30 October 2009
Before The Dawn, AmoralÂ
30.10.2009,Â 'Blue Box' club, Sofia - Bulgaria
ords by Nikola Shahpazov, photo: Elena Nenkova
Nino Nikolov, the only literary scholar who managed to translate the Finnish national epic Kalevala in Bulgarian, had absolutely no idea that some 17 years after the first edition of the book here, 800 Sofia fans would sing (though in English) about the wondrous Sampo mill or the Luhi witch. Not that everyone around knew Kalevalaâ€™s poetic values in detail or was well acquainted with its mythical heroes (I somehow doubt the long-haired and hyperactive metalhead ahead has ever heard of VÃ¤inÃ¤mÃ¶inen) but one thing is for sure â€“ each eager fan here has had his fair share of Finnish metal witchery. I clearly remember the moment I first heard Tales from the Thousand Lakes and Elegy â€“ and it is pretty clear by the extatic applause the crowd is ready for the Amorphis songs, both old and new.
These epic Finns played a gig in Sofia two years ago â€“ at the Nuclear Blast fest but still the Blue Box club is packed with headbangers, the show being sold out days before the concert date. Everything proceeds with an almost uncharacteristic northern European precision â€“ first warm-up band Amoral make it to the stage right on time and play a pretty standard but power packed 30-minute set of power metal (with the slightest hint of melodic death here and there). Second band for the night â€“ Before the Dawn deliver a lot more aggressive punch of growled vocals and technically perfect slab of modern death metal.Â
The main attraction is pretty clear though â€“ after days of online arguing at radiotangra.com (for the tickets were sold out surprisingly for some and just as expected for others) and after two years of waiting (for all of those who saw the band at the Nuclear Blast festival) we were about to enjoy the Amorphis experience once more.
It was just as good as the last time maybe even better but almost certainly different â€“ because of the tracks fresh out of their Skyforger album and because of the different venue that provided for a more intimate and thus electrifying band-audience interaction.
Despite some slight sound issues, Amorphis simply slay â€“ with the mighty riffing of Esa Holopainen and Tomi Koivusaari delivering their usual mix of folk-tinged melodies and heavy rocknroll hooks. Headbanging dreadlocked lead singer Tomi Joutsen is unstoppable and makes a nearly perfect performance â€“ when singing the more melodic tracks Silver Bride or Sampo, when his voice follows the keyboards on Black Winter Day or when delivering that famous infernal roar on oldies like Sign from the North Side.
After an hour and a half of mighty Finnish metal classics comes My Kantele â€“ a fitting end indeed although old pricks like us enjoy ourselves much more to the sound of the Against Widows/Cares/On Rich and Poor medley â€“ something deserving all the applause the band gets.
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