DVD Review – Amorphis “Forging the Land of Thousand Lakes” 2010

  I wasn’t initially sure whether to review this release as a concert DVD, video compilation or box set. I checked out Amorphis.net and they’re calling it a DVD set with bonus CD’s, and they would know. Besides, the music discs are “only” sound captures of the most recent show on the DVD. The thing is, these “bonus” music tracks are the secret weapon of this set, and worth their weight in gold, as Amorphis’ 2009 show in Oulo, Finland is incredible stuff.

Tearing through material both new and old, Tomi Joutsen lays the memory of former vocalist Pasi Koskinen to rest with authority, making the material, the stage and the crowd his own. “Silver Bride” and “Sampo” have the teamwork and polish of the band’s new phase of Kalevala-inspired material all over them, and the fans clearly and audibly love the nod to former times in the combination of “Black Winter Day” and “Magic and Mayhem”. Forcing its way into the spotlight, however, is a marvellous and muscular medley of highlights from the band’s mid-career melancholy masterpiece Elegy. You don’t need video to tell (although it’s all right there for you) that the ensemble is glad to be free of the psychedelic trappings of the 90’s and getting back to business.

If that wasn’t enough, the second DVD contains an equally excellent performance from the 2009 Summer Breeze Festival, all of the band’s video clips (the good, the bad and the silly), along with an in-depth documentary culled from tour diaries and personal reminiscences. The whole set manages the enviable feat of being a reward for older fans and a great band primer at the same time.

There are two things I almost never buy as a music consumer: live recordings of metal bands and performance videos. I’ve just always found that they can’t (with very notable exceptions) capture the essence of what truly talented musicians do in the studio when they’re firing on their creative cylinders as opposed to their showboating ones. Forging the Land of Thousand Lakes presented a challenge for me in this respect, especially with Live After Death setting the bar so high, but I think Amorphis just bumped against it. As they continue to hone their craft and gain stature as truly relevant, vital songwriters in a massive and resurgent global metal scene, we may all look back on this release one day as a time when they hit that bar on the way over it. 9 out of 10

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One Response to “DVD Review – Amorphis “Forging the Land of Thousand Lakes” 2010”

  1. […] Amorphis’ first three records seem like studio mountings of the live performances found on the already-excellent  Forging the Land of Thousand Lakes. Truth be told, if budget is a consideration for you, get that […]

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