May 2, 2016 Amon Amarth Conquer NYC 4-22-16 w/ Entombed A.D. & Exmortus
Recently, the Swedish Metal warriors Amon Amarth unleashed their first ever concept album, entitled Jomsviking. Released via longtime label Metal Blade Records, the album features a tragic story that feeds on the two popular subjects of love and revenge. Their tenth overall studio offering, Jomsviking was released March 25th and has been receiving positive praise in the Metal community. Celebrating the landmark in their career, this past winter the band also announced a North American Tour which would see them team up with Swedish brothers Entombed A.D. and Californian band Exmortus. An epic lineup in the eyes of Extreme Metal fans, it picked up on April 7th at San Diego, California’s House of Blues, running through May 21st in Los Angeles, California at The Wiltern Theater. Nearly a month into the trek, Amon Amarth stopped in the heart of New York City, in Times Square, to visit Playstation Theater on Friday, April 22nd.
With fans packing into the theater, it was time for Exmortus to hit the stage. Formed in 2002, the band has recently released their fourth studio album, Ride Forth, via Prosthetic Records. Energized by the new record, it was not too long ago when Exmortus performed in New York City. In fact, it was back in January when they opened for Enforcer and Warbringer at the Gramercy Theatre. Made up of Jadran “Conan” Gonzalez (vocals/guitar), David Rivera (guitar), Mario Moreno (drums), and Michael Cosio (bass), the collective known as Exmortus have been touring relentlessly ever since to support the new material.
On this evening, the stage featured backdrops and displays of Ride Forth as the band ignited their set with “Rising,” from 2014’s Slave to the Sword, followed by newer song “For the Horde.” Engaging, they continued to move into “Foe Hammer” before Gonzalez took a moment to interact with the crowd, mentioning the new album, and moved into another newer track, “Death Tyrants.” As fans were warming up and enjoying Exmortus’ performance, it was sadly almost over.
Gonzalez asked the crowd if they liked Classical music, and they screamed in agreement. He continued to ask the audience if they liked Beethoven and moved into “Moonlight Sonata (Act 3),” as they turned Classical music into a Metal eruption. As they were opening for the Metal Kings Amon Amarth, it was rightfully suited for Exmortus to close their set with “Metal is King.” While there are currently no tour dates announced after the run with Amon Amarth, it is worth checking out Ride Forth.
With an intermission for a stage change, concert goers grabbed another drink, checked out the merchandise table, and before they knew it, it was time for Entombed A.D. It was back in 2014 when Entombed’s split announcement was made where frontman LG Petrov disbanded from the group and formed his own band called Entombed A.D as they released Back to the Front. The original Entombed formed in the late eighties, where many consider them pioneers of Scandinavian Death Metal. Since then, Petrov has become a notorious figure in the Metal scene as he continues to push the envelope even further. Expanding on the new chapter of history, Entombed A.D. recently released their second album, Dead Dawn, in February via Century Media Records. Ready to go, Petrov and his mates Olle Dahlstedt (drums), Victor Brandt (bass), and Nico Elgstrand (guitar) were ready to thrill the crowd with the newest tunes, and a few classics as well.
Knowing just how to please the crowd, they opened with the title track from Dead Dawn. Filling up with an imminent amount of energy, Petrov ran across the stage during the classic Entombed piece of “Stranger Aeons,” from Clandestine (1991), followed by “Second to None,” from 2014’s Back to the Front. The adrenaline continued to move along as Petrov took a few sips of his own brew and went into “Midas in Reverse,” and another classic soon followed with “Living Dead.” Petrov conversed with the crowd as he thanked everyone for being there.
Continuing to entice, Petrov mentioned the next track is for New York as they moved into “The Winner Has Lost.” As the set was winding down, they moved into two classic tracks with “Revel in Flesh,” from 1990s debut Left Hand Path, and the title track of Wolverine Blues (1993). While the set moved with a natural flow, Petrov was surprised by the crowd’s interaction and expressed so in his words. Shortly after, Petrov surprised the entire venue as he turned around and mooned the crowd. It was casually done as he continued to work the crowd, expressing there was one more song of the night and said, “God Bless you, Satan bless you, whoever blesses you.” Shortly after, the band moved into the final piece with title track of Entombed’s Left Hand Path. It was a fantastic set to say the least and Entombed A.D. will be touring overseas in Europe shortly after the North American visit.
During the next break, the curtain covered the stage as many fans were only able to guess what surprises were in store when Amon Amarth would enter. Formed in the mid-nineties, Amon Amarth has built a devoted fan base where a few consider them to be the gatekeepers of Extreme Metal. Rightfully so, because these Swedish warriors popularized Melodic Death Metal with tales twist of Viking mythology. With the recent release of Jomsviking, it only shows there is no sign of Amon Amarth slowing down as they ride a wave of international success. The lineup has been pretty consistent with Johan Hegg (vocals), Ted Lundström (bass), Johan Söderberg (guitar), and Olavi Mikkonen (guitar), however, it has been over a year since the band parted ways with Drummer Fredrik Andersson after seventeen years. To fill the void, they recruited October Tide’s Jocke Wallgren on drums, but an official replacement has not yet been revealed. Regardless, Amon Amarth was ready for an epic return to New York City.
As fans screamed for Amon Amarth, the curtain opened and a massive Viking helmet was displayed on the stage, followed by ancient steps on the sides. Amon Amarth brought Jomsviking to life, and this setup surpassed any fan’s expectations. Opening with “The Pursuit of Vikings,” from 2004’s Fate of Norns, Hegg was taken back by the crowd’s participation. In reaction he screamed out, “Holy fucking shit New York, that is fucking loud. Yeah, you guys can sing!” As fans yelled back, Hegg stated, “It does not matter if you don’t know the lyrics, it’s Death Metal, no one would know the difference!” The audience continued to sing along, or attempt to, until the end of the track. Then, “As Loke Falls,” from 2013’s Deceiver of the Gods, chimed in next with blistering guitar adrenaline. Hegg connected with everyone once again to yell along during the instrumental breakdown, provoking everyone to raise their fists in the air.
As the set was only warming up, it was time for Jomsviking material as they moved into the newer tracks “First Kill,” “The Way of Vikings,” and “At Dawn’s First Light.” Hegg wanted New York to sing the next piece as he introduced “Deceiver of the Gods.” This was before the backdrop behind the band changed to another Jomsviking warrior as they moved into the classic piece “Cry of the Black Birds,” from 2006’s With Oden on Our Side, followed by the newer offering “One Against All.” Thereafter, Vikings walked onto the platform in suited armor as the music transformed into the epic “Thousand Years of Oppression,” from 2002’s Versus the World. As the Vikings left the stage, the performance moved into a heavier direction with “Destroyer of the Universe.” Pumping up the audience, Hegg introduced the next track, “Death in Fire,” a fan-favorite from 2002’s Versus the World.
More unexpected events hit the stage as fog creeped onto the set during “Runes to My Memory.” The Vikings returned to the platform and took their stance on top of the stairs during “One Thousand Burning Arrows.” Making a quick reappearance, they vanished once more for “Father of the Wolf.” Brutality continued to pour out of Amon Amarth despite the set coming to a close as they moved into “War of the Gods.” This is when Hegg introduced the new member to the audience, Drummer Wallgren. Always good for a joke, Hegg stated he promised Wallgren was up there as the drum set was placed high on top of the Viking helmet. After the announcement, they moved into the final track, a jolt into the past with 1998’s “Victorious March.”
As the lights dimmed, fans cheered, wanting to hear more, and thankfully for them, Amon Amarth returned. Hegg looked into the audience and stated, “I guess we will play another one because you guys fucking deserve it. Back home in Sweden we have a saying, pour beer for a thirsty man, pour a beer for the tired because the beer inspires.” Hegg raised his beer out to the audience and continued to toast, “New York City, we raise our horns to you!” The audience raised their Beer, drinks, and horns into the air as the set moved into “Raise Your Horns.” Then, catching everyone off guard, Entombed A.D.’s Petrov walked onto the stage as Hegg yelled out to the crowd, “Raise up your Viking armor gear!” as the two of them participated in vocals on 2008’s “Guardians of Asgaard.” A thunderstorm appeared to enter the stage as Petrov walked off and the sounds of thunder as visuals of lightning displayed, ushering the finale of “Twilight of the Thunder God.” Taking the audience’s breath away, Hegg looked into the sea of people and said, “What an experience! Be safe, party on, and raise your horns!”
There is no doubt the New York Metal alliance agreed with Hegg’s final statement because it definite was an experience. Amon Amarth go above and beyond performing, they truly tell a story despite unifying different sections of their discography. With the tour winding down, Amon Amarth will be heading out overseas, but there are still a handful of dates beforehand.