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introKönig-Pilsner-Arena, Oberhausen, Germany
21st November 2015
Nightwish, Arch Enemy & Amorphis

With their awe inspiring music and bombastic live shows, the symphonic gods NIGHTWISH headlined one of the blackest festivals this summer, the M'era Luna festival in Hildesheim, Germany. They presented a colourful setlist featuring quite old songs next to some new tunes from the recent ‘Endless Forms Most Beautiful’ album. Now the band around maestro Tuomas Holopainen was returning to Germany for a blast! NIGHTWISH were traveling heavy bringing along the Melodic Death Metal bands ARCH ENEMY and AMORPHIS as guests. The Oberhausen arena was really packed and the audience ready to celebrate a big party.


Amorphis

The Helsinki based metal formation AMORPHIS was founded in 1990 by Jan Rechberger (drums), Esa Holopainen (guitar) and Olli-Pekka Laine (bass). In 1992, the band released its debut album ‘The Karelian Isthmus’. Over the years, there were some line-up changes resulting in the today’s cast of Tomi Joutsen (vocals), Tomi Koivusaari (guitar), Esa Holopainen, Jan Rechberger, Niclas Etelävuori (bass) and Santeri Kallio (keys). At the beginning of their career, they played death metal that was enriched by progressive metal devices later on. Furthermore, the band added some Arab and Finnish folk elements. Not for nothing, guitarist Esa Holopainen suggested that suitable band name, as it was derived from “amorphous” which is another word for “shapeless”. AMORPHIS can look back on all in all nine long-players such as ‘Am Universum’ or ‘Eclipse’ (2006). In May 2009, AMORPHIS released its ninth long-player ‘Skyforger’ that reached the top of the official Finnish charts. The latest album, ‘Under the Red Cloud’, was released in September 2015. AMORPHIS is Esa Holopainen (lead guitar), Tomi Koivusaari (rhythm guitar), Jan Rechberger (drums), Santeri Kallio (keyboards), Niclas Etelävuori (bass, live backing vocals) and Tomi Joutsen (vocals). http://www.amorphis.net / https://www.facebook.com/amorphis

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Music & Performance
The show on that Sunday started quite early. Doors opened at five and now at half past six, already the first band of the evening, AMORPHIS, entered the stage which was much smaller for the support act than for NIGHTWISH since the entire equipment of the headliner was already build up and covered with a cloth on which the backdrops of the support acts were hung up. With their newest album ‘Under the Red Cloud’, AMORPHIS again made “Album of the Month” in the Metal Hammer (for the sixth time by now) and have been praised in the press as well as by fans all over the world. And of course, the Oberhausen audience could listen to several songs of the new album, just like ‘Death of a King’, ‘Sacrifice’ or ‘Bad Blood’. Kudos to Tomi Joutsen whose growls as well as the clean vocals were in no way inferior to the ones on the record and the ability to flawlessly alternate between the two styles again earns by deep respect. Besides, the rest of the band did a very good job too. All in all, the setlist contained mainly newer material, a little sad for the long-time fans.

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But on the other side, the NIGHTWISH fans probably did not know AMORPHIS very well anyway and so, the mood in the arena was still a little restrained. All in all this was a good introduction into the evening.

Setlist
01. Death of a King
02. Sacrifice
03. Hopeless Days
04. Bad Blood
05. Sky Is Mine
06. Silver Bride
07. The Four Wise Ones
08. House of Sleep

Rating
Music: 8
Performance: 8
Sound: 7
Light: 7
Total: 7.5 / 10

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Arch Enemy

ARCH ENEMY is Swedish melodic death metal band from Halmstad, Sweden. The band was founded in 1996 by CARCASS guitarist Michael Amott along with Johan Liiva, both originally from the influential death metal band CARNAGE. The band was first fronted by Johan Liiva, who was replaced by Angela Gossow as lead vocalist in 2000, and with Gossow stepping down in March 2014 and being replaced by Canadian singer Alissa White-Gluz, formerly lead singer for THE AGONIST. Gossow remains connected to the band though in the role of manager. ARCH ENEMY has released nine studio albums, a live album (Burning Japan Live 1999), two DVDs and three EPs. With the replacement of Gossow, a new album was announced as well. The album ‘War Eternal’ was released in 2014. Also guitarist Nick Cordle left the band in 2014. The current line-up of ARCH ENEMY is Michael Amott (guitar, keyboard, backing vocals), Daniel Erlandsson (drums), Sharlee D'Angelo (bass), Alissa White-Gluz (lead vocals) and Jeff Loomis (guitar, keyboard, backing vocals). www.archenemy.net / www.facebook.com/archenemyofficial

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Music & Performance
Before ARCH ENEMY entered the stage I feared that the NIGHTWISH audience could not deal with their growling power. But I was wrong. Obviously there were a lot of fans in the audience. And the power and energy of by Alissa White-Gluz, jumping on stage dressed in a white/black tight outfit with small shoulder wings, was really infectious. The only common thing with NIGHTWISH is that the band is also female-fronted. But the music and vocals are much harsher. Having released their latest album ‘War Eternal’ in 2014, the setlist of course contained several songs out of it, like of course the album’s title track, ‘Stolen Life’ or ‘Avalanche’ towards the end of the show. ARCH ENEMY brought a solid show onto stage, well-orchestrated and not leaving much room for improvisation. In my opinion, the live show lives mainly from the charismatic singer, and Alissa is really wonderful on stage. Hard to imagine that so strong vocals come from such a small and slim woman. Amazing! Alissa’s brutal female vocals are well balanced with the other instruments, leaving considerable room for the rest of the band to show off their skills.

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The show ended with ‘Nemesis’ from the 2012 album ‘Doomsday Machine’. With something old and something new, ARCH ENEMY proved to be still on top of their game and that they can run an inspiring live show.

Setlist
01. Yesterday Is Dead and Gone
02. War Eternal
03. Ravenous
04. Stolen Life
05. You Will Know My Name
06. As the Pages Burn
07. Under Black Flags We March
08. Avalanche
09. No Gods, No Masters
10. Nemesis

Rating
Music: 7
Performance: 9
Sound: 7
Light: 7
Total: 7.5 / 10

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Nightwish

NIGHTWISH is a Finnish symphonic/ power metal band, formed in 1996 in the town of Kitee, Finland. Although the band has been prominent in their home country since the release of their first single, ‘The Carpenter’ (1997) and debut album ‘Angels Fall First’, they did not achieve worldwide fame until the release of the albums ‘Oceanborn’ and ‘Wishmaster’, which were released in 1998 and 2000 respectively. Their 2004 album ‘Once’ led to NIGHTWISH video clips being shown on MTV in the United States and inclusion of their music in U.S. movie soundtracks. After the recording of the live DVD ‘End of an Era’ in Helsinki on 21 October 2005, the four other members of NIGHTWISH decided that it was best to continue NIGHTWISH without Tarja Turunen, a feeling they expressed through an open letter which was given to Turunen by Tuomas Holopainen after the concert, and afterwards posted on the band's website.

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In May 2007, Anette Olzon was revealed as Tarja Turunen's replacement, and in the autumn 2007, the band released a new album ‘Dark Passion Play’ the concept album ‘Imaginaerum’, was released in December 2011 via Nuclear Blast. In October 2012, the band announced that they had parted ways with Olzon and would be finishing the current tour with former AFTER FOREVER vocalist Floor Jansen who joined the line-up later as steady singer. Due to his very difficult insomnia founding member and drummer Jukka Nevalainen is on hiatus. The latest album, ‘Endless Forms Most Beautiful’, was our earlier this year. NIGHTWISH today consists of Tuomas Holopainen (keyboards, piano, synthesizers), Emppu Vuorinen (guitars), Marco Hietala (bass, male vocals), Jukka Nevalainen (drums, on hiatus), Troy Donockley (uilleann pipes, tin whistle, low whistle, bouzouki, bodhrán, backing vocals) and Floor Jansen (lead vocals) plus current tour drummer Kai Hahto. http://www.nightwish.com / https://www.facebook.com/nightwish

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Music & Performance
It was 20:40 when the Finish super stars of female-fronted metal were entering the stage and started of course with a big bang and lots of pyrotechnics and fire during their intro and first song. Of course the crowd was eagerly awaiting the band and welcomed the musicians with loud applause and screams. The excitement did not decrease during the show when one highlight was following another one. Of course, as you expected, the NIGHTWISH show is not only based on the music, but also on the big show elements, mainly lots of pyrotechnics and fire combined with projections in the background, fitting very well to the songs and being shown on four big screens in the back of stage. The shown videos were especially matching the theme of the last album, ‘Endless Forms Most Beautiful’. Besides of all those show elements, you have of course the band itself, playing with lots of energy. While Tuomas and Kai were of course sticking behind their instruments, Marco and Emppu were moving a lot, were posing or flirting with the audience.

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In the centre of attention of course was once more Floor Jansen, first wearing a long leather coat over a very short dress. Later in the show, she took off the coat, being now an even better eye catcher. As you know it from the band, NIGHTWISH plans really every element of their show and so, songs, videos, performance and pyro effects were matching perfectly. But still, the musicians are very real and never lose their contact to their audience what makes them really likable and you always feel a personnel connection to them. Songs like ‘Sleeping Sun’ or ‘Ghost Love Score’ later in the set really captures the audience while others like ‘Seven Days to the Wolves’ have a heavier arrangement. The combination of calmer and softer songs with the powerful ones makes the show very diversified. The show itself lasted about two hours. As last song, the band very suitably chose ‘The greatest show on Earth’, lasting on CD over 20 minutes. Of course, during their live show, the song was shortened.

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With huge applause, the band was finally said goodbye. Even though NIGHTWISH is surely not everyone’s taste, they know how to deliver an entertaining show.

Setlist
01. Shudder Before the Beautiful
02. Yours Is an Empty Hope
03. Ever Dream
04. She Is My Sin
05. My Walden
06. The Islander (First half performed solo by Marco)
07. Élan
08. Weak Fantasy (Preceded by a Dawkins' narration)
09. 7 Days to the Wolves
10. Alpenglow
11. Storytime
12. Nemo
13. Stargazers
14. Sleeping Sun
15. Ghost Love Score
16. Last Ride of the Day
17. The Greatest Show on Earth (Chapter I: Four Point Six; Chapter II: Life; Chapter III: The Toolmaker)
18. The Greatest Show on Earth (Chapter IV: The Understanding; Chapter V: Sea-Worn Driftwood)

Rating
Music: 8
Performance: 9
Sound: 7
Light: 10
Total: 8.5 / 10

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All pictures by Daniela Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com / http://www.facebook.com/blackcatnet)


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