Stratovarius & Amaranthe
Nordic Nexus Of Nemesis Tour 2013
Seven Kingdoms (support)
Kulturbolaget, Malmo, Sweden
April 17th, 2013
Review and live pictures by Anders Sandvall
The melodic power metallers Stratovarius joined forces with the Swedish melodic/pop-metal act Amaranthe for an early spring tour. It’s really hard to categorize the music of Amaranthe. When I looked up the band on Wikipedia I read the melodic/pop metal label and thought it suited the band pretty good. The band was on a joint headline billing with Stratovarius with USA support act Seven Kingdoms. At the end of February the new album from Stratovarius called NEMESIS came out. It is the first to feature the new drummer Rolf Pilve. The brand new album from Amaranthe is called THE NEXUS. Amaranthe is a project containing both Swedish and Danish musicians. The tour kicked off in Munich Germany in March and the day after the Malmo gig ended the tour in Stockholm Sweden. After the end, Stratovarius returned home to Finland and continued doing shows and Amaranthe did the same in Sweden and Europe.
Since the show took place on a Wednesday, the doors opened pretty early, at 7 o clock and it all was scheduled to end at 11.30. Stratovarius was also going to have a signing session straight after the Amaranthe show. At 7.30 the lights went out and it was time for the support act to begin.
The club filled up furious power metal when Seven Kingdoms took on the stage. The band consists of five guys and a female vocalist. After the second song she said that it was nice to be in Malmo opening for Stratovarius and Amaranthe. After the first two furious songs the tempo slowed giving us a more normal power metal song. The singer did her best to get the crowd going but she had a hard task. As the show progressed the crowd seemed to became more and more reluctant towards the band and I also lost interest after a few songs. The singer asked if there were any fans of the TV show Game Of Thrones in the house. She said that the band were huge fans of the show – hence the band name – and said that the next song was inspired by the show. She wanted us to scream for the next band to come on stage and then it was time for the last song for Seven Kingdoms.
There were nothing wrong with the appearance but the music was a little boring for me at least. After 30 minutes their set came to an end.
The club was far from sold out, but people started to arrive after Seven Kingdom had left the stage. The crew unveiled a huge backdrop with the cover art for the new Stratovarius album. Many that came to see Stratovarius were likely curious to see how the new drummer would sound. It can’t be easy to replace the legendary Jorg Michaels! I was curious myself, to hear some of the new songs, as well as hear which classic Stratovarious songs they were going to play. After 25 minutes of preparation it was finally time for Stratovarius to come out.
“Abandon” and “Speed Of Light” began the show and the members met a wall of hands from grateful fans.
Stratovarius band members are: Timo Kotipelto – lead vocal, Jens Johansson – keyboards, Matias Kupiainen – guitar, Lauri Porra – bass, and Rolf Pilve – drums.
Kotipelto opened by saying that it was fun to be in Sweden this night and told us that the band was going to play both old and current songs. Next up came “Halcyon Days”. Johansson and Porra stood on the right side of the stage and alone on the left stood Kupiainen. Kotipelto stood and moved around mostly in the middle and he had total control of the audience from the very start. Both the light show as well as the sound worked great and Kotipelto said that the next song was written by Johansson and since he is from Sweden the fans shouted a welcome to him in Swedish. The song was “Dragons” and it was followed by a drum solo by Pilve whom Kotipelto urged us to give a warm welcome to as well. It was a pretty short and solid solo and the band returned on stage and continued the show with the song “Eagleheart”. The majority of fans sang along to this song. Johansson and Kupiainen showed off on solos in the song and Kotipelto invited the crowd to sing along in the chorus. Kotipelto wanted the fans to give a shout out to the man who had written the next song, Porra, who also did a bass solo before the song. It was the song “Fantasy” taken from the new album and it felt like the fans greeted the new songs warmly as they did with the old classics.
“Destiny” made most part of the crowd continue singing along and Kotipelto once again thanked everyone for the warm support the band received from the Swedish fans. “Against The Wind” and “Stand My Ground” followed and both Kotipelto as well as Porra did their best to connect with the audience. It was then time for everyone to walk off the stage and let Johansson do his magic on the keyboard. Of course he put on an amazing solo which took him straight into the song “Black Diamond”. That song ended the ordinary show and 60 minutes had flown away. The fans wanted to hear more, and first back on stage was Kupiainen playing guitar and the song “If The Story Is Over” kicked off. The song was performed by Kupiainen, Kotipelto and Johansson alone so the song turned out to be semi acoustic. Kotipelto asked if the crowd could handle hearing two more songs being “Unbreakable” and “Hunting High And Low”. It felt like it was the last song the fans had been waiting for because the entire club went crazy and every fan in the club sang a long with Kotipelto in the song. In the middle of the song Kotipelto said that the Danes had been really loud and noisy and asked if we could beat the Danes. Everyone in the crowd sang from the top of their lungs but it took a while before Kotipelto and the rest of the band were satisfied.
Two encores went by fast and suddenly was it time for Stratovarius to say goodbye to their fans in Malmo. The show was brilliant and it was awesome to see how tight the band is and how well they complete each other. It felt like they had a good time on the stage and even though the band played 7 songs from the new album it kind of felt like they had the power to do that!
Speed Of Light
Against The Wind
Stand My Ground
If the Story Is Over
Hunting High And Low
It seems as if Amaranthe have divided the metal community. One side loves the band and the other side loves to hate the band. I have to admit I’m not sure what I think of their music but either way I have to give them a chance. The change of gear went pretty fast and a new back drop with the band name and the cover of THE NEXUS was hung up. 30 minutes later was it time for Amaranthe to conquer the crowd.
The band walked on the stage to their intro music and the first song came instantly. That being “Invincible” and “Leave Everything Behind”. One of the lead singers, Andy, was missing this night and he was replaced by a session singer – Henrik from Scarpoint. The rest of the band was in place and Amaranthe are: Elize – vocals, Jake E – vocals, Morten – drums, Olof – guitar, and Johan – bass.
Jake E said it was fun to be back in Sweden again and told us that the band had been out on tour for weeks and that they had been through a lot strange things. The next song up was taken from the first album – this was the song “1000000 Lightyears”. Jake E said that he was confused and said that it felt like it was Saturday today and not Wednesday. He did overall a really confusing impression. He asked if we had beer in our glasses and said that we all should cheer because it was Saturday today?!
“Serendipity” followed and it was nice to hear that all the keyboard playing that predominate on the album was narrowed down live. Elize thanked fans for all the applause and said it was time to continue the show with “My Transition” and then followed the new song “Infinity”. It was Elize and Jake E who took care of the talking this night and Jake E said that we should give it up for Morten on drums because it was now time for a drum solo. He did a short and pretty standard solo and the show continued with the ballad “Born With Me”. It felt like it took a while for the band to find their groove on stage and it wasn’t until now they really began to let loose. The session singer took care of “Mechanical Illusion” and he did a good performance. The audience mostly consisted of young girls, an occasional hard rocker, and older women. It was the women who took care of the headbanging and for some reason they were the ones who created the most noise. “It’s All About Me (Rain)”, “The Nexus” and “Afterlife” followed and Elize thanked for the support. Jake E said that everyone should check out Scarpoint which is the band session singer Henrik is in.
A keyboard was brought in and Olof sat down and began to play the song “Amaranthe”. Elize showed what an amazing voice she has and she really impressed me. Jake E said he wanted everyone to scream and jump up and down in the next song “Call Out My Name”. Everyone in the band jumped up and down as well as the most dedicated fans just in front of the stage. That song ended the show and the band thanked us for the warm welcome they had received. According to my clock, Amaranthe played for about 60 minutes and the fans shouted for more music. Johan came back and asked if the fans wanted to hear more and the band shortly came back and fired off “Automatic” as the first encore. The absolute last song was “Hunger” which is the bands big hit and it was the perfect way to end the show. Amaranthe played for about 80 minutes and even if you like the band or not, it can’t be denied that they are a solid force on stage. The set list was varied and included a good mix of both older as well as more current songs and hits.
I thought that Stratovarius did a better performance but maybe I’m too old to appreciate the melodic/pop metal of Amaranthe. And just as they promised, Stratovarius came out to meet and greet the fans. Really nice of the band to do that!
Red Light Alarm (intro)
Leave Everything Behind
Burn With Me
It’s All About Me (Rain)
Call Out My Name
Thanks to Kristian Kornhage, head of Kulturbolaget for help with press/photo pass to the show.
Also a huge thank you to the nice and friendly staff and security at Kulturbolaget.
Myspace Page www.myspace.com/sevenkingdoms
Facebook Page www.facebook.com/SevenKingdomsOfficial
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Myspace Page www.myspace.com/officialstratovarius
Facebook Page www.facebook.com/stratovarius
Myspace Page www.myspace.com/amaranthemetal
Facebook Page www.facebook.com/AmarantheBand
Twitter Page www.twitter.com/amaranthemetal
Facebook Page www.facebook.com/SpinefarmInt
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