Amon Amarth, Huntress & Savage Messiah – Assembly, Leamington Spa – 30/01/2015

Tonight’s gig seemed to be a long time in arriving – I’d been hearing good reports for several weeks from friends who had been to earlier dates on the tour – this was a pretty long UK tour before the bands head over to Europe.  It’s a great lineup – three great bands on one bill.

savage messiahThe night kicked off with Savage Messiah.  Happily by the time they came on there was already a good crowd and this grew steadily during their set – it’s always good to see fans arriving early to check out the opening bands at gigs, and especially so when the band is as good as Savage Messiah.  The band are here to warm the crowd up and that’s what they do as they blast out a short six song set of top quality thrash metal.  It’s usual for bands to play a set with a good proportion of songs being from their latest album, but tonight Savage Messiah ignore their earlier albums completely and play six songs from their latest album (2014’s “The Fateful dark”).  You can’t fault them for that given how well they go down with the crowd.  An excellent start for the night.

Savage Messiah setlist:

Cross of Babylon
Scavengers of Mercy
The Fateful Dark
Minority of One

huntressNext up were Huntress, not that you could tell easily since they played in half darkness.  Things got off to a poor start when it took half a song for the sound engineer to turn Jill’s microphone up to a level that we could actually hear, but then things got very good very quickly.  It’s Huntress that were the big draw for me on this tour – I love Amon Amarth but saw them more recently than Huntress, plus Huntress have a new album on the way so I was hoping for some new material tonight.  Jill Janus is a great front-woman – she has a superb voice which is powerful and with a great range and is able to let out screams that seem to go on forever, and on top of that she’s got a great stage presence as she prowls the stage, with a hood making her seem like a witch at times (certainly she has the witches cackling laugh down to a fine art).  Backing her up, the rest of the band are in great form and the set seems to fly past.  We did get some new material, a song called “Flesh” which sounded great.

It was nice to hear her giving a shout out to a couple of fans who had given up their table in the nearby pub before the show so Huntress could have a meal – this is a band that does care about the fans and after their set Jill was at the merch stand talking to fans and signing stuff.

Huntress setlist:

Destroy your life
Harsh times on planet stoked
Spell Eater
Starbound Beast
I want to fuck you to death
Eight of swords

amon amarthFinally it was time for Amon Amarth.  Both Huntress and Savage Messiah had gone down really well with the crowd, but when Amon Amarth took to the stage the cheers were louder than ever.  With the imposing figure of Johan Hegg towering over the crowd the band are straight into “Father of the wolf”, starting as they mean to go on – delivering a storming set of viking metal.  A lot of the time they’re a mass of hair flying as they windmill or headbang as they play.  Amon Amarth are equally at home on the big festival stages and in small venues like this and show they don’t need gimmicks like their viking longship to put on a good show.  With Amon Amarth there are no ballads or soft gentle songs, it’s non stop heavy viking metal, and the fans love it.  It’s a superb performance from them that includes four songs from their current album as well as four from “Twilight of the thunder god” plus songs from their earlier albums.
It’s a great set from the headliners, and it’s great to see a band like this doing a long UK tour covering smaller venues across the UK when they have  played far larger venues on past tours but in a lot less places – this tour helped remind people in some of the smaller towns and cities around the UK that some metal bands do care about them, and with three great bands on one bill it was a great night out for the fans.

Amon Amarth setlist:

Father of the Wolf
Deceiver of the Gods
Live for the Kill
Free Will Sacrifice
For Victory or Death
As Loke Falls
Bleed for the Ancient Gods
Death in Fire
The Last Stand of Frej
Guardians of Asgaard
Shape Shifter
Cry of the Black Birds
War of the Gods
Victorious March

Twilight of the Thunder God
The Pursuit of Vikings

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About Ant May

I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.
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