Lost Society, Sólstafir, Amorphis Cologne 2023
Cologne Carlswerk Viktoria
Text und Fotos Silke Jochum
German version published at: Culture Guerillaz
On Friday November 27th, I set off for Cologne and at the same time I explored an unfamiliar territory - a pure metal concert.
Something special for me as an old electrohead. Although I'm open to pretty much all music genres except Schlager and have been a loyal Metallica fan for ages, this was something different.
he Carlswerk Vitoria on the former site of a cable manufacturer in Cologne Mühlheim was actually a new location for me. I already knew the Carlswerk site from a photo exhibition but, as I said, I had never been in the Carlswerk Victoria concert hall before. The location convinced me for several reasons. The hall itself has a pleasant size, has a very good sound and the ventilation is great. There are several bars in the venue and a large open beer garden between Carlswerk Victoria and Club Volta. It was too cold for me to sit there, but the beer garden looks super cozy.
There's even a food truck, but unfortunately it wasn't open that night. The beer garden is definitely an extra highlight in the summer!
Another positive thing I would like to mention is that there is a large car park right next to the venue where you can park during events for €4.50. A real dream in Cologne :-)
My motivation for photographing and writing about the concert was that Sólstafir were playing. I discovered the Icelandic band more or less by chance a few years ago when they recorded a song with LEGEND, another great Icelandic band. Then I listened to more Sólstafir songs and fell in love. That's why I went to Cologne on 27 October 2023.
At this point I have to admit that I hadn't heard of Lost Society and Amorphis before the evening in Cologne. Of course I listened to their music on the way to the concert to know what to expect, but that's not enough to write about the bands or the concert here. So this article is simply a report on how I experienced the evening ;-)
When I arrived at the venue, it quickly became clear that this was really about metal. There was a big black car in the car park with Motörhead graffiti all over the bonnet and most of the people in the hall were dressed in the right style!
The show started with the Finnish thrash metalcore band Lost Society. The four guys from Jyväskylä went full throttle right from the start and thrilled the crowd. Hard, fast guitars, pounding drums, a driving bass and the piercing vocals of Samy Elbanna.
Five of the eight songs they played were from their latest album 'If The Sky Came Down'. They also played "Riot" from the album "Braindead" and "No Absolution" and "Into Eternity" from the album "No Absolution".
Personally, I thought it was a good mix and Lost Society both won me over and carried me away. And it wasn't just me. Especially some loyal fans in the front row celebrated the band and the songs and created a great atmosphere.
After a short changeover, my highlight of the evening continued.
Sólstafir entered the stage shrouded in fog and backlighting and filled the hall with their spherical sounds. Unlike the English lyrics of the other two bands, most of Sólstafir's lyrics are in Icelandic. This gives them a special sound and fits perfectly with the mystical atmosphere that Sólstafir create on stage.
The four guys from Reykjavík opened the concert with the great song "Bláfjall" from the album "Berdreyminn". This song impressively demonstrated the wide musical spectrum that Sólstafir cover. With calm, spherical sounds at the beginning of the song, an expectant mood was built up. After a few bars, the drums of Hallgrímur Jón "Grimsi" Hallgrímsson and the calm vocals of Aðalbjörn Tryggvason slowly entered. A few bars later, the driving guitars of Sæþór Maríus Sæþórsson and Aðalbjörn Tryggvason were joined by the bass of Svavar Austman Traustason.
"Bláfjall" (Blue Mountain) slowly built up and, just like the band and the enthusiastic audience, gathered more and more strength. Great!
This song reflected the whole setlist a little bit. There were always very quiet phases, followed by heavy guitars and powerful vocals. "Akkeri" and "Ör", two songs from the current album "Endless Twilight of Codependent Love" completed the setlist together with "Fjara" and "Ótta".
The grand finale of the Sólstafir performance was the 13-minute long song "Goddess Of The Ages" from the album "Köld". During this song, Aðði temporarily disappeared from the stage, only to reappear a few moments later in the light of a spotlight on the counter of the left bar and perform there.
I thought it was a great Sólstafir set. The only small downer for me was that due to the length of the Sólstafir songs we were only allowed to photograph one song and I missed my favourite song "Silfur-Refur", but hey, you can't have everything.
Now there was a big changeover on stage and the 1600 fans in the sold out Carlswerk Victoria waited for their headliner: Amorphis.
I was a little afraid that Amorphis might be a bit too hard for me because of the growling vocals.
But the first song of the evening, "Northwards", really got me going and put me in the right mood for the rest of the show.
The energy that Tomi Joutsenden and the other musicians gave to the fans was really infectious. The mixture of death and progressive metal paired with elements of traditional Finnish music made the concert very varied.
Throughout the show, the six Finns from Helsinki were extremely powerful and knew how to inspire their fans. I especially remember the songs "The Moon", "Silver Bride", "Bad Blood" and "Sky is mine" from that night.