Islington Academy, London
23 March 2016
Review by Demitri Levantis
Photography by Carina Martins
Tonight there was another great Finnish metal victory at the O2 Academy in Islington.
Once again the metal strategy was the same: the band Amorphis, having been on the road for 25 years and released 13 studio albums, dropped by to promote their most recent album, ‘Under the Red Cloud’.
Along with the Finns came an army of support acts, beginning with Greek Progressive Metal act Poem (3.5/5) – all the way in from the historical city of Athens.
They took to the stage without pulling any punches, they just headed straight into their first song which droned lovingly with all the right ups and downs of any progressive band’s work.
This was a band who came in with a job to do and certainly seemed to be enjoying themselves, for they did not have a long set time but really made the most of it.
Every now and again there was the odd breakdown, and some solos here and there which made me think of prog rock at its height so I found this a band quite well versed in terms of their influences.
Another fine band that I think will go on to make a lot of good music in the future.
A fine start to the onslaught of excellence which lit up the evening. Then it was the turn of Dutch modern Metal band Textures [3.5/5] to give us a lively rendition of their latest work.
The group had come along to promote their fifth studio album Phenotype, their second release on Nuclear Blast. And what set this band aside for me, was they are the first modern-styled metal band I’ve seen whose performance was actually enjoyable.
This genre is still emerging and I’ve yet to be blown away by any band but Textures seem to have come very close to that point. Fresh new blood being pumped into an emerging phenomenon.
It wasn’t just breakdowns with songs about anxiety but philosophical themes blurted out in a fairly happy and upbeat manner, and the addition of the piano seemed like something wholly original for this genre.
I also could see vocalist Daniel de Jongh having a whale of a time as he threw his vocals across the room and into the eager crowd who wanted more and more from the Dutch boys.
I think this band have a lot of potential to give metal fans who are bored with current day metal some new hope for the genres in years to come.
Then it was time for the highlight of the evening.
All the way from the land that has berthed the biggest number of metal bands per capita came the progressive veterans…
Amorphis [4.5/5] took to the stage in all their glory. Quite abstract glory I must add, for I was intrigued by the Steampunk artwork of vocalist Tomi Joutsen’s mike stand – certainly made me think of HR Giger.
This band have been going now for 25 years and it seems all their line up changes and experiments have boded well.
Having begun life as a fine Death and Doom fusion band and transitioning into the progressive they are today, the group showcased how much longevity is stored in their musical output.
Each member came on and played their instruments with agility and vitality which kept the crowd in a loving hypnotic trance – poetry in motion.
Plenty a number from latest album ‘Under the Red Cloud’ was delivered and I was once again reminded of great battles and mystical adventure tales, fuelled by the culture and folklore of the band’s homeland.
I now have another good reason to visit Scandinavia in the near future.
Amorphis kept us going happily with a fair use of growled and screamed vocals along with clean melodies and deep, meaningful monologues which I think attracted many a fan from across the metal spectrum.
A band who has something for everyone is what I’m always looking out for, and here was the latest discovery.
Thank you for such a great night Amorphis, come back soon.