Last week, Amon Amarth wrapped up their 2008 United States tour at Jaxx. The Swedish band churns out, with remarkable consistency and in simple verse-chorus format, “catchy, groovy death metal with stupid lyrics about foightin'” (in the words of an acquaintance). The entire band concept revolves around Viking mythology, as evidenced in the ridiculous new video for the title track to their 2008 album, Twilight of the Thunder God.
At Jaxx, they played in front of a massive backdrop depicting Thor locked in mortal combat with a giant serpent, one hand grasping the creature by its tongue, the other wielding a hammer, drawn back and ready to strike. The imagery extends to Amon Amarth’s lyrics, which are filled with rape-and-pillage themes; yet onstage, the band cultivates a very different vibe: these are some fun-loving dudes.
Imposing frontman Johan Hegg boasts a throaty growl and scowls as he sings, but in between roaring lyrics about death and destruction he was quick to smile, clearly enjoying the sight of 500 diehard fans moshing away inside the tight confines of a sold-out Jaxx. Toasting the crowd on multiple occasions as he sipped beer from a Viking drinking horn, he was polite as could be in thanking the fans and the other bands for a successful tour.
And then he led the crowd in belting out the impossibly catchy chorus to “Pursuit of Vikings,” the band’s closing number:
Odin! Guide our ships
Our axes, spears and swords
Guide us through storms that whip
And into brutal war
More photos here (pic immediately above is of openers The Absence).