Amon Amarth

support Entombed
author PP date 15/10/09 venue Store Vega, Copenhagen, DEN

Anyone wondering whether the Danish metal scene has swine flu or not should've been in my shoes when I entered the Amon Amarth show about half an hour after the doors opened. Frankly, I was surprised, if not actually blown away, by the impressive amount of people crowding out the 1,500 capacity Store Vega about half an hour before a single band had entered the stage. You see, normally a Store Vega experience is rather relaxing, you get to stroll around vast areas of empty space to find just the right spot to see the show, but apparently Danish Amon Amarth/viking metal fans deemed otherwise by showing up early in a huge crowd. In fact, it was difficult to even get inside of the large hall through any of the three entrances because it was so packed. I'm not complaining really, however, as it made me feel quite good inside considering how many half-empty shows I've witnessed as of late. Anyway, Evile should've started things off, but only a couple days before the Danish date, their bassist tragically died whilst on tour for undisclosed reasons (RIP), obviously forcing the band to drop off the tour. Lineup slightly weakened, yes, but still two excellent bands to look forward to, nonetheless.

Entombed

While I was observing the sea of horns across the whole Store Vega floor, trying to figure out what the hell was happening on the stage thanks to the constant flashing strobe lighting Entombed utilized throughout their set, I couldn't help but think about how fucking metal Entombed are in comparison to almost all other bands I've seen live and/or heard of. The gnarling roar of their frontman - an Evile-shirt wearing viking bear disguised as a human I swear - didn't even pause in between the songs, the only thing i heard throughout their set was in the vein of "AARRHGLGLLORROORAOROOOAROOROR" - not helped by the fact that he elected to speak in his native tongue Swedish which to start out with is fuckin' difficult to understand. But as I'm watching the band pummel through their motherfucking heavy barrage of viking metal riffs and songs, I couldn't help but think how they make every deathcore, and even most death metal bands, look/sound like little crying girls who've just been stolen a lollipop from their hands. Emtombed didn't need to use breakdowns to be heavy, their wall of galloping sound was enough to convince me that I'm watching a fucking metal band and not bunch of fashion-aware sissies on stage. Entombed's set was pure fucking rumble metal. But as refreshing as it may have been to have oneself pushed to place, too much is too much on any standards. The band played for like a fucking full hour and that's way, way too much for a support band, and the "I'M A FUCKING BEAR I WILL EAT YOUR CHILDREN" routine did get somewhat tiresome towards the end, subtracting a grade or two from their performance.

Amon Amarth

After a short waiting period, it was time for tonight's main event: Amon Amarth, who last time visited Denmark in support of Slayer and were impressive enough to drag me to watch their headlining show almost a year later. The lights dimmed, the intro music began, and we were for the first time tonight treated to a properly illuminated version of Amon Amarth's backdrop, which features the front man (or at least it looks incredibly like him) in a distinctly viking setting, bearing an axe while grabbing a sea dragon's tongue in a stormy setting that makes Hurricane Katrina feel like you're back on 2nd grade. Basically, fucking awesome in every way. The first song was predictably "Twilight Of The Thunder God" from their newest album, perhaps one of the catchiest songs the band has written to date, immediately setting the tone for the rest of the show. I could've sworn the crowd morphed into a wallowing sea of headbangs, mosh pits, and devils horns already this early to the show.

Now I don't know enough of old Amon Amarth material to cite all the songs they played, but let me just say that their light and smoke show was really fucking good. Especially the tower-shaped rising smoke effects made a lasting impression on me, especially because they were supplemented with flashing red lights underneath to provide an explosion/fire effect when necessary. A good example of great light/smoke usage could be seen during the intro to "Death In Fire", where the vocalist would shout that the next song is called "DEATH....IN" to which the crowd would thunderously respond to "FIRE" simultaneous to the "fire" effect created by the smoke and the red strobe lighting. Awesome stuff really. At a later point in the show, all the band members submerged into a smoke cloud, only to re-appear simultaneously into a synchronized headbanging session where I could've sworn there was more hair flying around the stage than human flesh. Entombed may have engaged in similar activity throughout their set but not nearly as effectively as this.

And as if Amon Amarth's entirely solid set wasn't convincing enough alone, they introduced the bear-like Entombed vocalist to guest during "Guardians Of Asgaard". Just as I had expected, his monstrously rumbling voice drowned the original Amon Amarth vocalist entirely during the entire song, but it was still cool to watch him on stage giving an Entombed treatment vocally to an Amon Amarth song. He disappeared quickly after the song, and at a later point Amon Amarth dedicated a song to Evile as a sign of respect, receiving thunderous applause and masses of devils horns from the audience in response. Every now and then, the singer would also sip from his massive viking horn, presumably filled with alcoholic content, perfecting a fully viking night worthy of an hour and 15 minutes of music, featuring music from lots of different Amon Amarth eras. Can't fault the performance at all really, anyone who was there will surely tell you they'll be going again next time they're here. Here's to KB Hallen next time!

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