The band’s playing grooved, and was drenched in swagger.
The Pageant, St. Louis
On a Wednesday night in St. Louis, the intersection of Delmar and Skinker was closed; The Pageant, however, was still full of metalheads of all stripes to see the kings of Viking Metal, Amon Amarth, and some of their friends.
Exmortus did the honor of opening the show. The shredding death metal band from Southern California has been making a name for itself. This was the second time in 2016the Prosthetic Records recording artists have made their way into the Gateway City. Exmortus are everything they have ever been accused of: They are shredders of the highest degree. Their songs are overly complex, full of classical music, and frankly just shy of chaos—perhaps “just shy of chaos” is inappropriate.
They were able to navigate their songs, including a Beethoven cover, with amazing aplomb and accuracy. If it wasn’t for their lack of serious stage moves, many a concertgoer may have accused them of using backing tracks. On their last song of the night, they came out guns blazing, finally letting loose their inner rock stars and having fun. It was infectious—though, again, that’s too weak a term.
Directly supporting Amon Amarth was the current incarnation of Entombed, now known as Entombed A.D. They have released two albums for Century Media which feature all of the death ’n’ roll they are famous for; unfortunately, the show was lacking. It would be difficult to convince me that vocalist Lars-Goran Petrov wasn’t drunk. For large swaths of the show, he was out of sync, out of time, and seemingly out of place. None of the swagger this legendary band has crafted over the years was on display during this show. Instead of Dethklok being a parody of Entombed A.D., they seemed like a parody of Dethklok.
To top off the bill, the Vikings themselves, Amon Amarth, took the stage. I’ve taken in a great number of shows at The Pageant, and never have I seen such a stage setup. The drum riser, a giant Viking mask at least 8 feet tall and 30 feet wide, was flanked by staircases, giving band members the opportunity to say hi to the newest member of the group when they saw fit. During the show, the fans were greeted by Viking warriors in full armor and shields battling on stage. This was the best production value seen at The Pageant by this writer in these many years.
Oh, that’s right: They played music, too. Vocalist Johan Hegg was in strong voice and temperament. During an early song, he demanded the crowd sing along, saying, “If you don’t know the words, it’s death metal; no one will know the difference.”
Anything a fan would want from Amon Amarth was provided. Their playing grooved, and was drenched in swagger. The vocals were thick and caustic in a way most death metal doesn’t have. The band’s onstage persona toed the line beautifully between parody and perfection.
It was fun and brutal. | Nik Cameron