Friday, February 7, 2014

Amon Amarth, Enslaved, Skeletonwitch - 1/31/14 at Fillmore, Silver Spring, MD

First show of the year, and I don't even get to it until a week later. That's just my life.

Well, so we went to see Amon Amarth. They were one of the first metal bands I got into, so I think they'll always be one of my top bands :) Besides, Johan Hegg is one of my idols as far as vocals go. I wish I could growl like him. (But since I'm a girl, I don't think my voice will ever be able to go that low.) I was actually looking forward to Enslaved more, though, because they were amazing last time we saw them. I didn't care much about Skeletonwitch; they're better than decent, but I wondered why they couldn't find another Viking-themed band for this tour.

When we got to the venue, they were screening the video for "Father of the Wolf." We were with S's brother and niece, and I tried to convince them to go in and watch the video, but they were hesitant for a while, so the video was almost over by the time we actually went into the stage area.

Not soon after, Ohio's blackened thrash outfit Skeletonwitch took the stage. The Fillmore's stellar sound system did them justice - they sounded better and clearer than I've ever heard them. I got a sort of death metal vibe from them this time, although that may have just been the thundering sound. They definitely did have an Amon Amarthy vibe to some of the leads though, with an epic or rolling sound. I noticed some thrashy and black metal moments, too, but my overall impression was much more groovy and melodic than I remembered them being. So it was a pretty entertaining set.

The experience of seeing Norway's progressive black band Enslaved was also different from the last time we saw them. Then, we saw them at the rather small Ottobar in Baltimore. We were probably less than twenty feet away from them, and they clearly towered over everyone in the venue (they're all incredibly tall, either that or they wear tall shoes). This time they were just distant figures, dwarfed by a large stage. They got off to a slow start with newer songs from Riitiir, but things intensified with "Ethica Odini." And two songs after that, I was very glad to find that they're still playing one of their oldest songs, "Allfáðr Oðinn," which is one of their best - it's my favorite, anyway. "Riitiir" also sounded surprisingly good. With the bigger venue and shorter set, their performance was not as intense as when we saw them at Ottobar, but I still enjoyed it.

We wondered what props Amon Amarth, Sweden's death metal Vikings, would have, considering that last time we saw them, they brought along a whole Viking ship. They turned out not to have much, just some banners of Viking warriors in front of their huge banner of the cover of Deceiver of the Gods. They also started out a little weak with two new songs. But as they thundered into the third song, "Death by Fire," I felt like the show really got started, and the intensity didn't let up till the end. Johan Hegg complained of a cold, but it didn't seem to affect his vocals, just making his speaking voice rough like his vocals. I felt like "Destroyer of the Universe" and a couple songs right after it were a little off, as though they were trying to play faster and not everyone could keep up. They finished up with "War of the Gods," which sounded much more epic than when they played it at Jaxx a couple years ago. But they weren't done - soon, thunder rumbled through the hall, introducing "Twilight of the Thunder God." The crowd was invited to sing along for the chorus. Then the band launched into "Pursuit of Vikings" and everyone went crazy - the whole floor seemed to be jumping, and I hear the middle of the floor was wild (we were at the very back).

Before leaving the stage, Johan Hegg invited everyone to stay and watch the video for "Father of the Wolf" (perhaps not knowing it had already been shown) but it didn't actually play and pretty soon the staff began encouraging us to leave.

Considering I was rather, um, unamped for this show, I had a great time. We got solid performances from all three bands, but Amon Amarth obviously ruled the night.


  1. I think the different sounds of each of the bands was better, so the variety prevents things from getting.. a little samey

    1. Well I didn't say I wanted them all to be Viking metal..just Viking themed. (Actually, if they could have found a third "We're not Viking metal, we just sing about Vikings" band, that would have been funny XD) With Skeletonwitch it was of these things is not like the others..