Creating epic symphonic fantasy power metal combined with classical music, including choir, renaissance, and baroque elements, Finland's CHAMELION's debut album "Legends & Lores" is now available as of December 8th from Rockshots Records.
Amon Amarth and Bleed From Within - Glasgow June 2023 - Live Review
It’s a special thing to play in your home town to a big crowd and this is a joy that Bleed from Within experienced on their night supporting the mighty Viking titans, Amon Amarth, in Glasgow recently.
The heavy metal quintet have been on the go for quite some time already with 6 albums and numerous EPs to their name and have supported such acts as Soilwork, Testament and Megadeth. Their 8 song set was met with approval from the sweaty crowd, roasting in a furnace of a venue made all the worse by the energetic moshing of an impressive contingent. Normally a support band wouldn’t gather quite as much passion from a crowd who, by and large, didn’t pay to see them specifically, yet perhaps it was the allure of a home town group of lads giving it their all that really got the crowd along.
Well, that and they were really good! From opener 'Stand Down' all the way to 'The End of All We Know' as a closer, they threw themselves around the stage with gusto, Scott Kennedy entertaining the crowd during breaks and fuelling the fires of energy at the right times, looking like he was having the gig of his life. Clean vocals from Steven Jones added a nice layer of melody during the consistently good selection of songs and many of the crowd who had never come across the band before gave them a hearty applause and cheer in reward for their efforts.
What can we say about Amon Amarth that hasn’t been said already? Masters of the genre of *cough* death metal (they dislike the tag of Viking metal), Amarth are simply a band that can churn out great performance after great performance. Even songs which don’t hold up next to singles or crowd favourites can still sound fantastic when those five Swedes are onstage doing their thing.
Often, a band will open with a recent single or a fairly fast song but Amon Amarth have such a back catalogue that they can afford to bring out a firm favourite (dare I say ‘classic’? Yeah, I’m gonna say it, a classic.) in this case ripping through the falling curtain with ‘Guardians of Asgaard’, one of the songs usually reserved for midway through the set. The momentum continued with 'Raven’s Flight,' one of the faster songs Amarth have included, from the Berserker album.
A hill I will die on is this statement: Johan Hegg is one of the best frontmen in metal. The hulking vocalist and lyrics writer commanded the stage throughout, as excellent in this gig as he has been every other time this reviewer has seen the band. Hegg has the experience, skill and charisma to know when to talk, when to interact, when to pander, when to laugh, when to encourage or banter with the crowd and he looks like he enjoys every single second of it.
Sprinkled in with newer songs like 'The Great Heathen Army' and the bonkers, brilliant 'Heidrun' (a great opportunity for the crowd to singalong) were crowd-pleasers like 'Death in Fire' and signature song 'The Pursuit of Vikings.' It was great for long time fans to see the occasional song be dusted off and brought out for an airing and 'Free Will Sacrifice' was that song on this occasion, having followed the title track from 2013s Deceiver of the Gods, complete with Loke (their spelling) on stage horned helmet and all. Standalone single release 'Put Your Back Into the Oar' did exactly what it was meant to and gave the chance for dozens of breathless metalheads to drop to the sticky floor and row. Were they in sync with each other? Hell, no. But there was something endearing about seeing the pure abandon and brotherhood/sisterhood of the scene.
A visit back to Surtr Rising’s opener 'Destroyer of the Universe' which included the impressive Viking helmet which held Jocke Wallgren and his drum kit glowing a fierce red proceeded an appearance of now live-staple 'The Way of Vikings' with two combatants on stage knocking lumps out of each other. The night was slowed down for a little with the live debut of the 'Berserker at Stamford Bridge,' a song that may not necessarily be designed for the stage but created a memorable moment for the crowd.
'First Kill' and 'Shield Wall' followed in quick succession followed by new crowd favourite, 'Raise Your Horns' which raised the spirit of the crowd to new heights before the predictable retreat by the band who hid nearly out of sight to chants from the crowd for ‘one more song!’. What song could it be?
Yes, of course, it is 'Twilight of the Thunder God!' A perfect way to finish off a gig of excellent quality as always as the band chug around on stage with as much energy as they had at the beginning. Some of Amon Amarth may be sneaking into their early 50’s now but they have achieved a quality and consistency that untold numbers of bands would kill for and a live show complements their albums brilliantly.