Amaranthe, Beyond The Black, Smash Into Pieces Messukeskus, Turku, 22 November 2019

A five-minute drive from home to a concert location? Plenty of parking space? A big venue with good facilities? Yes, that'll do, thank you very much! The fair center of Turku isn't often used as a gig venue, but I wish it was, because I can't really ask much more from a concert place than what it has to offer. Well, a great sound would be a plus… wait, all three bands had that too! Then again, some people think that a true rock gig can only take place in a packed, sweaty club with a sticky floor...

When it comes to "true rock gigs", SMASH INTO PIECES didn't really give us that. Their set was a modern pop show with much of the music not peformed live. They had a cool looking stage with screens and a nice lights, even though they were a support act. The band’s drummer “The Apocalypse DJ” was the most striking character visually - he wore a helmet with the band’s illuminated logo on it. Vocalist Chris Adam Hedman Sörbye had a good set of pipes and guitarist Per Bergquist added some crunch to the band’s EDM/Rock-hybrid sound. The band’s other guitarist Benjamin "Banjo" Jennebo was nowhere to be seen.

Although the band’s sound was excactly my cup of tea, they were entertaining and clearly had a few of their own fans in the audience. Most of their songs were kind of catchy but I can’t say I remember any of their melodies now. 

BEYOND THE BLACK were a welcome later addition to the line-up for me, as I’ve been listening to them quite a lot during the last year or two.They’re a German Symphonic Metal band fronted by the talented Jennifer Haben. She is the only remaining original band member, the first version of the band was put together after she had recorded the first album with guest musicians.  In 2016 the first touring line-up which also recorded the second album was replaced by the current band and a keyboard player, who is no longer in the band.  
BTB didn’t have any fancy props or screens like the openers, and for the most part they had a rather boring light show, but that didn’t stop them from winning over the crowd. Jennifer Haben sang beautifully and the rest of the band threw all the necessary heavy metal shapes, not to mention played their instruments. With no symphonic orchestra hiding behind the curtain, obviously they had to have some additional help, but nowhere near as much as the previous band. 

The band played a good selection of songs from all of their albums, with “Hysteria”, “In The Shadows” and the bouncy “Shine And Shine” among my personal favourites. Their short set left me and probably many others hungry for more, I hope we’ll get to see them soon again!

Heart of the Hurricane
Songs of Love and Death
Lost in Forever
When Angels Fall
In the Shadows
Shine and Shade

The headliners of the night were AMARANTHE. It’s been about ten years since I saw them the last time, back then they were on their first tour and played in a packed, sweaty club with a sticky floor…

Since then, the frontline of the band has gone through some changes. Out of the three singers only Elize Ryd remains, her male companions have been replaced. Henrik Englund Wilhelmsson is the band’s current “growler” while Dynazty’s Nils Molin has taken over the clean male vocal role. The musicians are still the same, Olof Mörck on guitar/keys, Johan Andreassen on bass and drummer Morten Løwe Sørensen.

When Amaranthe took the stage, they came with all guns blazing. There was pyro, there was confetti, not to mention synchronized hairy windmills! The band put on a good show from the start, and the intensity never really dropped that much. The only real “breather” during the set was the beautiful “Amaranthine”, which included some fine keyboard playing by Olof Mörck. The song itself has all the makings of a future classic or an “evergreen”. An evergreen with growling - well, why not? Somehow I feel that this particular song will eventually become the smash hit it deserves to be…

After the hit-filled opening blast and the ballad break, the band continued to fire away with heavy and more or less uptempo songs from the last couple of albums. I haven’t been that impressed by the band’s recent output, but most of the songs worked okay live. Towards the end of the main set I did start to feel a bit numb - the songs kind of melted into each other. The last couple of tunes were enhanced visually by pyros, which spiced them up.

The encores were nothing short of spectacular. “Call Out My Name” from the first album and “The Nexus” from the next one were Amaranthe at their best for me, and even though I’m not a huge fan of the industrial, mechanical grind of “Drop Dead Cynical”, I can’t deny that it was a fine, explosive ending to the gig.
Digital World
The Score
Drum Solo
Breakthrough Starshot

Call Out My Name
The Nexus
Drop Dead Cynical

Review by Kimmo Toivonen
Photos by Mira Suutari-Toivonen (c) 2019 RockUnited.Com, visit our Facebook page for more photos (and bigger versions of these) from this gig!