It is perhaps no surprise that tonight's show is sold out. After nineteen years in existence, it's rather astonishing that this is Amorphis' first live appearance on these shores, and with it being the sole UK date on their European tour, people have seemingly travelled from far and wide for this rare opportunity to catch the Finns in action. With a rather hot and sweaty Underworld rammed to the brim, when Amorphis appear onstage just before 8:30pm they are greeted with deafening cheers and rapturous applause from an eager audience, many of whom, including myself, are witnessing these ever popular metallers for the first time. Blessed with a near perfect sound and mix through the PA from the off, and one that is sustained throughout their hour and a quarter set, Amorphis commence with 'Silver Bride' and then 'Sampo', both from latest album 'Skyforger'. Frontman Tomi Joutsen, with the band since 2005 after the departure of Pasi Koskinen a year previously, then declares "we are finally here in London" which receives the expected cheers of approval from an enthusiastic audience as the band look genuinely chuffed by the warm response they receive. There is an air of sincere metal gregariousness around the venue this evening as everyone present seems to revel in what is, in essence, a special occasion. It's also pleasing to see such a pumped up crowd be so respectful in their enthusiasm as there are no stupidly violent pits that plague so many other gigs in this country. 'Towards and Against' is up next, obviously a crowd pleaser, although I am reminded of Amorphis' occasional musical plagiarism with its opening melody ever so reminiscent of The Gathering's 'On Most Surfaces'. The next hour is filled with an array of fan favourites drawn from their extensive back catalogue as the first bar of each number played is embraced by most present with loud cries of adoration. With most of the Finns' albums represented in the set, it is gratifying to hear the older material that is aired such as 'Sign from the North Side', 'Black Winter Day' and 'The Castaway'. Wrapping up the night with an extended version of 'My Kantele', with the time at only 9:45pm, I can't recall a London gig finishing so early - I'm guessing either to make way for a club night at the Underworld, or an unusually strict curfew. Whatever the case, Amorphis' first live appearance in the UK was quite simply sheer musical brilliance from start to finish. One can only hope they return here soon. Bloodstock perhaps?
Saturday 10th October 2009
Camden Underworld in London, UK
Review & Photography by Mark Holmes
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