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Saturday, 24 January 2015

Another Point Of View: Amon Amarth (Review By Nick)

Amon Amarth - Thekla, Bristol.

On what was becoming a monthly pilgrimage to Bristol, we headed this time to see the mighty Amon Amath… on a boat no less. Throughout the previous 24 hours there was much debate as to the fitness of front man Johan Hegg, as the previous night, due to illness, he was not able to perform with his loyal crew. Leaving Huntress lead singer Jill to step in. Did we want to see or hear this? …God no! Thankfully word broke on social media that Johan was to be performing that night, leading to our great leader [*blushes* Ed] Matt stating; “thank f**k for that, 50% Johan is better than 100% Jill” Well-said sir! Well said indeed.

Savage Messiah and Huntress

Due to all of us having the, um… experience of seeing Huntress and Savage Messiah live we had initially planned to stay in the pub and give them a miss, however due to the nature and size of the Thekla we decided to head in a little early. Catching what was left of the Messiah set we got what we have seen many many times before as they seem to follow us wherever we may roam; generic heavy metal with little substance. This also meant that we had the entire of Huntress to stand through, which for me is more annoying than anything as the work put in from the band is actually pretty good and does get your head bobbing, unfortunately every time the tuneless screeching voice of Jill arrives, it ruins any momentum the lads get going in my eyes… she really does ruin this band for me, and I love female fronted bands! So to the Thekla’s bar we adjourned to wait for Amon to take stage.
Amon Amarth

This being the fifth time I have had the pleasure of seeing Amon Amarth, this occasion particularly excited me, as for some reason the band had chosen to do this what they called an “excursion” in tiny venues. This would give us the opportunity to see Amon in the raw flesh without all the pyro’s and stage sets... back to basics. 
Entering the stage to rapturous applause and shouts from the 300+ crowd the band broke swiftly into a set consisting of tracks from all eight of their albums, starting with Farther Of The Wolf, and damn were the Swedish metalers on form?! Had you not know of Johans illness you would never have guessed it with the performance he gave. The set consisted of what might as well have been a fan chosen best of set with tracks such as Live For The Kill, Death In Fire and Guardians Of Asgaard. The incredible thing about Amon Amarth is that they have formula that they use for every song, yet somehow have so much variety. A catchy lead riff from Olavi and Ted to open, followed by a crunching breakdown backed by Fredrik on the drums and the odd solo thrown in to break things up and repeat, with the power strength and rawness of Johan's voice thrown in on top it really does complete the package. As the set progressed it was clear to see the Johan's voice was suffering as he spoke between songs, however this was in no way conveyed into the singing. As the set drew to a close the crowd were a little less energetic due to the always-raging heat in the Thekla yet the final cards played by Amon were enough to spring anyone into life. One final tirade of; Victorious March, Twilight Of The Thundergods and Pursuit Of The Vikings gave the fans everything they wanted to hear, Amon's best anthems to date with a band truly on top form. 
Despite the fine display from Amon Amarth there did seem to be something missing, and alas I believe that is all the pomp that usually comes along with this mighty Swedish band. Amon has spoilt us over the years by not just repeated fine live performances, but also at times phenomenal visual displays to accompany them, and this may have become a proverbial shot in ones own foot, as without them there is that bit of emptiness lingering in their performance. Regardless of this Amon showed their roots and why they have become the massive brand they are today in the metal community today, as well as showing us how far they have come from the days in Swedish rock clubs. They can get down and dirty as good as any other band for sure! While did appreciate and truly enjoy the opportunity too see Amon Amarth in a more intimate setting, in future I would like to resume the normal service and continue to be spoilt by these Swedish legends in their full onstage glory. 8/10 Illness? What illness?!


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