Friday, April 22, 2016

Amon Amarth at the PlayStation Theater

Lars Göran Petrov (left) of opening act Entombed A.D.
joined Amon Amarth onstage for "Guardians of Asgaard."
Amon Amarth formed in 1992 as a melodic death metal band in Tumba, Sweden. The band took its name from J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings,  where Amon Amarth is Sindarin for Mount Doom, a volcano in Middle-earth. The band's lyrics mostly tell tales of Norse mythology and the Viking era. Amon Amarth's 10th and most recent studio album, Jomsviking, released March 25, 2016, is the band's first concept album, a tragic story of love and revenge. The band is presently composed of vocalist Johan Hegg, guitarists Olavi Mikkonen and Johan Söderberg, and bassist Ted Lundström.

When the curtain opened at the PlayStation Theater tonight, the audience saw Amon Amarth's impressive new stage set. The set design was a massive Viking helmet, upon which sat the touring drummer, Joakim "Jocke" Wallgren. Curved staircases rose along the two sides of the helmet for band members and Viking actors to perch upon. Yes, the set intermittently included two helmeted Vikings, who dueled during one song. Opening with "The Pursuit of Vikings"  from 2004's Fate of Norns album, the melodic riffs were sweet but heavy as the long-haired band members engaged in copious hair spinning. Towards the end of the song, Hegg encouraged the fans to sing along, even if the fans did not know the lyrics because "it's death metal; no one would know the difference!" Unexplainably, audience members tossed drinks onto the stage, and Hegg tumbled on the wet floor during the third song, recovering quickly and sending roadies to wipe the stage with towels. Outside of Hegg's grizzly growl, however, the band sounded more like classic metal or thrash metal than death metal. Twin guitar leads, galloping mid-tempo rhythms and chant-worthy choruses made for a fluid 19-song set. The strong metal performance laced with spectacle made for a memorable concert.

Visit Amon Amarth at www.amonamarth.com.