Sunday, May 8, 2011

An Evening with Amon Amarth - 5/2/11 at Jaxx, Springfield, VA

So, finally getting this done. I kept falling asleep this week >.< There will be another one right away since I went to another concert of sorts last night, and I want to write that one up too.

So anyway. "An evening with Amon Amarth." Let's just get this out of the way - the show was incredibly epic! (Note I managed to do that without any cursewords.) I've been to a few concerts, but this was the first time I felt like I was really at a "metal" concert. It was the first time I saw that many people at Jaxx with long hair, that many people headbanging, and such a huge mosh pit that lasted more than 5 seconds (Jaxx crowd isn't into moshing for some reason). That metal concert thing where everyone headbangs in unison? It actually happened, which is totally wild for Jaxx - usually people just stand around.

In case you don't know, Amon Amarth is a death metal band from Sweden that sings about Vikings (they have rejected the label "Viking metal," though). A lot of their songs are fast and furious, they do epic-sounding riffs and their vocals are just growly enough to be intense, but you can usually understand at least some of the words. The Viking theme is what really makes them stand out in the sea of death metal bands, and I know at least for me, it's as much the epic themes of their songs as the epic riffs and vocals that draw me to their music.

A lot of people agree - the place was packed on Monday. The line wrapped around the building when I got there, and when I finally got to the door, the line behind me still wrapped around the building. I talked to people who had come up from North Carolina for the show and had driven 6 hours to get there. Obviously, we love us some Amon Amarth in the Mid Atlantic region!

For their first set, they played the entirety of their new album, "Surtur Rising." When they opened up with "War of the Gods," the crowd surged forward, so at the front we were packed in so tight it was impossible to jump, throw the horns or pretty much do anything, until the shoving and moshing started XD I was a little disappointed with the first set though - I felt like a lot of the songs lacked energy; even "War of the Gods" seemed weak and felt less epic than when I had heard it on the radio on the way down to the concert. Of course, on any album there will be songs that are better and songs that are not as good, and since they played the whole album, we had to take the not-so-good along with th excellent songs. "Slaves of Fear," "Destroyer of the Universe" and "A Beast Am I" were among the better ones. Also, I hadn't been able to get my hands on the album before the concert, and I usually find I enjoy songs more in concert when I already know them well, with the rare epic exception. Still, I know most of the lyrics and riffs to "War of the Gods" from hearing it on the radio so much, and I know it's an epic song, yet it seemed to fall a little flat.

Luckily, the second set more than made up for the first, probably since they were able to choose their best, high-energy songs for this one. I didn't realize the band had been around for nearly twenty years (something Johan said), so they had a lot of good material to choose from. They played every song I hoped they would, starting with "Twilight of the Thunder God" and ending with "Pursuit of Vikings," with "Guardians of Asgard," "Cry of the Black Birds," "Runestone to my Memory" and a bunch more in between. Ok, so I lied a little, I hoped they would play "Under the Northern Star," but that's kind of a slow song and would have been a bit of a downer. This set was epic - if poor planning on my part hadn't placed me right at the edge of the huge mosh pit, I would have been headbanging all the way through (perhaps I should thank the moshers for my not having a sore neck the next day XD). Definitely worth the long wait and the huge crowd.

Next review: Asche - 5/6/11

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