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Witnessed

An evening with Amon Amarth: 2011-08-19

14/10/11  ||  InquisitorGeneralis

Who: Amon Amarth
Where: Rams Head Live; Baltimore, MD. USA
When: August 19th, 2011

tour poster
Most bands are not exciting to see after the fourth or fifth concert. Amon Amarth are not most bands. They rape most bands and leave them for dead in a burning pile of church rubble. I will admit, though, that their most recent albums have not truly blown my dick off. “Twilight of the Thunder Dong” and “Syphilis Rising” are enjoyable, but not up the level of awesomeness set by “Versus the World” and “Once Sent from Lord K’s Anus”. Still, Amon Amarth have always delivered in concert and I would never forgive myself for missing a Friday night show right in my backyard. Especially on a special “Night With…” style event with over two hours of Ten Marth promised and no opening acts to suffer through. For this viking quest, I gathered an impressive warband consisting of my friends Holly and Melissa… and me. But, we did smoke a ton of dope and drank sweet, sweet hard cider before hand so, while we were only three, we did battle like three hundred. We entered the cavernous and crowded venue, Rams Head Live, with a few moments to spare and gladly gulped down close to a dozen Natural Lights before the price fucking doubled when the band came on.

And come on they did, all over the faces of several hundred excited Baltimorons. Everyone knew ”Surtur Rising” was coming first, and “War of the gods” is a fine opener indeed. Clearly, Amon Amarth were excited to play their new material and clearly the crowd didn’t know that much of it. That’s always the problem when a band plays an entire new album, it’s tough to keep the crowd into it the whole time. While Amon Amarth delivered each song with skill and energy (“Slaves of fear” was exceptional), things were dragging a bit by “The last stand of Frej”. People knew the classics were coming though, so the place remained packed and anxious after Johan and the boys finished “Doom over dead man” and took a few minutes break.

Amon Amarth
No one can accuse Amon Amarth of lacking stage presence!

Fan favorite “Twilight of the thunder god” kicked off the second set, and the crowd was noticeably more fired up for it. While I don’t love that song’s namesake album, it is a pretty fucking killer song. The breakdown especially kills, and the mosh pits reflected said killing. At this point, I was also happy to see my two non-metal friends greatly enjoying the hairy, sweaty, riffy, doublebass-filled experience that is Amon Amarth. For me, the concert hit Warp 5 when the old-school classic “The last with pagan blood” was unleashed. For people like me who have been big AA fans since before “With Oden on Our Side”, it is sweetness deluxe to hear something from one of the first three records. Same shit goes for “For the stabwounds in our backs” which came up and fucked shit up next.

Amon Amarth
Like a blackbird, I had a high view from the balcony!

“Runes to my memory” and “Asator” definitely gave the “WOOOS” fans something to jerk off about. While my dick stayed in my pants (for a little while) I love both of those tracks and the place was completely on Surtur’s fire at that point. To me, “Guardians of Asgaard” is a little too cheesy, but the crowd liked it and I was chanting along with them. I could think of a few better songs from “The Crusher” to play than “For the stabwounds in our backs”, but again, old-school is always cool to me. I don’t know what a Varyag is or where Miklagaard might be, so I got a beer during that one. I was happy to hear my favorite song from “Twilight…” played though, the epic “Embrace of the endless ocean”. No need for “Free will sacrifice”, enough was already played from “Twilight of Jacob and Edward’s Nutsack”. However, you can not ever hope to fuck with “Death in fire” and “The victorious march” back to back. I would love to hear some other material from “Once Sent From the Golden Hall” like “Friends of the Suncross” or “Amon Amarth” , but “The victorious march” completely dominates so I am not going complain too loudly, for fear of having an axe driven through my head by angry viking metalheads. The encore tunes were excellent but definitely no surprise. “Cry of the blackbirds” is always a hit, but I am getting a bit tired of hearing “Pursuit of vikings”. “Fate of Norns” needs to come back into the rotation.

Amon Amarth
I got closer for the second set, close enough to smell the mutton and mead in Johan’s mighty beard!

Overall, it was an excellent show and a good fucking time. I could use more early material and less shit from “Twilight of the Thunder God”, but seeing a band as intense as Amon Amarth pump out a twenty-five song setlist is special in its own right. The “Surtur Rising” stuff was cool to see live, but the first set definitely slowed down about half-way in. Next time I see Amon Amarth, I really want some new encores and some old songs to make their way back into the battle. But, for now my bloodlust is satiated.

  • Band:
    Johan Hegg: vocals
    Olavi Mikkonen: guitars
    Johan Söderberg: guitars
    Ted Lundström: bass
    Fredrik Andersson: drums
  • Set 1 – Surtur Rising:
    War of the Gods
    Töck’s Taunt – Loke’s Treachery Part II
    Destroyer of the Universe
    Slaves of Fear
    Live Without Regrets
    The Last Stand of Frej
    For Victory or Death
    Wrath of the Norsemen
    A Beast Am I
    Doom Over Dead Man
  • Set 2:
    Twilight of the Thunder
    The Last With Pagan Blood
    For The Stabwounds In Our Backs
    Runes to My Memory
    Asator
    Guardians of Asgaard
    The Sound of Eight Hooves
    Varyags of Miklagaard
    Embrace of the Endless Ocean
    Free Will Sacrifice
    Death in Fire
    Victorious March
  • Encore:
    Cry of the Black Birds
    Valhalla Awaits Me
    The Pursuit of Vikings