Europe with the new album yet.
How attractive this tour packages is many sold out shows prove. And so was tonight’s kick-off at :: Turbinenhalle 2 ::. At an early hour 1600 fans queued around the parking area. Seems like the first tour day had its problems as the doors should have been opened by the time I arrived. Good news: all bands were already there but the entire timetable was pushed back a half hour. This leads to a recurrent problem with the Turbinenhalle: it has a disastrous organization. The owner always tries to squeeze a maximum of money out of the fans with a minimum effort (token system, no communication about delays, long waiting times at doors and bars and closed doors at a sold out show - is that actually allowed? I mean, fire safety?). Many fans were really pissed about tonight’s conditions. Oh, and then the merchandise: same pricing for all bands, a hoodie for 50 Euro? WTF?
:: pics :: NAILED TO OBSCURITY ::
Of course, it is the opening band that falls victim to such organizational disaster first. Tonight it was :: NAILED TO OBSCURITY ::. Against the made announcement of a 30 minutes delay for all parts and bands of tonight’s concert evening, NAILED TO OBSCURITY had to enter the stage only 13 minutes after its original schedule with the doors just being opened. The German Death/Doom metallers kicked off their show and the tour in an almost empty hall. Luckily, the band took it professional. No angry attitude. Bathed in deep blue light they instead immersed in contemplative melancholy. NAILED TO OBSCURITY started with the title track of their brand new album, Black Forest, which was just released on this day. Wonderful melodies melted with progressive finesse and heavy riffwork. Paradise Lost as well as Opeth have left a hearable impact. The clean singing of Raimund Ennenga was lacking a bit of power and volume, especially at Tears Of The Eyeless. This might have been due to the unbalanced sound. There was some insecurity to sense out on stage, but it is the first day of the tour, so everything will change to the better from now on ;) Great show.
Setlist: Black Frost, Feardom, The Aberrant Host, Tears Of The Eyeless, Desolate Ruin
:: pics :: JINJER ::
Next up is :: JINJER ::, who completely changed the equipment. And that took its time. I actually missed them one year ago supporting Arch Enemy. Same place, same organizational disaster. Second chance and my first date with those Ukrainian Metalcore shooting stars. I was surprised by the huge and responsive fanbase here. Even a Ukrainian flag was raised and whirled around. I would say, their label, Napalm Records, does a good job to book them on all of those prestigious tours. JINJER meanwhile did not perform that wild. It seems like they haven’t fully arrived yet. The curse of the first day on tour. Anyway, the sound remained unbalanced and lights disappeared in smoke (what lights?). So, visually the show was not really an eye-catcher. Technically, however, the guys were top-notch! Highly skilled and talented JINJER delivered a wild mix of Metal, Progressive, Core, Djent and some crazy Reggae rhythms. That was pretty rad! JINJER focused on their just released EP Micro and their latest full-length King Of Everything. With the high-speed Sit Stay Roll Over and a Reggae outro they finished their set short and crisp.
Setlist: Words Of Wisdom, Ape, I Speak Astronomy, Dreadful Moments, Teacher, Teacher, Who's Gonna Be The One, Pisces, Perennial, Sit Stay Roll Over
:: pics :: SOILWORK ::
Anticipation rose. I like :: SOILWORK :: and I like the new album, Verkligheten, too. I could hardly wait… wait… waiting… *yawns*… waiting. It took 45 minutes (!!!) till SOILWORK finally entered the stage and broke into Arrival. A jaunty kick-off, followed by classics from Stabbing The Drama and then alternating between newer and older material. I loved how the new songs turned out live. Apropos… since Verkligheten was released on this day, every new song (5 of 12) was a world live premiere. It would have been utmost charming, if SOILWORK had played Needles And Kin feat. Tomi Joutsen too. It suggests itself, doesn’t it? Well, you can’t have it all, right? Perhaps, fans at the end of the tour will be pleased with such tidbit.
However, same problems with sound and the clean voice of Björn Strid. Some might find his clean singing too Pop-like for SOILWORK, I like especially that. It adds some pep to the songs. The crowd was hard to enthuse. The Swedes tried to hype them but failed most of the time. To be honest, it was more of an old geezer show. No encore given. It surely wasn’t a bad show but not a convincing one either.
Setlist: Verkligheten (Intro), Arrival, The Crestfallen, Nerve, Full Moon Shoals, Death In General, Like An Average Stalker, The Akuma Afterglow, Drowning With Silence, The Phantom, The Nurturing Glance, Bastard Chain, As We Speak, The Living Infinite II, Stålfågel, Witan, Stabbing The Drama
:: pics :: AMORPHIS ::
:: AMORPHIS :: did not need long to show up. The moment they came on stage, the crowd cheered. The Finns also started with new material but generally remained within the last three records, except for two classics during the encore. The crowd responded much livelier now. No wonder, Queen Of Time should be stuck in every ear canal by now. And AMORPHIS are generally a fantastic live band. You can’t do anything wrong with the Finns. Great mood, great atmosphere around.
But my pleasure was actually short-lived, as we had to leave after three songs in the photo pit and to bring our equipment back to the cars, which is a no-go for me. Besides, my car was parked far outside the area. So I was dawdling as long as possible and left with the melody of Silver Bride in my ears. Altogether it was a mixed first concert evening. We had to wait way too long, fans were partly frustrated and the shows rather standard. Curse of the first tour day. I’m sure, the show in Cologne on February 2 will turn out much better.
About the setlists one can excellently argue, especially if you have bands with an extensive discography. That bands focus on new material when having released a new album is no surprise. That they don’t play brand new tracks next to ultra-popular classics is no surprise either. There have been goodies in the AMORPHIS and the SOILWORK set. If you want more, plead for a best-of or fans-favorite tour (which of course will not satisfy everybody either) ;)
Setlist: The Bee, The Golden Elk, Sky Is Mine, Sacrifice, Message In The Amber, Silver Bride, Bad Blood, Wrong Direction, Daughter Of Hate, Heart Of The Giant, Hopeless Days, Black Winter Day // Death Of A King, House Of Sleep