Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Ten Metal Bands to See Before You Die: Amon Amarth

They come from the land of the ice and snow, from the midnight sun where the hot springs flow. The hammer of the gods will drive their ships to new lands, To fight the horde, singing and crying, "Valhalla, I am coming."

OK, so they're not real Vikings. That's like complaining that Robin Hood wasn't as merry the character that Errol Flynn played. The sensation of an Amon Amarth show is like being part of a flatlands-conquering Viking ship, except faster and probably a whole lot jollier. Real Vikings never drank beer out of their helmets, or urged the crowd into a singalong chant for their roadie Steve. And they certainly never rocked any riff-heavy, gargle-free Swedish death metal, or whipped their heads around in a headbanging circle that Dethklok's animators lifted for Metalocalypse. In the tradition of David Bowie pretending to be an alien, Amon Amarth join the great artists who created a new identity and brought it to life for the fans.

The last time I saw Amon Amarth, I remember hirsute frontman Johan Hegg (my first choice for the next Thor reboot) barging out to center stage and bellowing, "What a show we have for you tonight!" It's a statement that you've heard scores of times, but never before at a metal show. Then again, there aren't many metal shows that provide Amon Amarth's level of entertainment. When Amon Amarth pass their songwriting prime (and from the first sample of the upcoming Deceiver of the Gods, that day is still a long way off), one gets the feeling that their shows will still blow minds. On they sweep with threshing oar.

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