Amon Amarth Live at Classic Grand

aa6Amon Amarth’s Longboat crashed into The Classic Grand, Glasgow on Tuesday night as they continued their rampage through the UK and Europe. And what a night of powerful and aggressive Viking Metal it turned out to be.

First up though, we had Savage Messiah. Very often when you go to a show which has more than one support act, the first guys up generally play to a (pretty much) empty auditorium. So it’s testament to the quality of lineup on Tuesday night that when Savage Messiah kicked the evening off, the venue was already pretty busy. The Londoners have earned a tremendous reputation for their live performances and showed again here why their star is very much on the rise. If you haven’t done so already, you really should get a copy of their latest album The Fateful Dark. You won’t be disappointed

Next up was Huntress. The Californian five piece blew through a 10 song set which included tracks from their first two albums plus material from a forthcoming release. And what a star lead singer Jill Janus is! Quite apart from her extraordinary voice, wild hair, lonnnnng nails and piercing eyes, she absolutely owns the stage. A highlight of their set was Jill describing a chance meeting with Lemmy from Motorhead. She asked Lemmy to write some lyrics for a song. Lemmy duly obliged and the result was ‘I want to Fuck You To Death’. Not particularly subtle, but a damn fine song nonetheless!

aa3And then the Vikings came……

First thing you notice about Amon Amarth when they take the stage is just how bloody big they are! Most bands nowadays seem to consist of small, slightly build stick insects, who look like they could do with a right good feed. Not these guys. If you were to give someone a pencil and a (large) sheet of paper, then asked them to draw a Viking warrior, they would draw Johan Hegg.

By the time Johan and the guys exploded into Farther of the Wolf, the venue was absolutely packed to it’s 550 capacity. At the time I thought that they could have sold out a much larger venue, such is the demand to see Amon Amarth live. However Classic Grand is big enough to make it worthwhile for the band to come to town, and small aa2enough to ensure that it was never going to be anything other than a sell out on a miserably cold Scottish Tuesday night. And the atmosphere generated by the packed audience in the intimate venue was nothing short of electric. The place was literally bouncing.

Obviously there’s no show without punch and The band’s considerable wallop was provided by Johan Soderberg and Olavi Mikkonen on guitars, Ted Lundstrom on bass and Fredrik Andersson on Drums. Each one of them bringing their own bit of thunder to the show. Although the current tour follows the release of 2013’s Deceiver of the Gods, Tuesdays set included just four tracks from that album in the seventeen songs they performed. But the upside was that we also got to hear material from throughout their nine album, seventeen year career. The band describes their last album as being the most powerful, dynamic and downright aggressive they’ve ever done. And listening to live performances of Father of the Wolf, Deceiver of the Gods, As Loke Falls and Shape Shifter, its hard to disagree. But I have to say I liked some of the older tracks such as Death in Fire when the intensity was turned down a notch.

Although the show started at a frenetic pace, it continued to gather momentum, with Johan Hegg working the audience into a headbanging frenzy. By the time he closed the show with Twilight of the Thunder God and The Pursuit of Vikings, you get the feeling aa10that if he asked the audience to follow him out the venue and ransack Glasgow, they would’ve followed. Definitely one of the most charismatic frontmen I’ve seen in a long time.

So, the first gig of the year and it was flat out awesome. It’s going to take a right good ‘un to top that!