It’s a prog metal double whammy with the support acts tonight.
First up, Greek outfit Poem are made all the more entertaining by a fan who knows all the stops in their songs and shouts “Motherfucker!” into them. Fragments, from their Skein Syndrome album, summarises their work well.
Textures, meanwhile, are running late, but still spend time talking while a keyboard chord is held. Oceans Collide, from latest album Phenotype, goes over the crowd’s head, but the band take control with New Horizons. Their Faith No More-style shouty choruses are to the fore. A key success comes with Awake, during which a couple snog while headbanging (they must have rehearsed that). Frontman Daniël de Jongh asks: “How many people have seen us before? Five… How many have heard of us? That’s better.”
Several years since their last visit here, Amorphis have a long to-do list. Twelfth album Under The Red Cloud is their proggiest yet, and follows 2013’s Circle, which started the determined move away from their metal roots. The 15-song set includes six from …Red Cloud and two from Circle, but they’re carefully arranged with older numbers – including frontman Tomi Joutsen sharing vocals with guitarist Tomi Koivusaari on Drowned Maid.
The result is a performance that allays any fears of lost direction. Instead, their new development comes across as confident, and a new edge is added to the older material. But it’s also true that they’re on more comfortable ground with older pieces such as 1996’s On Rich And Poor, before which Joutsen says: “It’s time for old stuff. You don’t want to hear it, go and get a drink!” The audience stay.
But we’re here to progress, and the flow from Drowned Maid into new number Dark Path does a great job of showing that the old band is still alive underneath the new one. Amorphis follow this with The Four Wise Ones, and by this time they’ve hit their stride. An audience split in two is brought together as Amorphis make a convincing case for themselves.
At one point Joutsen jokes: “We have a problem. We’ve run out of songs.” They haven’t – and on this evidence, they won’t.