by Chris A.
Staff Writer –
Sailing Back To Reality and Insanity: The 70,000 Tons Of Metal Day 4
The shadows from the low eastern sun crossed the deck as day 4 of 70,000 Tons of Metal kicked off with Megora performing at 10 a.m. Thursday on the pool deck. The final band, which closed the cruise, was God Dethroned, whose set was schedule to wrap up at 3 a.m. the following day. Literally four hours later, the ship coasted back into its berth in Miami. Day 4 of 70,000 Tons of Metal was filled with incredible bands, a lot of relaxation and soaking in the atmosphere of an incredible experience.
Merchandise lines for the cruise and the individual bands were crushingly long as metal heads sought souvenirs from an incredible week of music and
adventure. Knowing that this was the final day of live music prompted everyone to get in as much fun, drinking and head banging as possible. The cruise soon would be over, and it would be back to the real world.
Day Four Bands Include: Megora, Atheist, Alestorm, Virgin Steele, Sapiency, Diamond Plate, Eluveitie, Tristania, Therion, Riot, Pretty Maids, Orphaned Land, Coroner, Hammerfall, In Extremo, Dark Funeral, Amorphis, Venom, Whiplash, Channel Zero, Over Kill, Edguy, Suffocation, Candlemass, God Dethroned.
70,000 Tons of Metal Day 4 Photo Gallery
by Chris A.
Staff Writer –
A Sea of Blood: The 70,000 Tons Of Metal Day 2
Steaming toward the southwest, with the coast of Cuba visible on the horizon, Day 2 of 70000 Tons of Metal resumed with abandon. For the next 18 hours, there would be a nonstop assault of metal on the ship’s three stages, with 27 bands scheduled to perform. At 10 a.m., with temperatures approaching 80 degrees on the main pool stage, the first band of the day would be old-school thrashers Whiplash with Crowbar set to close the day’s action at 4:15 a.m. the following day.
It was a day of head banging, drinking and running around the ship as the 2,000 fans went from venue to venue, navigating the narrow corridors with pits stops at the bar and casino. Catching all the bands was impossible, of course, but the atmosphere, beautiful weather and the utter variety of bands kept a smile on everyone’s face. Day 2 was nothing short of kick ass.
Day No. 2 performers included: Whiplash, Megora, God Dethroned, Diamond Plate, Exciter, Spiency, Orphaned Land, Tankard, Suffocation, Pretty Maids, Atheist, Kamelot, Stradivarius, Amorphis, In Extremo, Therion, Kataklysm, Annihilator, Children of Bodom, Virgin Steele, Venom, Riot, Hammerfall, Pestilence, My Dying Bride, Dark Funeral and Crowbar.
70,000 Tons of Metal Day 2 Photo Gallery
by Justin Gaines
There has been a noticeable trend in recent years for established bands, especially when there is a significant lineup change, to rerecord their older material with the new lineup. In most cases, these rerecordings are totally unnecessary. The adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” comes to mind. Sometimes though, the rerecordings show the old songs in a totally new light (Anacrusis did this particularly well with their Hindsight collection). Now Finnish progressive death metal band Amorphis is giving it a try with their new collection Magic & Mayhem – Tales From the Early Years. Now that vocalist Tomi Joutsen has a few albums under his belt, and Amorphis has built a new sound around his distinctive vocals, it makes sense for them to revisit some of their earliest recordings.
If you’ve heard any of Amorphis’s recent albums, you know that Joutsen is an impressive clean vocalist, but excels at the death metal growls. If you’ve caught them live, you know that he absolutely nails the older songs like “Black Winter Day.” Hearing the band take on the heavier, more purely death metal songs from The Karelian Isthmus and Tales From the Thousand Lakes is a revelation. It’s been nearly two decades since the band’s earliest recordings, so obviously they’re a lot better at what they do, plus they’ve developed a unique sound over the years. Hearing that combination of talent and progress (plus of course Joutsen’s monstrous growls) lends a more elegant brutality to songs like “Vulgar Necrolatry” and “Magic & Mayhem,” and is almost like hearing the songs for the first time. The pre-Elegy songs should be more than enough to convince the skeptics, and are well worth the price of admission.
Then there are the songs from Elegy. Elegy was the album where Amorphis brought in clean vocalist Pasi Koskinen and moved dramatically in a more progressive direction. Elegy is considered by many to be the band’s best album and an essential metal release. It’s as close to an untouchable release as you’re likely to find, and tinkering with these classic songs is risky. The band did a decent enough job with them, but didn’t really add anything the way they did with the earlier material. They’re not bad, and they do grow on you, but they’re not on par with the original versions.
The only real blunder on Magic & Mayhem is revisiting the Doors’ classic “Light My Fire.” Covering that song was a mistake the first time around, and is just as dreadful all these years later. Making it through that stinker a second time around takes a supreme effort of will.
Old school Amorphis fans may cringe at some of these rerecordings, but for the most part the songs on Magic & Mayhem are very well done, and provide an interesting new perspective on some classic metal songs. Fans of the later Amorphis albums should definitely enjoy hearing the new lineup revisit the classic material.
Genre: Death Metal, Progressive Metal
Tomi Joutsen (v)
Esa Holopainen (g)
Tomi Koivusaari (g)
Santeri Kallio (k)
Niclas Etelavuori (b)
Jan Rechberger (d)
1. Magic & Mayhem
2. Vulgar Necrolatry
3. Into Hiding
4. Black Winter Day
5. On Rich and Poor
6. Exile of the Sons
7. The Castaway
8. Song of the Troubled
9. Sign from the North
10. Drowned Maid
11. Against Windows
12. My Kantelle
13. Light My Fire
Label: Nuclear Blast
Hardrock Haven rating: 7.5/10
by Joe Mis
“Pretty freakin’ good…” was one of the comments made about the new album Skyforger by veteran Finnish prog-rockers Amorphis. Definitely an understatement…
Skyforger is a very strong album filled with the many audio trademarks of Amorphis – a bit progressive, a bit mystical, a bit death metal, but always melodic and musical. Based on Finnish epic mythology (as is their tradition), Amorphis tells the story of Ilmarinen, one of the central characters of the Kalevala poem cycle.
The Kalevala is a story based on Finnish folklore and is considered to be both the national epic of Finland and one of the most significant works of Finnish literature. Seppo Ilmarinen, a heroic inventor and blacksmith, crafted the sky dome, the Sampo (a magical item that brought good fortune to its holder), and other epic constructs. In the poetic cycle, the Sampo is stolen and Ilmarinen has many grand adventures as he tries to recover it.
Founded in 1990, Amorphis has made an epic journey of its own, transitioning from a pure death metal band to a progressive metal storyteller. Despite a long history and a number of personnel changes, the unique Amorphis sound has been consistent – soaring, leaping riffs combined with neat and powerful guitars and atmospheric keyboard passages, resulting in a very tight and focused release. The current lineup is Tomi Joutsen (vocals), Esa Holopainen and Tomi Koivusaari (guitars), Santeri Kallio (keyboards), Niclas Etelävuori (bass), and Jan Rechberger (drums). The lyrics of Skyforger were co-written by Finnish poet Pekka Kainulainen and translated to English by Erkki Virta, both of whom have worked with the band before.
The CD opens with “Sampo,” a smooth and powerful song with a great keyboard introduction, rolling bass line and catchy chorus. “Silver Bride” slows the pace and shows the talent of all band members. Another fabulous keyboard piece opens “From The Heaven Of My Heart”, one of the highlights of the album. It is a slower song, and really gives vocalist Tomi Joutsen a chance to shine. Joutsen has a wonderful, almost soothing voice when he sings “clean,” and a real death metal roar when he chooses to use it. Unlike some singers, he doesn’t rely on the roar as a crutch and overuse it – it is simply a normal part of his singing and doesn’t dominate the music.
“Sky Is Mine” is a very kicky upbeat song and contrasts nicely with the following track – the moody and ultra-heavy “Majestic Beast”. “My Sun” and “Highest Star” are slower, mellower pieces, with the latter having a fantastic opening synth riff. “Skyforger” is a solid track that brings the power level up again, and leads nicely into the very riffy “Course Of Fate.” The album wraps up very well with “From Earth I Rose.” The finale has a great bouncy bass line, some excellent vocals and the strongest guitar solos on the disc.
The production and engineering are top quality, and shows that Amorphis is a veteran band. They know exactly what they want, and are able to get a clean, clear and consistent sound that allows the musical talents of each member to shine without overshadowing the other.
All in all, Skyforger is probably the strongest Amorphis album yet. “Pretty freakin’ good,” nah. Try “Pretty freakin’ AWESOME”…
Label: Nuclear Blast
02. Silver Bride
03. From The Heaven Of My Heart
04. Sky Is Mine
05. Majestic Beast
06. My Sun
07. Highest Star
09. Course Of Fate
10. From Earth I Rose
HRH Rating: 9/10