Live at The El Rey Theater
Los Angeles, CA
April 30th, 2022
Review and photos by Travis Baumann
Finnish melodic metal maestros return to North America to bring us a healthy dose of their latest offering, "Halo" along with a generous helping of their previous efforts.
Taking on the historic El Rey theater in the Miracle Mile area of Los Angeles, they provided an epic journey through time, both their own catalog as well as the mythological history of their country through their intricate lyrical stories.
Originally founded in 1990, the majority of the band are still that line-up with band founders Esa Holopainen on lead guitar, Tomi Koivusaari on rhythm guitar and growled backing vocals, Olli-Pekka Laine on bass guitar and clean backing vocals, and Jan Rechberger on drums.
Santeri Kallio came on board in 1998 playing keyboards, and Tomi Joutsen joined on in 2005 as lead vocalist and they have been together ever since. For over thirty years now, seventeen of those in this solid family, Amorphis have been putting out album after album of top tier metal.
While starting out as a death metal band, over the years they have evolved into so much more. Progressive folk, both heavy and melodic all at once, extreme growled vocals are still featured on nearly every song, but the juxtaposition between the extremity and beautiful melody with uplifting orchestration puts them on an entirely different plane.
They started off the set with the opening track from "Halo", "Northwards". The new album carries on the impressive work of their signature sound, full and powerful with intricate melodies and driving energy.
They jumped around their impressive back catalog between new songs, but always converged back to "Halo" before branching back out. "Bad Blood" from "Under the Red Cloud" led into one of my personal favorite songs of theirs, the catchy "Silver Bride" from "Skyforger".
"Halo" gave forth "On The Dark Waters" and "A New Land" before they diverged into the semi-ballad "Wrong Direction" from 2018's "Queen of Time". Long time fans were excited when Tomi announced "Into Hiding" folding back in time to 1994's "Tales from the Thousand Lakes".
Tomi introduced the next song as a "beautiful love song" from the new album called "The Moon". "Seven Roads Come Together" completed the material from "Halo", and they finished the set with another fan-favorite from long ago, "My Kantele" off of "Elegy" from 1996.
Foregoing a long pause between the main set and encore, they revisited "Queen of Time" for "The Bee" before finishing out the set with the classic "House of Sleep" invoking a massive sing along from the crowd.
I have been fortunate enough to see Amorphis many times over the years and they never cease to impress and amaze. A very moving musical journey with a band of exemplary musicians to say the least. I cannot recommend these guys highly enough.
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