Amon Amarth, Arch Enemy, At the Gates, Grand Magus
Wednesday October 16, 2019 07:00 pm EDT
From the venue:Heavy metal isn’t just music: it’s a way of life. No current band embodies the spirit of metal’s immersive culture with more fervour and might than Amon Amarth: Sweden’s celebrated Viking overlords and undisputed modern masters of epic heavy metal. Today, Amon Amarth stand tall and unassailable: over 25 years into a career that has seen them evolve from humble origins in the dark, dank rehearsal rooms of their native Tumba to their current status as explosive festival headliners and one of the metal world’s most widely adored bands. Their most recent album, 2015’s Jomsviking, hit the #1 spot in Germany’s official album chart and swiftly became their most successful worldwide release to date. As a result, Amon Amarth are very much at the height of their powers as they prepare to return to action in 2019, with their biggest, boldest and most bombastic musical statement to date. Formed in 1992, Amon Amarth became modern metal greats the hard way. Ruthlessly dedicated to creating new music and taking it out on the road, the Swedes steadily built a formidable reputation as a ferocious live band and, as the years passed, were increasingly recognised for their recorded achievements too. Since the dawn of the millennium, Amon Amarth have been unstoppable. Breakthrough releases like 2006’s With Oden On Our Side and its now legendary follow-up, 2008’s Twilight Of The Thunder God, further cemented their popularity throughout the metal world, while the band’s stage show evolved with each successive tour, transforming into one of modern metal’s truly great spectacles. All of this and more has been captured in the band’s recent live DVD and documentary, The Pursuit Of Vikings: 25 Years In The Eye Of The Storm, which put a stylish seal on one of modern music’s most unlikely success stories. Meanwhile, in 2019, Amon Amarth – completed by vocalist Johan Hegg, guitarists Olavi Mikkonen and Johan Söderberg, bassist Ted Lundström and drummer Jocke Wallgren - know that expectations for their next move are at an all-time high. The excellent news is that the band’s 11th studio album, the aptly-named Berserker, is guaranteed to have all discerning metal fans punching the air with joy. Comprising 12 monstrous Viking metal anthems that bulge with irresistible melodic hooks, bursts of thrilling savagery and moments of spine-tingling dynamic drama, it’s the results of the huge surge of creativity and a collective desire to keep moving forward with no compromise. From the disarming melodrama and explosive riffing of opener Fafner’s Gold and the brutish simplicity of the rampaging Crack The Sky to the epic fury of Raven’s Flight and the grim, gritty storytelling of Ironside and Skoll and Hati, Berserker is an album full of trademark Amon Amarth bluster and bite, but with every aspect of the band’s sound somehow refined, sonically enhanced and made vastly more potent, both in terms of metal oomph and emotional power. Neatly summing up the spirit behind these exhilarating new songs is the album’s semi-title track, The Berserker At Stamford Bridge: a visceral but vivid historical tale, recounting the Vikings last stand against the English army in 1066 and the mind-bending heroics of one axe-wielding warrior.