Amon Amarth and Entombed A.D. – Saint Andrew’s Hall 5/2/16
These last few weeks have been brutal for me. Aside from my normal day job, I’ve also been helping my girlfriend with her work over the weekends. I’d love to sit at home and relax, but it’s not happening until this upcoming Friday.
5/2 was pretty bad. My body was aching, my head was throbbing, and morale was dismally low. A weekend of long work days and longer party-filled nights caught up to me and I still had to make it to work at 7 AM. Somehow, I blinked my eye and it was over. I was parking my car in front of my house, and I felt like doing nothing. The missus and I crashed on the couch when I got home from work, basking in the much-needed relief provided by a simple cushion. We discussed the prospect of going to Amon Amarth. Last week we knew that we would be too tired, but for some reason, it popped into my head that going wasn’t a bad idea.
Within half an hour, I was at Saint Andrew’s Hall, surrounded by fat sweaty metalheads and skinny nerdy metalheads. As I walked in, Entombed A.D. was taking the stage, holding their guitars aloft while an annoying intro boomed over the speakers. People were already packed on the main floor like sardines, so we trudged up to the balcony.
Entombed A.D. is one of those bands that aren’t nearly as good as they sound on paper, but only a little bit. Essentially the band Entombed without their original guitarist, their current two albums are both okay, but neither matched Entombed classics like Morning Star or Left Hand Path. Eventually, they’re going to drop a totally dynamite album. Third time’s a charm, right?
That said, the set was pretty awesome. Amon Amarth’s elevated drums took up a ton of the stage, so Entombed’s drummer had to set up on the stage floor, leaving very little leg room for singer Lars-Goran Petrov and friends at the front. If they head banged any harder, they would have accidentally hit the audience.
The new songs comprised most of the set, all containing a much more pronounced death metal influence than the average Entombed song. The band was tight, Petrov was great, and the crowd could have cared less. No one reacted to anything, regardless of how awesome the solos or choruses were. It was a big communal case of the motherfuckin’ mondays.
I’m surprised the band pretended to leave for the encore, because nobody said a damn thing and half the band members didn’t leave at all. They finally cruised through “Wolverine Blues” and “Left Hand Path”, both of which had a little less energy than their newer material. The crowd responded with a few woos and metal horns before they left.
My girlfriend and I snuck up pretty close to the stage. Only twenty-five minutes passed before Amon Amarth, with obligatory spoken word audio about vikings booming as they stepped on. Kicking off with “The Pursuit of Vikings”, the band stormed through a variety of their newer tracks first, Johan Hegg providing witty commentary between each song.
I’ve never seen the band, and I was instantly impressed. While Johan Soderberg is a little stiff and he has this “I whip my hair back and forth/I whip my hair back and forth” thing going on, everything always comes together when the band starts their in unison head-banging routine. I wonder how much practice they had to get in before they all rolled their heads the same way. Not only that, but imagine how crucial maintaining a similar hair length becomes.
Other theatrics included a duo of viking warriors with weapons. They came out with swords a couple times and bows for “One Thousand Burning Arrows”, although the armor-clad men never did anything. I would have loved to see the band members fight their foes.
The crowd was pretty cold towards their new stuff until they started playing older tracks, which . I was glad “Thousand Years of Oppression” made it into the set, but “Death In Fire” made everyone go nuts. Crowdsurfing, screaming, moshing, it was the first time all evening anyone seemed to realize they were at a concert.
“Runes to My Memory” cooled it back down until “Raise Your Horns”, the one new track everyone liked. They all pulled out giant horn goblets and drank a bunch of beer from them. The audience went nuts, and everyone pretended to know the words. “Guardians of Asgaard” and “Twilight of the Thunder God” followed with even more excitement. The whole crew around me only seemed to awaken when the latter’s opening riff came on, which is unfortunate considering it closed the night.
Honestly, the band was on fire the entire night. Not a single note was missed, and the band tried really hard to wake us assholes up.
Afterwards, we went home and drank beers because Amon Amarth made it look sooo cool. I spent the whole evening screaming and head-banging, which left me with a sore throat and neck the next day. My boss came in for a crucial performance evaluation that day, but I think I did okay. I should have been too tired and miserable to do anything, but I mean, in the end, if you’re happy, doesn’t everything else follow suit?
And both bands made me very happy. While Entombed A.D. was obviously thrown off by the crowd’s indifference near the end of their set, Amon Amarth played the same as they would in front of the small Detroit crowd as they would at Wacken Open Air. Except y’know, they didn’t row out a viking ship or anything because they barely had enough room to scratch their armpit.
Entombed A.D. performance: B
Amon Amarth performance: A-