(Live Review) AMORPHIS + Support - The Forge (Joliet, Illinois April 19/22)
Review by: Mark McQueen
Three piece female basic metal. Vocally semi clean, good drummer. Singer needs to be louder to get her words over the music. Kind of drowns under it. She seems to have a little Christina Scabbia (Lacuna Coil) sound but much less powerful and dominating. Could be techs trying to dial in sound to the room size and attendance since it got a little better in the later numbers. Basically an okay opener but nothing memorable. Some nicer slower doomy riffs here and there, but 80% mid-to-upper middle tempo. 72/100
Next up is Sylvaine which I thought was a TV brand back in the day, but is actually an atmospheric metal band from Norway appearing in their second ever US show. This is good stuff. Very atmospheric, but when it kicks in, has good heaviness. Her voice was more ethereal and soared more than the opener. Songs were long and multi-faceted, with slow dreamy segments and thundering gallop’s of metal. Like a thunderstorm set to music. Wow, where did the death vocals just come from? Suddenly Pazuzu just grabbed hold of this chick. Wow, and now we’ve gone Wolves in the Throne Room style. Thunderstorm, meet tornado. A mix of styles, but yeah, that got my attention. Upping score to 88/100. Stylistic and cool to watch.
UADA Pagan black metal by hooded and robed long-hairs. Definitely Burzum-era guitar influences with alternative grunts and screams like Jody, the Amityville Horror Pig was doing it with the demon from “The Conjuring Part II”. Chance of understandable lyrics? Roughly the same as Blutosky's GPA at Faber college in Animal House, 0.0
Nod to my old age fans. The music was fine, it did 90’s black metal mixed with a dash of atmospheric. Although not generally the Beard's cup of hemlock, it actually grew on me throughout the set. I’m not buying anything from merch mind you, but it did have a slight hypnotic pull in its “frenzied tortured souls screaming in anguish”, kind of vibe. I’ll go 81/100 for costumes and commitment to the Black Metal cause.
Mixing gruff semi-death with clean vocals and a key laden metal attack, the Finnish legends rode through their history with mostly newer tracks, but a few older gems as well. The crowd initially was less “hot” for them, still coming down from the frenzied UADA set.
Amorphis isn’t a grab you by the throat band, more a lead you by the hand, and lead they did until the crowd found a new gear and began feeding back the energy to the band. “Death of the King” was where they owned it as the crowd response grew louder throughout the whole song. Then “House of Sleep” brought down the house in a joyous and ultra loud sing-long fashion. Although I think they started a touch slow, in the end they held their spot.