AMORPHIS ~The Nile Theater
WITH SPECIAL GUESTS UADA, SYLVAINE, AND HOAXED
To say that the night of May 1st at the Nile Theater in Mesa was full of surprises would be an understatement. Melody mixed with brutality to present a night of sonic delight, one in which we as an audience were battered, bruised, and uplifted all at once.
Openers Hoaxed were reminiscent of both The Pixies and Blackwater Holylight. Their energy was fantastic without being over the top, as the band chose to focus on the earnest meaning of their poignant songs. Their lead vocalist and guitarist, standing resolute as she belted her way through the songs, proved a nice contrast to the refreshingly energetic assault of their bassist.
The second band of the night, Sylvaine, was new to me. At first glance and listen, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Their music began as atmospheric post-rock, bringing absolutely beautiful melodies that verged on the classical to our ears. Suddenly, Kathrine Shepard, the mastermind behind the band, erupted into a black metal scream that brought me reminiscences of the legends of Norway and Sweden. The band launched into a vicious set that melded the drone of shoegaze, the melody of post-rock, and the brutality of black metal. The crowd was simply stunned, myself included. Sylvaine is without a doubt a band to watch out for.
The third band of the night, a personal favorite of mine, was Portland, Oregon’s Uada, masters of modern melodic black metal. To say that their performance was memorable would not do it justice. Their faces obscured by their hair and their black cowls, shrouded in fog and backlit, Uada played a roaring set of their most well-known songs including off of their recent album Djinn. Frontman Jake Superchi’s voice ranged from a guttural roar to a high pitched, eerie wail, covering the spectrum of black metal’s vocal styles. The lighting, perfectly accompanying Uada’s naturalistic lyrical content, gave it an atmosphere of evil and mystery. The crowd was raucous, throwing up devil horns and roaring at the conclusion of every song. While I’d seen Uada before, I had never seen them play with such ferocity, tenacity, and energy.
The final act of the night were the headliners, Amorphis. The Finnish metal stalwarts, celebrating the 30th anniversary of their debut album, played a raucous set of melodic death metal. One of the most remarkable features of the band was the distinctness of each musician and the way that they layered each song, an impressive feat for a six piece band. Vocalist Tomi Joutsen, with the band since 2005, strutted and swayed his way across the stage, captivating the audience. As the setlist progressed, the energy increased and the audience reacted, moving more and more as the band continued to play. As legends of the Finnish metal scene, it was amazing to see them take the stage at the Nile.
All in all, it was an excellent night, one characterized by diversity of sound and approach. For those who missed the night, make sure you follow these bands so you can catch them next time they come to town.
On the Dark Waters
Seven Roads Come Together
House of Sleep