Amon Amarth

support Carcass + Hell
author PP date 04/12/13 venue Store Vega, Copenhagen, DEN

With tonight's storm raging in Denmark it can mean only one thing: viking metallers Amon Amarth's performance last night must have pleased Thor enough to bring him here to disrupt daily routines across the country. Though it probably would've been more fitting had the storm taken place on the actual night of the show. Along with them Amon Amarth have brought Hell and Carcass, but unfortunately due to preparations related to the Christmas party this weekend, I wasn't able to make it on time for their early 7pm support slot. My fellow colleague from Revolution Music did let me know, though, that I didn't miss anything special, so that's that. Instead, I arrive around ten minutes into British extreme metal legends Carcass, who are well on their way entertaining a sizable crowd at the nearly sold out Store Vega tonight.

Carcass headbanging


"This t-shirt is older than many of you" claims legendary Carcass vocalist Jeff Walker early on during their set, before launching into another conventional death metal song with few grindcore elements from circa 1990 in reference to the band's lengthy career as musicians, having formed back in 1985. They look very comfortable on the big stage, and like a band that usually headlines shows of this size if not bigger on festival grounds. Though their movement is limited to vicious headbanging in their static trio formation, this is not as big of an issue because their varied back catalogue takes care of keeping the audience on their toes throughout their 45 minute set - featuring lots of material from their first new album in 17 years, "Surgical Steel". On both sides of the band, two large square panels have been setup as projector screens, where the band's gory imagery is projected in a graphic slide-show of blood and deformed penises among other material not suitable for anyone under the age of 18, really.

Carcass vocalist Jeff Walker

It's an old school experience of the authentic kind, with material ranging from melodic death metal to grindcore and classic mid-tempo serpentine metal, all delivered through their pioneering extreme metal filter, of course. The songs are solid and feature a thick rumble, complex instrumentation and rich solos, which means their set is a varied experience that's unusually easy to get hypnotized by even for someone like me who hasn't ever properly spun a Carcass record in my player in the past. It's to their credit as songwriters that even as heavy and extreme as their songs are, they can still be get into even on your first time hearing them live. They proceed to dedicate a song to our king (King Diamond) at one point, and get the crowd to do some "HEY...HEY...HEY" chants accompanied by fist pumps, but otherwise their set is merely characterized by a solid showing of brute force, but not any acrobatics or noteworthy movement on stage.


  • 1. Buried Dreams
  • 2. Incarnated Solvent Abuse
  • 3. Unfit For Human Consumption
  • 4. This Mortal Coil
  • 5. Cadaver Pouch Conveyor System
  • 6. Genital Grinder / Exhume To Consume
  • 7. Corporal Jigsore Quandary
  • 8. Captive Bolt Pistol
  • 9. Ruptured In Purulence / Heartwork

Amon Amarth's Johan Hegg and his drinking horn

Amon Amarth

Earlier this summer Amon Amarth reigned as one of the best bands at Copenhell, partially because their Viking imagery is a perfect fit with the theme of the festival in general. Back then, their scene had been built into a true Viking armada, complete with a giant, climbable wooden ship in the middle of the stage, and plenty of banners setup in layers depicting other ships sailing through the stormy seas as if on an impending invasion. Tonight, probably due to limitations of Store Vega's stage, the stage is of less imposing structure, only consisting of a giant banner of the artwork for "Deceiver Of The Gods", and a couple of platforms painted as wavy seas on both sides of the band. It is from these platforms that the band members emerge one by one to the thunderous roar of the crowd, and begin playing "Father Of The Wolf" from the new album to a slightly mild reception from the crowd, this being a new song and all. But already by track two, "Deceiver Of The Gods", the crowd hums along the lead guitar melody as orchestrated by the "I can't hear you"-like pose of vocalist Johan Hegg, wielding his traditional Viking drinking horn on his side. It's the first back chilling moment of the evening, before pillars of smoke effects rise in front of the band, which don't cease for what feels like the duration of the entire show.

Johan Hegg of Amon Amarth

"Vil ni ha metal??" ("Do you want metal"), growls Hegg with his thick Swedish at the crowd who respond with a resounding yes. "Bra!" (Good) - and off we go with "Death In Fire", which has a wild light show with red, yellow, and white strobe lights flashing in rapid-fire manner to create the illusion that the stage is burning. This is probably achieved with real fire in venues that allow it, but Vega has a strict policy against pyro-effects so they went with the next best thing. Later on, the first props arrive on stage after a moment of darkness, as giant rune stones are hauled on stage for "Runes To My Memory". The lights stay dimmed to allow for the engraved runes to glow red in the darkness, which is a neat sight. Given that the Viking theme is already so encompassed in everything Amon Amarth does, the extra props that some might call gimmicky is what really moves their set from being good into being great usually, so it's sad that tonight we're only left with the Rune stones and, later on, with an enormous Thor's hammer as waved by Hegg, instead of the usual extra imagery that the band adds to their festival sets.

Horns up Copenhagen

Amon Amarth are seasoned veterans by now, meaning many songs and passages are juxtaposed with classic crowd control from "HEY... HEY... HEY" fist pumping to headbangs, throwing horns up in the air together, et cetera. All of this feels natural and not forced, yet it is absolutely necessary for the band to do this tonight because it's a Wednesday, so the crowd's reaction is much milder than previous times I've seen Amon Amarth play. Viking metal is music best experienced drinking, after all, and many of us have work or school in the morning. "Jump like you've never jumped before", Hegg commands, and the floor of Vega feels like it's bending under the pressure from a thousand people bouncing in unison. "Guardians Of Asgaard" arrives shortly hereafter, receiving a great crowd response where many are chanting along.

Amon Amarth

The banner behind the band is dropped twice tonight; once to feature artwork for "Surtur Rising" for the appropriate songs from that album, and finally for "Twilight Of The Thunder Gods" as we near towards the show. Right after the encore, the lights, smoke machines, and sounds simulate a thunderstorm with lightnings flashing through clouds (from the smoke), which is not quite spectacular but a well-executed play nonetheless. Here, the aforementioned Thor's hammer makes an appearance as "Twilight Of The Thunder God" sets the venue off into the biggest sing along tonight. "The Pursuit Of Vikings" follows, where crowd again hums the guitar riffs loudly, and after 90 minutes of Viking metal we're done with a setlist heavily geared towards new material, with 12 tracks from their last four albums alone, and virtually none from their early albums at all. In the end, Amon Amarth have played a strong, if somewhat uncharacteristically another day in the business type of show tonight, with less reference points available than at their previous shows. Still, this is a show of force, and being able to control a Store Vega crowd this size with unwavering confidence like they do is no small achievement.



  • 1. Father of the Wolf
  • 2. Deceiver of the Gods
  • 3. Death in Fire
  • 4. Free Will Sacrifice
  • 5. As Loke Falls
  • 6. Runes to My Memory
  • 7. Varyags of Miklagaard
  • 8. The Last Stand of Frej
  • 9. Guardians of Asgaard
  • 10. Blood Eagle
  • 11. Warriors of the North
  • 12. Destroyer of the Universe
  • 13. Cry of the Black Birds
  • 14. War of the Gods
  • --Encore:--
  • 15. Twilight of the Thunder God
  • 16. The Pursuit of Vikings

Photos by: Peter Troest

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