Amorphis, Leprous, Nahemah
Gagarin 205, Athens, Greece

Amorphis are considered to be one of these bands that the Greeks adore, along with Blind Guardian, Nevermore, Opeth, Anathema and some more. The Finnish visited us again, two years after one very successful performance in 2009. The bunch of us who found ourselves at Gagarin that Sunday had high expectations, as Amorphis are known for their great shows. But the night didn’t start well.

The show was supposed to start at 20:00, with Nahemah, Spanish progressive death metallers, being the first on stage. Due to personal reasons I wasn’t able to be at the venue right from the start. So I was very bewildered, when at 20:30 I found Leprous on stage, and not only that, but they were already halfway through their set. For the record though, and from what I heard from others who managed to see Nahemah, the band didn’t do that well. The bad sound, along with the indifferent, very small in numbers, audience, didn’t provide for a good warm up.

Back to Leprous now, and I was in for another unpleasant surprise. As I was informed, the photographers weren’t allowed in the photo pit, even though we had photo passes.100_6676 Orders of the manager. Apart from that detail, I really enjoyed Leprous. The band was full of energy. Einar Solberg, the singer, got easily most of our attention, as he was constantly headbanging, while playing keyboards. Another thing that drew our attention was the fact that they were all dressed up, wearing suits, ties and bow-ties. Not a usual dress code for a metal band. The sound had improved greatly, allowing us to enjoy the varied and weird vocals of Solberg, and of course the compositions themselves. Their setlist was based on their latest release, “Bilateral”, which won very good reviews, but we also heard “Passing” and “Dare You” from “Tall Poppy Syndrome”. All in all, a very satisfying performance, which gave great promises for the future of Leprous. I’m only sorry that I didn’t see the first thirty minutes…

At approximately 21:30, the background was decorated with the cover of “The Beginning Of Times” 100_6683and the stage was ready for the headliners of the night. Amorphis entered and they started with “My Enemy” and “Mermaid” from their latest album, but with average sound, as the keyboards, an essential part of Amorphis’ music, weren’t heard clearly at times. Thankfully, as we went on the sound got a lot better. Tomi Joutsen was amazing, his voice in excellent shape, as he was altering from harsh to clean vocals with great ease. And he was the most energetic on stage, monopolizing the audience. The rest of the members, even though they played very professionally, they seemed a little distant. On the other hand, the attitude of the audience didn’t help, as the majority was just standing there without participating. In the meantime, we are going back and forth in time, with “The Smoke”, followed by “Crack In A Stone” from the new album, and back again with “Greed”. And with that song, Joutsen proved to us that he can handle the older stuff pretty well. It was time for “You I Need”, the hit single of “The Beginning Of Times” and there came a radical change. The fans started to sing along! And back again. “Karelia”, “Vulgar Necrolatry”, “Into Hiding”, and “Magic And Mayhem” for those who love the first albums. “Sky Is Mine” and “Alone” for the ones who prefer the more recent stuff. With that, the first part of the show was over. It was time for the encore, but I didn’t hear the classic 100_6712“we want more”. The crowd was once again silent. After a few minutes, Amorphis returned on stage and they offered the audience their most popular song, “Silver Bride”. Cue for headbanging and sing-along! Next came the beautiful “My Kantele” and the set closed with another hit, “House Of Sleep” and the cheering of the crowd.

So, what do we make of this? With this being my first time seeing Amorphis live, I can’t say it was what I expected. The performance was undeniably good, the setlist covered every period, and I had a nice time, but the distance between the band and the fans could not go unnoticed. And the feeling that I’m left with, is that this could be such a great live…

Report: Stella Papaspyropoulou.
Photos: Spanos Manos.