Amon Amarth

support Entombed
author EW date 01/11/09 venue Koko, London, UK

Why is it no surprise that Amon Amarth are one of our most frequently reviewed live performers here on Rockfreaks.net, as well as one of the bands that could now justifiably be lauded as one of the naughties most important and successful extreme metal bands? I'll tell you why: because the band consistently delivers the goods on record and live, always without fail. Oh, and they tour like sons of bitches; Amon Amarth became this night the first band I have seen 10 times. I think that deserves some kind of commendation.

Entombed

As mentioned by PP in the Copenhagen review Entombed opened the show with a longer set following the untimely death of Mike Alexander of Evile whilst the tour was in Sweden, which gave me even more time to assess my long-held indifference towards these legends of the death metal world. Repeated listens to the genre classic "Left Hand Path" and two previous live experiences including one recently at Bloodstock Open Air have not generated much excitement in me for the band, which this support slot at Amon Amarth only further confirmed. My positioning near the bar at the back (those £3.90 cans of beer still cause severe mental anguish) may not have helped in getting involved with what was going on onstage but the death 'n' roll-isms being blasted out found much opportunity to leave me cold and unmoved, again. Entombed's saving grace is the warm and embracing frontmanship of LG Petrov who stumbles around like a younger Ozzy being the key focal point for the band, whom I still feel would benefit greatly from having a second guitarist. Other than Johan Hegg making an appearance for one song towards the end, Entombed's set was largely devoid of highlights for me, but the large reception garnered from those nearer the action might have indicated many others felt differently.

6

Amon Amarth

With their purposeful entrance onto stage, Amon Amarth always look like they mean business, and after years of heavy touring this Swedish viking machine are well oiled in the practices of putting on a good and entertaining performance. Long hair all round, beer drinking horns, synchronised headbanging, the expected appearance of LG Petrov for “Guardians Of Asgaard”, and for those of a cello disposition, a guest appearance from Perttu Kivilaakso of Apocalyptica fame for a number of songs, which by the sounds of my fellow gig-goers was a much appreciated addition to the usual live Amon Amarth show.

I find it hard to have many gripes with one of my favourite bands around today, but if there were to be one it would be the heavy concentration of recent material which dominates the bands' sets these days, with little coming from "The Crusher", "The Avenger" or "Once Sent From The Golden Hall", in comparison to culls from the latter few. This might be expected from most bands, but then most bands don't have a back catalogue as solid as Amon Amarth do. With my misgivings about the setlist and the questionable sound, where from my presence at the back of the main floor the two guitars ranged from 'MIA' to 'quiet', tonight's show turned out to be some way short of my best from ten Amon Amarth experiences. Personal highlights however included the fantastic "Bastards Of A Lying Breed" (more off "The Crusher", please!) and, as ever, the anthemic "death in.....death in.....DEATH IN FIRE!!" in a show that evidenced the size and popularity of these Swedes come the end of 2009, a fact which is only likely to increase with hopefully album number eight to come out next year.

All photos courtesy of Greg Readings.

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