Ilosaarirock Festival veterans celebrate their 20th anniversary together by flooding the festival ground with irrevocably compelling, impressive rock

In today's Finland, metal is the new pop (as in 'popular'). This statement may sound iconoclastic at first, but looking at the rise of heavier rock that has happened during the 2000s, it is difficult to deny its accuracy. And Amorphis, the veteran band of Finnish metal, is an apt figurehead for this new popular music.

Amorphis, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, made it to the international market already in the mid-1990s – well before Nightwish, HIM, Children of Bodom or the present-day folk metal favourites. The secret of the breakthrough was a healthy respect for Finnish traditions, and particularly the lyrics that drew from the lyrical poems of Kalevala and its sister collection Kanteletar. After the new vocalist Tomi Joutsen took office in 2005, Amorphis has been riding on with new passion and released a tight set of albums that study the characteristics of the tragic male figures of Kalevala: Kullervo (Eclipse, 2006), Lemminkäinen (Silent Waters, 2007) and Ilmarinen (Skyforger, 2009).

In terms of airplay, record sales and demand for concert tickets alike, Amorphis is now more popular than ever. Today the well-travelled, originally Helsinki-based bunch has enough back catalogue to pamper the festival audience with a definitely entertaining potpourri of hits that can weather any storm stirred up by the unrivalled Ilosaarirock Festival audience. Welcome back to the land of song that is the Ilosaarirock Festival ground, old chums!

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