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Amon Amarth

support Obituary + Legion Of The Damned + Keep Of Kalessin
author EW date 09/03/09 venue Forum, London, UK

Once I had the day off and the day after the gig booked off work I always had a good feeling about this gig and looked forward to it with gleeful vigour. It turned out that a great many people I knew were to be in attendance also and so the drinking began in earnest an hour or so before doors, determined to make it a good night and end a run of some average gigs preceding this one.

Keep of Kalessin

With the cavernous, grandiose Forum still half-full at best by the time Obsidian Claw came on stage to perform the opening solo to latest album "Kolossus" it was instantly apparent to me at least that the hyperfast riffage and blast of KoK was not best suited to the Forum. The intricacies in the likes of "Crown of the Kings" were lost in a sound that couldn't cope with the vehement speed on offer but to their credit the KoK guys gave their all with a set entirely culled from the two most recent albums which has seen their star rise tremendously of late. "Ascendant", possibly the highlight from last year's "Kolossus" came across better towards the end of the set where the highly catchy sing along chorus did it's best to be heard across the crowd who largely didn't know what to do during it, but it would be fair to say the show wasn't KoKs and one should really hear them on record to realise their full splendour.


Legion of the Damned

Comfortably the band I was least interested in watching prior to the show, it was only the lack of re-admittance that prevented me from leaving, having seen LotD once before with Kreator and been utterly bored by their 21st century thrash-by-numbers. Always a style that is conceived with the live environment very much in mind, either something must've changed within me or with LotD as this time around they were much more entertaining and convincing than that ill-fated previous show of nearly 2 years ago. While still not being a sound I would purchase for record, songs like the title cut from latest album "Cult of the Dead" at least seemed to possess a sense of purpose rather than simplistic, uninteresting songs like a lot of their discography and similar band's often come across to me as. Not exactly an awakening but it's always nice to be pleasantly surprised and as the sense of boredom I had pessimistically expected during LotD's set never materialised my positive thoughts for the gig were seemingly coming true.



Musing to myself during KoK's set that the slow stomp of Obituary would be more of a friend to the sound system than KoK's clinical speed, it is with some regret that I report back these Floridian death metal legends were not as invigorating as expected. I've seen Obituary a few times now, with the band always solid rather than spectacular, but tonight with a sound strangely on the quiet side the sense of involvement in their music just wasn't there and the set drifted by with little to extract from it. Still covering Celtic Frost's "Circle of the Tyrants", John Tardy has always a DM happy chappy and an entertaining spectacle at that but this Obituary performance will have to go down as one of the not-so-greats. Still a legendary band, their work has already been done.


Amon Amarth

Reaching a position in the metal world that surely must even surprise the Swedes themselves, Amon Amarth are these days a tour de force live and on record. Not seeing some of the complaints made against them in recent live reviews by AP and PP (perhaps the larger venues on those occasions had something to do with it), the groove and hooks aplenty in AA's work and their boundless onstage energy always prove an appetising combination and with so many great songs to back all this up, the band invariably have the crowd eating out of their hands. Last year's brilliant "Twilight of the Thundergod" provided a large percentage of the setlist, which while it has many a great song including the title track and "Guardians of Asgaard", a greater coverage of their now quite extensive discography would have pleased a long-time fan like myself. Picking highlights is difficult through the consistency of the entire performance which seemed to fly by in 10 minutes but "Death In Fire" has always been a crowd-pleaser and was no less so tonight, showcasing all that is great about this band in 1 song: heavy, fast, melodic, catchy and full of spirit. The same could be said in fact of Amon Amarth's performance as a whole. Pleasingly excellent.


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