Report: Amorphis, Beyond The Embrace, Into Eternity Show at BBkings, NYC
Band Photo: Into Eternity (?)
As I walked into BB kings on March 20th 2005, I wasn’t prepared for the night of madness ahead of me. I see an almost empty room of fans sitting and talking while they wait for the opening act. I was at the front of the line for this show, but the line was short. By the time the first band started playing I looked around to notice if anyone else had come in, they had, but they didn’t feel like standing up front. I felt like I was at a small local club for my friend’s band. Also without a barrier the experience became more intimate.
The first band to play was With Passion, I didn’t really know what to expect at first glance from these guys, but I knew it was going to be heavy. I underestimated their heaviness. The best way to describe them is an aggressive mixture of black and death metal with elements of hardcore. The drummer was the highlight of this band. His furious drumming made my mouth drop as I saw the drummer’s hand blur as it hit the snare drum. His blast beats weren’t straight forward, but rather broken up and not parallel, a steady ride with a frenzy of snares hits. This change of the standard caught my ear and eye. The randomness of the snare hits also added to the chaos, especially because they were triggered, which made the hits clearer and louder than the rest of the kit. The singer delivered in your face screaming, literally, head banging, and making weird expressions with his eyes. Instead of talking in-between songs, he’d scream out what song was next in a devil/demon like scream that is common in death and black metal. The guitars were fast and heavy, which can only be expected from the rest of the music. The keyboard, when actually heard, added an atmospheric effect to the songs. I must admit that I usually don’t enjoy black metal, but this band captured my ears.
Single Bullet Theory was the next band to perform. They had a solid set with lots of energy. The singer, Matt Difabio, was growling and singing all while fast playing guitar riffs and soloing. The band played in a more traditional style of metal than the With Passion. I noticed that the crowd up front grew from when I looked back during the first band. People were getting into it who probably have never heard them before, like myself. In-between songs Difabio interacted with the crowd. Good stage presence was demonstrated throughout the band and they had good music.
After SBT's set, Into Eternity went on stage. If you asked most of the people there, they would tell you that Into Eternity stole the show. I wouldn’t disagree. The new vocalist, Stu Block, made the band and the songs performed much better than they were on CD. I was utterly blown away during Block’s sound check. He came on stage and did this high-pitched scream that can only be compared to Rob Halford. The first song is played and once again I’m blown away at what this band is capable of. Everyone growled and sang well. The Block had a sick range. He did everything from deep growls to the Halford scream mentioned previously. This is one of those bands that are too good to be true, but is. The crowd response was very good: there were even people singing, head banging, and raising their fists in metal fashion.
Next up was Beyond the Embrace. I’ve seen these guys twice in the past, each time they deliver an intense performance better than the last. This time was no exception. The triple guitar action flowed into the vocal melody and scream. The simple - in comparison to the previous act - but effective drum patterns also melded well with the rest of the instruments. The best way to describe them is a direct mixture of the older albums of Metallica, Iron Maiden, and In Flames. The vocalist was singing while head banging, this is something I don’t see from most bands. The music felt more moving than the last time I saw them live. I will absolutely see them again next time they play near me.
Amorphis was much better than I expected because they played a good amount of older tunes. I expected a lot of newer songs to be played to promote their latest album, but only two songs were played. They had over an hour set, which was well worth it. The big drawback was that, unlike the rest of the bands, the band had barely any stage presence shown. The singer was doing the right thing, it’s a shame the rest of the band didn’t follow him. The rest of the band gave off this very laid back vibe, there was emotion going into the music, but not nearly as much as the singer put in. To make things worse, the vocals weren’t loud enough in the mix. Everything else sounded great and loud, probably too loud, since the vocals were barely heard on most songs.
Overall the concert was great, one of the best I’ve ever been to. All of the bands exceeded my expectations, met a bunch of cool people, and my neck hurt for three days after the concert. The bands all had similar qualities about them and fit together as a whole. I like going to a show with an opening band or bands that have relevance with the headliner because I’m more likely to enjoy them. This is also one of the most intimate concerts I’ve ever been to. As a result, I’ll definitely attend another show by any of the bands that played that night again. If you don’t know the bands I suggest you go to a show and check out their music because you are in for quite a surprise.
Remaining tour dates for the Amorphis, Beyond the Embrace, Into Eternity tour are as follows:
3/25 Masquerade – Atlanta, GA
3/26 Masquerade – Tampa, FL
3/27 Culture Room – Ft. Lauderdale, FL
3/29 Jesters Pub – Fayetteville, NC
3/28 Thee Imperial – Jacksonville, FL
3/30 Downtown – Farmingdale, NY
3/31 Northern Lights – Clifton Park, NY
4/1 Webster Theatre/Underground – Hartford, CT
4/2 Penny Arcade – Rochester, NY
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