I was privileged ,way back in 2005 whilst trudging around The Assembly Rooms in Derby during Bloodstock to stumble upon the U.K. debut gig of a then pretty much unknown Amon Amarth. Standing in a crowd of less than 100 people I remember being totally blown away by what I had witnessed and have been a fan ever since.
As far as I’m aware this is their first indoor festival appearance since and with a packed stage one crowd anticipating one of the ‘must see’ sets of the Hammerfest weekend I was as excited as anyone.
The lights dim, the crowd roar and the band walk on to a stage illuminated by Rune lettering and power in to set opener War Of The Gods, vocalist Johan Hegg in total control from the offset, his imposing stature a definite visual focal point.
Of the newer material drawn from the current album Surtur Rising ,the highlight would have to be Destroyer Of The Universe which surely ranks as one of the bands best tracks for some time. The set throws up plenty of older favourites as well mind, Pursuit Of Vikings, Fate Of Norns, Cry Of The Blackbirds, the list goes on, all held together by the twin guitar engine room of Johan Soderberg and Olavi Mikkonen.
The bands sound has been honed over a period of some 14 years and the confidence in their ability is plain for all to see, a ’If it aint broke don’t fix it’ formula of bludgeoning riffs, thunderous drums, Death Metal growls a plenty holds the crowd until the triple assault of Death In Fire, Twilight Of The Thunder God and Guardians Of Asgaard close a truly memorable set.
It’s been a fair few centuries since the Vikings sailed to the North Wales coast but hopefully these Norsemen will be back very soon.
Current release Surtur Rising is available now via Metal Blade.
Photos courtesy of Anthony May and Petrina Bower.