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JAXX; West Springfield, VA - 04/10/01

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Spring has arrived and metal tours are starting to become more frequent. One of the early Spring 2001 touring highlights is the Amorphis tour that is making a quick run through the US to promote their new CD "Am Universum." I circled the date of April 10th on my calendar with great anticipation.

First up was Premonition Of The End. Premonition Of The End are a young band from Northern Virginia. Youth has a way of blending imitation and exuberance and Premonition Of The End are no exception. The band's influences were evident in every song, but at least they are good influences. The basics of the songs of Premonition Of The End are melodic death metal with a bit of hardcore/Deftones vocal approach. Does it work? Not yet. Premonition Of The End are a young band finding their musical legs and an identity is sure to follow. At one point, Premonition Of The End avoided imitation altogether by simply playing a cover of In Flames' "Behind Space."

Having already seen Garden Of Shadows I knew what to expect. However, this was the first time I was seeing the band when I knew all the songs. Garden Of Shadows ripped through four tunes. Seeing Garden Of Shadows is certainly a sight to behold. "Lovely Cold," from the "Heart Of The Corona" demo, shows how unique and confidence the band was in their early days. "Oracle Moon," "Citadel Dreams," and "Twilight Odyssey" proved to be a good selection of songs from their Earache/Wicked World debut "Oracle Moon." The band's complexity and tight playing only serves to remind us that Garden Of Shadows are as underrated as they are talented.

Without a doubt, a majority of fans were in attendance to see Opeth.  Opeth are doing their first proper tour in North America and there is a huge pent up demand to see the band. The most impressive thing about Opeth was that they showed remarkable restraint. Opeth's pacing was impeccable as they avoided the most common of all problems in the live setting - playing too fast. Opeth covered all five CDs in their stellar career which I thought would be a bit impossible given the length of the band's songs and one-hour time-limit. The set started off with "The Leper Infinity"; I must admit, it was weird to hear the song without the beautiful piano that ends the piece. Opeth dug deep to their debut CD "Orchid" for "Forest Of October" - this song received a huge response as many were not expecting to hear Opeth's older material. Next was "White Cluster" from 1999's "Still Life" - this guitar tour-de-force stood up well in the live setting and proves Opeth's dexterity and penchant for adventurous soundscapes. Opeth quickly pulled "The Drapery Falls" from "Blackwater Park." Nothing could prepare me for what happened next: Opeth rendered a devastating "Advent" from their sophomore release "Morningrise" - it was amazing to hear this song in the live setting as it was given new life. With the time left in their set getting short and not yet having played anything from their third CD "My Arms, Your Hearse" fans seemed anxious. The fans were not disappointed - the brutal anger of "Demon Of The Fall" closed the Opeth set to great applause.

Everyone seemed quite satisfied to have finally seen Opeth, yet I'm of the opinion that the fans' appetites for Opeth in concert have only been made stronger. Opeth, after finishing the current mini-tour with Amorphis, will be touring North America again with Nevermore and Angel Dust - don't miss it! 

Hot on the heels of the release of their latest masterpiece "Am Universum," Amorphis confirmed their status as metal heavyweights. A majority of the Amorphis set was focused on songs from "Am Universum," but they still included songs from "Tuonela" a couple of songs from "Elegy." Amorphis played with confidence and conviction. Amorphis are a band that is becoming more solid with each passing year and each new CD.

After the first few songs it was clearly evident that Amorphis sounded better than the performance that I saw in Philadelphia last year in support of "Tuonela." I'd always attributed the poor sound at that show to the fact that it was the first gig of the 2000 U.S. tour. JAXX has done much in the last couple of years to improve the sound and lighting facilities and tonight was proof that it was beginning to pay dividends. 

Amorphis' encore consisted of one track each from the last three CDs. "The Way" was followed by a subtle rendition of "My Kantele." Amorphis departed from the stage with a strong "Forever More" from the latest CD "Am Universum." By the time you read this Amorphis are likely to have already headed back to Europe to continue promoting "Am Universum" - however, methinks Amorphis will be back in the States to continuing touring North America - you won't want to miss it. 

Hail to Jay Nedry and JAXX for booking metal shows! 

Hail to Kirk, Tony, Bill, and Nancy! Great music is always better with good company.

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Copyright 2001 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 23 Aug 2016 22:57:16 -0400.