Words: Olde Nick @oldenick666
Photos: Tess Donohoe
Swedish metal marauders Amon Amarth have just unleashed their tenth studio album and Rock Sins was lucky enough to squeeze into the launch gig in London…
More than a millennium after ships from the North bearing wild hairy beasts of men landed upon British shores there has been a mini-Nordic invasion of this nation’s capital in the past fortnight. Last weekend Norwegians Enslaved and Wardruna played a three-night festival and last Tuesday it was the turn of Swedes Amon Amarth. Thankfully, unlike their ancestors, rape and pillage was not on the agenda. These wild hairy beasts and their followers intended to raid as much of the city’s alcohol as possible while marking the release of their latest album, “Jomsviking”.
Two keen fellows dressed in full battle gear greeted punters descending into Camden’s Underworld, where much beer was already being quaffed out of Viking-style drinking horns as the anticipation grew. There was no support act as tonight was all about one band. After a moody classical intro they took the stage at half past eight and then powered through an impressive two-hour set. Though this was a promotional visit there were no half measures of music or booze!
Opening with “The Pursuit of Vikings” and “As Loke Falls”, towering frontman Johan Hegg urged the packed crowd to:
“Sing! It does matter if you don’t know the words! It’s fucking death metal haha!”
He need not have worried. He was joined by an increasingly drunken choir which also roared along enthusiastically with savage new tunes “First Kill”, “The Way of Vikings” and “At Dawn’s First Light”.
As Hegg did well not to bang his fists or head on the low ceiling the band also played plenty of classics from their 24-year career. “Deceiver of the Gods”, “Destroyer of the Universe” and “Cry of the Black Birds” flew by as the walls began to sweat and even more beer was sunk, on and off stage.
For the encore another track making its live debut, the very appropriate “Raise Your Horns”, had everybody holding a 666 hand aloft with the other waving yet another vessel bearing more golden stuff. The celebration was brought to close by crushing renditions of “Guardians of Asgaard” and “Twilight of the Thunder God”.
As Amon Amarth approaches a quarter-century anniversary their special brand of battle death metal shows no sign of mellowing whatsoever. They will surely be back to batter Blighty again soon.
“Jomsviking” is out now via Sony Music.
There is also a Youtube channel – check out this hilarious video clip called “Keyboard Warrior”!
Here’s gloriously gory new video “At Dawn’s First Light”: