Amon Amarth

Copenhell - 2013

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

Amon Amarth was quite possibly THE band we were looking the most forward to at Copenhell this year.
Impatient as we are, we had already prior to the gig checked out a recent setlist online, and some photos as well, and we liked what we saw!

“Crazy Vikings, our Scandinavian brothers!”
- Johan Hegg (vocals)

Probably in an effort on Copenhell’s side to pull people in, Amon Amarth was opening Helvíti, the main stage, on the first day of the festival, and what greeted us when we met up was half a dragon ship standing on the stage, with the backdrop making up the red and white striped sail and the stage banners depicting more ships like this crossing stormy waves.
This scenic imagery combined with the classic Amon Amarth intro really set the tone and told us we were about to embark on an epic voyage, all we needed now was for the band to enter and steer us on! We didn’t have to wait for long because in a cascade of cheering voices the Swedish Vikings took the stage and threw themselves and us directly out in the doomsday story of War Of The Gods, a song that would have hit the crowd with all the power such a hefty track deserves, had someone only remembered to turn the guitars on in time… Yeah, the sound wasn’t really on Amon Amarth’s side this day, where in addition to the missing guitars we got a very loud voice and some overblown and muddy bass.
By the second song, The Pursuit Of Vikings, which was a crowd favourite judging from the loud response it got, things were looking slightly up, and as long as Olavi Mikkonen and Johan Söderberg were the only ones playing we got to enjoy that majestic chugging riff, but when the rest of the band joined in we were back to the muddy, drowning bass sound, and throughout the entire gig the sound never really came to work in the bands favour sadly.

A concert however isn’t all about sound, I have stressed this point in the past and will likely do so once in a while in the future as well. An equal part in the fun is the performance, and this is a point that can really make or break a band.
In Amon Amarth’s case, there should be no doubt from repeat offenders (or readers if you prefer) of this site that we feel they are a band that are well versed in the art of killing a show. In the good way of course. Combining that with the magnificent stage utilities the sported at this show, I’m talking about the on-stage ship here, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to think that this would be one of, if not the top show of the festival.
There was only one little snag in that conclusion though, and that was that the band really didn’t seem very into playing for us...
Sure, Hegg spoke willingly to us between songs, changing between speaking in Swedish and English to make sure everyone got what he was saying, but it wasn’t anything we haven’t already heard a million and one times before, and apart from some singing along from Mikkonen the general expression of the band was completely blank. Maybe they were unsatisfied with the early spot, or they were tired from too much touring, I can’t say, but I can say that here at Copenhell Amon Amarth was merely going through the movements and weren’t even trying to up their game.

“Do you wanna mosh?”
- Hegg (vocals)

This didn’t mean that the crowd had to be on the lazy side though! If it had been Copenhell’s intention to get people into the festival area, they had definitely nailed it with putting Amon Amarth on at this hour – the place was nearly packed, and it didn’t take long for loud, appreciative voices to accompany the band on the journey. Already during The Pursuit Of Vikings the chanting got so loud that Hegg got a big smile on his face and held his mic out towards us to express the bands gratitude. Shouting was also the name of the game for Death In Fire, and in Twilight Of The Thunder God we even got to bellow the chorus by ourselves!
Apart from the noise, the audience was also warming up for the weekend with some neck-stretching exercises and light moshing; well, light only until the brand new track Deceiver Of The Gods came along, a song which was welcomed with open arms and a lot of action in the pit! And why not, it worked exceptionally well in a live setting, even better than it had done in a studio version online.

Yes, the crowd was great and had a great time taking this opportunity to start this years’ Copenhell, but honestly, Amon Amarth can do so much better than this. There was no spark, all routine, and too soon forgotten.


War Of The Gods
The Pursuit Of Vikings
Destroyer Of The Universe
For Victory Or Death
Free Will Sacrifice
Deceiver Of The Gods
Cry Of The Black Birds
Death In Fire
Twilight Of The Thunder God
Guardians Of Asgaard

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