October 8, 2019 Amon Amarth Sets Denver Ablaze 10-4-19 w/ Grand Magus, At the Gates, & Arch Enemy
So before delving into band histories and show reviews, one needs a bit of ancient history. The Berzerkers or Bear Warriors of the Vikings are the center of the lesson. Their legend and history leave one with the impression that these warriors who drew their strength from bears, were in no way champions to be trifled with. During their moments of rage in battle their sheer animalistic side took over, howling and tearing their enemies to shreds.
If this scene sounds familiar, than you must be having PTSD flashbacks of the mosh pits erupting across North America at the Berzerker North American Tour with headliners Amon Amarth who are joined by Arch Enemy, At the Gates, and Grand Magnus. Like their Viking ancestors, Amon Amarth has been sailing the touring seas for over three decades, taking over each city with bludgeoning riffs and crushing drums. With album such as 1999’s The Avenger, 2006’s With Oden on Our Side, and 2019’s masterpiece Berzerker; Amon Amarth has defied the odds. Music this brutal yet coursing with hymn like melodies should not be selling out larger venues across North America. Nevertheless, with legions of die hard Metal fans lining up for every tour and purchasing every release, there is no question that Amon Amarth has reached a level of recognition few in extreme Metal ever reach. Like their Berzerker ancestors, they leave nothing but a bloody mess where ever they dock.
As the tour invaded Denver, Colorado at the Fillmore Auditorium on Friday, October 4th, legions of Oden Hammer adorned necklaces and shirts stretched as far as the eye could see as an army of fans descended to the venue. With a tour this massive, fans were foaming at the mouth to hit the pit, and not just for the mighty Amon Amarth, but the whole lineup offered a perfectly balanced onslaught of brutality.
First up was fellow Swedish veterans Grand Magus out supporting their 2019 album, Wolf God. While this was their first time playing Denver, from the starting chords of “I, The Jury,” fans were locked in and hair was in full banging motion. How could they not? As they coursed through tracks such as “Iron Will” and “Like the Oar Strike the Water” they proved that a trio – Janne “JB” Christoffersson on guitars and vocals, Mats “Fox” Skinner on bass, and Ludwig “Ludde” Witt – could pummel your senses without breaking a sweat. After popping the Denver cherry, this is one band that will have fans demanding their return.
Taking no prisoners, the band got the pit rolling with the title-track from their latest album, 2018’s To Drink From the Night Itself. Martin Larsson’s and Jonas Stalhammar’s guitar work was feeding off each other and had the crowd in a full frenzy. Despite some sound issues with Tomas Linberg’s mic, it most certainly was fixed for their follow-up track the classic “Slaughter of the Soul.” Overall, 24 years of Metal history was on display with tracks such as “Cold,” “Blinded by Fear,” and “At War With Reality,” yet this was only the second band of the night!
Slamming right into the set, Arch Enemy had the mosh pit in full swing with a track off of pure empowerment of 2017’s “The World Is Your’s” from the album Will to Power. Dominating the stage musically and vocally, it was clear to see why Angela Gossow helped pick Alyssa White-Gluz to carry on the torch as the bands’ front woman in her place. Playing other songs such as “My Apocalypse” and “You Will Know My Names,” as the band closed out with “Nemesis,” the audience was now ready and completely warmed up to close out the night with Amon Amarth.
Curtains up, the band got the audience fully ready playing Iron Maiden’s “Run To The Hills.” Once the first chorus ended, the curtain dropped and waiting was the imposing maniacal grin of Vocalist Johan Hegg unleashing the first song of their set, “Raven’s Flight.” The band’s massive sound and sonic speed sent an eruption through the pits and bodies rained down in a stream of crowd-surfers. The band did not take long to go back in their catalog following up with a bruising track, “Runes to My Memory,” from 2006’s With Oden By Our Side. Pummeling the audience with tracks like “Crack the Sky,” “The Way of Vikings,” and the mind-melting “Guardians of Asgard,” it was clear that Amon Amarth had little interest in letting this crowd catch its breath.
Through and through, this tour proved in one night to be the most brutal one you can endure this fall. With plenty of dates coming up, this is one not to miss. So grab your Viking helmets and get ready to storm the musical shores with the Berzerker North American Tour!