Review: Amon Amarth @ House of Blues (Cleveland, OH)

The ever brutal (viking) metal band from Sweden, Amon Amarth, packed a crowded House of Blues on May 1st that was full of horns (literally and figuratively), beer, impressive lighting, and you know, heavy, heavy death metal. If you're not too familiar with them, Amon Amarth have a reputation as being a true contender and powerhouse in their genre. Melodic guitar riffs that captivate the lyrics of a song and an image that you wouldn't think twice on replicating. They truly own this concept from the studio to the stage.

Coming off their recent March release entitled, "Jomsviking", which is slightly different from previous releases, as it's considered a full concept story album of love and revenge based on the history of the jomsvikings, it's a track-by-track adventure of a merciless man and a girl he wants. Frontman, Johan Hegg describes it better in his own words.

It’s a pretty simple story where a young man is in love with a girl but unfortunately she’s being married off. He accidentally kills a man when this happens and he has to flee,” … “But he swears to have revenge and win her back. He can’t let go of the past. He feels that he’s been wronged and his life has been destroyed. The story of the Jomsviking is the background – it’s the way he finds to go back and claim his revenge. The way the story evolves is not a happy story… it’s a tragedy, I guess! But I like sad endings, because they’re the ones that affect you the most.

As the curtain draws open, the lights dramatically expose a stage set with a viking helmet, equipped with horns surrounded by castle-like walls on each side. The evil red eyes light up and smoke begins to surround the stage. War is coming. The lights fade to black. Amon Amarth's sensational moody melody intros the venue to where we hear the revealed strums of guitars of "The Pursuit of Vikings" as the band takes the stage.

  1. The Pursuit of Vikings
  2. As Loke Falls
  3. First Kill
  4. The Way of Vikings
  5. At Dawn's First Light
  6. Deceiver of the Gods
  7. Cry of the Black Birds
  8. One Against All
  9. Thousand Years of Oppression
  10. Destroyer of the Universe
  11. Death in Fire
  12. Runes to My Memory
  13. One Thousand Burning Arrows
  14. Father of the Wolf
  15. War of the Gods
  16. Victorious March
  17. Raise Your Horns
  18. Guardians of Asgaard
  19. Twilight of the Thunder Gods

This is considered a small stage for the Swedes, as they really amp up their stages with fire, explosions, and vastly bigger props. Let me say this before I leave you with the photos and this ISN'T an exaggeration. You'll never hear peer "power" until you heard the roars of Johan's voice as he growled and grinned his way through the 2 hour long set. The mighty and dominance he expels feels like thunder rumbling throughout your body.

A huge thank you to Liz over at Earsplit PR for allowing me to shoot Amon Amarth. I wasn't quite sure if I be cleared, but you made it happen. Regardless, I was going to see the show and got my tickets when they went on sale at the end of January. Truly a spectacle I won't forget! A highlight for 2016 for sure.