Arguably one of the best lineups this year is the co-headlining AMORPHIS and DARK TRANQUILLITY tour with MOONSPELL and OMNIUM GATHERUM. No one should have an excuse to pass on a touring package as great as this one. The trek began on September 7 and runs through October 14 in Clifton Park, NY. Luckily, I made it to the first night of the tour at New York City’s Gramercy Theatre.
First up was Finland’s OMNIUM GATHERUM who were there to support their new album The Burning Cold. While the lights remained dark and red, the group gave it their all despite the technical difficulties guitarist Markus Vanhala had during the beginning of the set. They pushed through and gave a blistering performance with songs including “The Burning,” “Frontiers,” “Gods Go First,” “The Unknowing,” “Refining Fire,” and “Skyline.”
Portugal’s MOONSPELL were up next as this has been their first North American appearance since early 2016. Fans waited a long time for their return as they turned the stage into 2017’s 1755. Frontman Fernando Ribeiro brought additional stage props with him this time around and went into songs such as “Em Nome Do Medo,” “1755,” and later went into “Breathe (Until We Are No More)” from 2015’s Extinct. They closed the set with fan favorite songs “Alma Mater” and “Full Moon Madness.”
After a short break, it was time for Sweden’s DARK TRANQUILLITY to take the stage. This mark’s the group’s third headlining North American run since their latest effort Atoma was released back in 2016. The stage had the same setup, however, the lighting for this particular evening was darker than their prior appearances. The crowd remained just as enthusiastic as frontman Mikael Stanne maintained his energy and continued to run across the stage.
Given the fact that the group has eleven studio albums, they had a lot of material to choose from as the set included “Monochromatic Stains,” “Clearing Skies,” “The Treason Wall,” “Forward Momentum,” “Atoma,” and of course, the fan favorite track “Misery’s Crown.”
Unlike DARK TRANQUILLITY, AMORPHIS’ last scheduled show for New York City was cancelled back in March of 2017 for their tour with SWALLOW THE SUN. Therefore, the crowd went exceptionally wild once they walked onto the stage in support of their latest effort Queen of Time, which was released earlier this year. Fans were able to see the return of bassist Olli-Pekka Laine who rejoined the group in 2017 after longtime bassist Niclas Etelävuori quit. While seeing a familiar face, it also felt new at the same time.
Performance-wise, these Finnish progressive metal giants sounded pristine as they went into songs such as “The Bee,” “The Golden Elk,” “Bad Blood,” “Sky Is Mine,” “Wrong Direction,” “Heart of the Giant,” “Against Widows,” “The Castaway,” “Daughter of Hate,” “Death of a King,” and “House of Sleep.”
Despite the late curfew, it was well worth staying from beginning to the end. While AMORPHIS have already scheduled their return to North America next year with DELAIN and ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN, we can only hope the rest of these fine bands will return to the states soon enough.
LIVE IMAGES AND WORDS: ZENAE D. ZUKOWSKI