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Amorphis, Swallow The Sun, Insomnium - Doom in Utrecht
This night three Finnish bands visited our country to warm us up on a cold autumn night. With a sold out Tivoli we must say they pretty much succeeded!

Insomnium
opened for a polite audience; from the start the venue was filled to the max and we crossed our way all up to the bar. With our beers in one hand and a good joint in the other we got to hear melodic death metal, very much in the likes of Amon Amarth. Insomnium mainly plays in a midtempo, often a steady riff over which a melodic guitar line is played. Because of this, their music sounds epic by bursts. Now and then the band speeded it up which made things more interesting, but not one song could catch my entire attention because of the high ‘been there, done that’ factor.
 
Swallow The Sun then, could they manage to keep us away from the bar? Well, that question can be answered pretty easily…nope. Swallow The Sun has pretty much the same melodic death metal sound as Insomnium, but where Insomnium now and then stepped on the gas Swallow The Sun did the opposite thing. Melodic death metal with some doom elements would be a sufficient description. Also Swallow The Sun didn’t manage to get a grip on us, so after a good half hour we decided to end this show early and head over to the café area, where we discovered that we weren’t the only ones which wanted to wait for Amorphis in a somewhat less crowded place.
[Sledgehammer Messiah]
 
Then it was time for the main act of the evening, Amorphis. A band I've loved for years, but I'd never seen live, I know, a shame. So I was thrilled. I really hoped they'd also play some of their older stuff. Their last album Silent Winters is really good, and Eclipse is even better, but nothing beats The Karelian Isthmus and especially Tales From The Thousand Lakes.
The band began with some songs of their latest work, and their performance was quite impressive, vocalist Tomi Joutsen gave everything he had. His vocals are live as good as on the records in my opinion, something that surprised me. After some newer songs Swallow The Sun vocalist Mikko Kotamäki entered the stage to perform a duet on 'Drowned Maid'. Just one word: Awesome!

As the band left the stage to take a break the intro song 'Karelia' of The Karelian Isthmus was played, and my heart started to beat quicker. Would they play the old stuff? Yes!! They did, 'The Gathering', 'The Castaway' and 'Black Winterday'. I wouldn't have dreamed they would play so many old school songs. Something that really surprised us was the fact some of the fans started a pit. So what's wrong with that you might think? Well, in my opinion you should start a pit on some heavy aggressive music, but they started the pit on some slower songs. Perhaps I'm getting too old?

Another thing that confused me were the "Heuj" shouts from Tomi. Especially when they played the old stuff it sounded very strange to me. The "Heujs" made it sound like folk metal, and that is not how I had these songs in mind. The rest of the audience seemed to ignore that, or liked it. Now I might sound like a sorehead, but I like the songs how they were intended; dark. Nonetheless I and Sledgehammer Messiah really enjoyed the show.
[Arcane]