Live at The Palladium
Los Angeles, CA
October 26th, 2019
Review and photos by Travis Baumann
Viking Berserkers invade North America! Pillars of the metal scene, Swedish melodic death metal masters, Amon Amarth have arrived in Los Angeles. The last night of a massive Swedish invasion that took America by storm, the mighty warriors of viking-themed metal gave Los Angeles one hell of a beating.
Head-lining an impressive lineup of Swedes with Grand Magus, At the Gates, and Arch Enemy, the evening was packed full of awesome metal. Amon Amarth capped off the night with a spectacle filled set including mass amounts of blistering pyrotechnics and culminating in a full size Fafnir the Dragon appearing for the grand finale.
Touring for this year's amazing release of "Berserker", a fantastic album from beginning to end and one of my top three releases for all of 2019, Amon Amarth featured the album heavily in the set list but left plenty of room for all of the fan favorites that everyone anticipated.
Leading the charge into the enemy is Johan Hegg on lead vocals. He epitomizes Viking verse in appearance and strength, larger than life and exactly what the music calls for. Joining him are a battery of powerful musicians; Olavi Mikkonen on lead guitar, Ted Lundström on bass guitar, Johan Söderberg on rhythm guitar, and Jocke Wallgren on drums.
The stage was set with an immense horned Viking helmet serving as the drum riser. The eye slits in the helmet had video screens showing flames and lightning. Pyro cannons seemed to be mounted everywhere as at times it looked (and felt) like there was fire everywhere on stage.
They kicked off the set with "Raven's Flight" from the new album, one of my favorites from the release, and immediately ranking up with their greatest songs in my book. It was a bombastic start with firebombs going off everywhere with the massive strength of their musical power slamming you right in the chest. One of the photographers in the photo-pit with me literally freaked out with a minor bout of shell-shock but luckily got themselves back under control.
"Death by Fire" was a fitting follow up with all of the pyro going off everywhere. The heat was intense and the audience was going crazy. Crowd surfers began flooding over the barricade as the band gave us the opening track off of 2002's "Versus the World".
A gigantic skeletal interpretation of Loki the Trickster appeared on the riser and stalked down to the front with glowing green eyes and huge curled horns for "Deceiver of the Gods" off of 2013's album of the same name. It was a really cool outfit and looked super evil in the atmospheric smoke and light beams.
They did "First Kill" from "Jomsviking" before returning to the "Berserker" album for "Fafnir's Gold" and the absolutely epic "Crack the Sky"; the chorus resounding "Thor! Let your hammer fly! Let the lightning crack the blackened skies!"
Returning to "Jomsviking" for "The Way of Vikings" kept the energy at peak levels. The audience was enthralled and singing along to every song. One of my favorite songs off the new album and of Amon Amarth's in total is the brutal "Shield Wall". Everyone singing together for the chorus was intense: "Vikings! Raise the Shield Wall, Hold the Frontline, Fight to Death!"
They concluded the main set with two amazing Viking songs in a row, "Guardians of Asguard" from "Twilight of the Thunder God", and "Raise Your Horns" from "Jomsviking". The band left the stage but not for long as the chanting for Amon Amarth to return was deafening.
As the band returned to the stage Johan raised his drinking horn and chugged the ale. From the side of stage he was brought a massive steer's horn four or five times larger than his standard horn and he downed that entire brew as well.
Amon Amarth was nearing the end of their set and the tour but they had two more for us and they were songs we had all been anticipating. 2004 brought us the "Fate of Norns" album and with it, what would become one of their set list staples and a fan favorite that has become one of the best sing along songs ever.
"The Pursuit of Vikings" had everyone's fist in the air and singing at the top of their lungs as Johan led the room, "Odin! Guide our Ships, our Axes, spears and swords! Guide us through storms that whip, and in Brutal War!"
As the song drew to a close a gigantic coil of serpent's tail raised on the left side of stage and the wyrm's head reached in from the right, its maw open and ready to bite. The dragon was really impressive as was the hammer Mjölner that Johan raised and then proceeded to slam into the dragon's head repeatedly before leading into the epic anthem, "Twilight of the Thundergod".
As the song drew to a close a curtain of sparks showered down from above bringing an end to the spectacular show. Every band was brilliant and Amon Amarth brought the house down with that finale. Such a great concert, I am so happy I got to experience it, as was the entire sold out venue.
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