Amon Amarth | 10.29.14

live carcassAs he toasted the crowd, Hegg drank a beer out of a horn—and I do mean a proper horn, like it came off of a cow.

The Pageant, St. Louis

Two days before Halloween, Amon Amarth played a rollicking show at The Pageant, supported by most of Skeletonwitch and Sabaton. Opening act Skeletonwitch was short a singer: Chase Garnette has “personal issues” and left the tour, so they played their music as instrumentals. Their riffing and solos were top of the heap Fast. Brutal. Full of nervous energy. But like the Les Paul missing the pick guard on stage left, something was just missing from the event.

Sabaton came next, and frankly confused me to no end. They’re power metal through and through. The singer looked like Freddie Mercury after a Rob Halford–style makeover and a mohawk. He stated he looked like the Village People, so at least he knows. However, the metal plates he was wearing on his shirt were a bit distracting. Musically, I couldn’t quite get a handle on what they were about, but they did hold my attention for about half of the set before I went to mingle with other concertgoers. About 70% of the crowd was thrilled to be seeing these Swedes and their power metal, so I was the minority report.

At long last, the heroes of the day took the stage to some interesting entrance music…then vocalist Johan Hegg took over. He’s perfected his craft over the 20-plus years of Amon Amarth. Wordlessly, he commanded the audience and they followed. His voice, huge and thick, filled the room. The rest of the band never missed a note, much less a change. Metal acts tend to be that way, though. I did get a giggle out of the fact that both guitarists reminded me of Skwisgaar Skwigel from Metalocalypse: both tall, blonde, skinny, and playing Explorers.

Amon Amarth made great use of strobe lights and dry ice smoke. When they played “Death by Fire,” it all turned shades of red and orange and looked like hell on Earth. The band also played up its Viking bit. As he toasted the crowd, Hegg drank a beer out of a horn—and I do mean a proper horn, like it came off of a cow. If you want a fun, high-energy, and spirited death metal show, you could have done a lot worse than what I saw last night. | Nik Cameron

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