Posts Tagged ‘Amon Amarth’

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AMON AMARTH LIVE IN MANCHESTER

November 29, 2009

The metal mammoth that is AMON AMARTH returned to the Manchester Academy for what felt like the millionth time in the last couple of years.

Seriously, they seem to be there every five mins and they sell out, amazingly.

This was Halloween night, so all the costumes were out in form, the band hit the stage and to be fair to them, performed their usual set list with a few tweaks and additions, the fans seemed to lap it up at points and at others seemed too inebriated to know what was going on…

I would tell you highlights if I could think of any, but I really can’t.

This time I have to be honest, it was a tight gig from all involved, tight and accurate and… dull as dishwater.

Yes, this is cruel criticism I guess, but I just can’t seem to connect with a band that stands in one spot, swear a little at the crowd and swing their long hair around a little. The lack of any form of showmanship when the music you play is essentially filled with fantasy cheese is just old hat and unforgivable.

You want the whole viking image to work, give us a viking stage show damn it!

All in all 5/10 – Average and boring, the 5 is for the fact that the music is tight and executed well!

IE

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Amon Amarth – Versus The World (Reissue)

November 20, 2009

So…we’ve already had 3 ‘bonus editions’ of Amon Amarth’s albums this year and this next instalment really is no different. Its basically the album but slapped onto it is a ‘bonus’ live disc. In other worlds recordings of the band playing the album in full so you get listen to the original recording and then exactly the same album again but live…well sort of. It doesn’t really feel worth saying its a live album when its just the band playing them with nothing really inbetween and kinda pointless.

It’s difficult to review this album as its not new and its been heard before. The opening song ‘Death In Fire’ is an end of set staple and this album remains hugely popular with the bands fansbase. As ever though, if you own this album don’t bother buying it unless your an absolute completist, if you don’t own it you may as well get a bit more for your money in these cash strapped times.

Good album. Unnecessary reissue.

6/10

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Bloodstock Open Air – 2009

August 21, 2009

2009, and the festival season is drawing to the end. With quite “meh” inducing line ups across the board, Bloodstock Open Air is standing out at the moment as having both an eclectic and strong line-up (Europe-Cradle-Carcass…..wat!?), that should have appealed to metal fans pretty much across the whole board. Maybe some more hardcore type bands wouldn’t have gone amiss, but I guess that would be in opposition to the festivals stance as being a “true” metal festival. Still, there was a huge range of bands here, with plenty going on to ensure that there was never a dull moment. Definitely one of the best line ups this summer.

Bloodstock has continued to grow considerably year upon year, and it’s definitely nothing like the festival it was back in its inception in 2005. However, more people, more size, and bigger bands has bought new trouble and obstacles for the festival. Not only was there an epidemic of theft in the campsites, with many people having reported money being stolen from inside their very tents while they slept, and the possibility of an organized “raid” on the sites by an outside group who were able to scale the security and make it in being raised, but there was also the very concerning event of a band being targeted by some serious projectiles. Bottle throwings are pretty much accepted at festivals now, but this was an everlasting gobstopper, which, despite sounding pretty hilarious as a missile, was actually very heavy, and could have potentially seriously injured someone.

The organizers have their work cut out and some serious security issues to address, before the reputation of the festival takes a serious fall. After all that the festival has gone through, it would be a shame for it to have to suffer this.

Anyway, enough of the gloom, the Headbang team, and many other people we know who were there, had a fantastic time, and so with no further ado, here is the overview of the festival and most importantly, the heavy f***ing metal.

Kicking off the festival for us, Blitzkrieg are the quintessential dad band. Pretty generic everything really, apart from their front man that is. Unfortunately in this case that’s not a good thing, the singer ruined for me what was a perfectly adequate band musically, with his unusual moshing and frankly disturbing kneeslaps I couldn’t help but feel I was watching the very personification of Peter Kay’s Uncle Knobhead up on stage. I swiftly left and got a beer. (5/10)

I’ve seen Insomnium before, so I’m aware they can definitely do much better than this. Maybe it was the sterile sound and poor levelling, maybe the sound guys hadn’t quite calibrated everything; it was still a pretty sub par performance. The Finns just lacked something. One guitar way louder than the other, vocals too high in the mix, pretty untight performance. Lacklustre. (4/10)


Something you can always rely on to get the party started anywhere, is Municipal Waste. The nu-thrashers kick the afternoon something fierce, with pits, crowd surfing, walls of death and all kinds of fun carnage. Token Municipal Waste fans as always make an appearance with beach inflatables to surf the waves upon waves of humans, adding to the flesh landfill. Highlight of the set was Tony Foresta calling for the crowd to break the world record for crowd surfers in one song, resulting in something that looked like the helms deep scene from Lord Of the Rings, with something like 400 odd crowd surfers in one song. (8/10)

Despite being a self-admitted ‘rock band not metal band’ Alternative Carpark rip up the B.O.A unsigned stage. If you haven’t seen these guys yet…you’re missing out! (8/10)

For a first UK show in 20 years you’d expect Sodom to have longer than 45 minutes…but then again this a UK festival…The band however overlook this small detail and show us what we’ve missed. Considering that a large amount of the audience were either still in nappies or swimming around as little sperm the last time Sodom set foot on UK soil. A common ‘patch favorite’ the band leave us all wanting more and hoping they don’t wait another two decades. Opening with “Napalm in the Morning” to rapturous applause, the band thrashed though what felt like a very well thought out and inclusive set. Even bass failure couldn’t stop them, Tom Angelripper switching mid song at the beginning of the set, to another bass with the same pictured ridiculous wide strap. While Municipal Waste may have had youth and energy, Sodom have experience and wisdom (whatever that means in thrash metal), and frankly better written songs to choose from. Felt special man! (9/10)

The Sophie Lancaster stage played host to the smallest number of acts but also some of the best performances. Young brit metallers Malefice are fully on top of their game, within 30 seconds of opener ‘The Midas Effect’ the tent is already packed to the brim. Roll on October… (8/10)
Arch Enemy surprised me with their performance this year, having seen them play a mediocre set in 2007 I was questioning whether I should bother wasting my carcass energy watching them, I was glad I did though. They put on a belting performance, with frontwoman Angela Gossow holding the audience in the palm of her hand (I heard the fat spotty guy next to me whisper ‘I’d do her’ to his similarly greasy friend-I though ‘you’d probably do Michael Ammott if he was covered in whipped cream tubsy’), but that’s another story. All in all a belting performance, and for me put Carcass into the shade a little.(10/10)



As a long time Carcass fan, they could probably take to the stage and play a set of Proclaimers covers and I’d still give them a 10 and say it’s the best I’ve seen them in the last couple of years. They were definitely as good as all the other shows they played since reforming, albeit with a more gory slideshow this time, which made me giggle with glee. Deformed penises, autopsies, and gore aplenty. Jeff Walker and his token cynicism makes for a brilliant frontman, and seems pretty down to earth for someone who spent the best part of a decade stealing medical references from text books and writing about bodily functions that seem nasty even when you have no idea what the hell they’re describing. All the classics were there, “Rotten to the Gore”, “Corporeal Jigsore Quandary”, “Reek of Putrefaction” et al, and as always, Ken Owen made an appearance to play a drum solo. Its nice to see that the solo gets better each time I see them, showing progress in his recovery from the 1999 brain haemorrhage he suffered. He even played a blast beat, which was probably about on par with the quality of drums on an early Morbid Angel demo. After the set they projected a film of a female body being cut open to classical music. (10/10)

Seeming like a self-admitting Anvil tribute act (they all wore Anvil shirts for one) Wolf are enjoyable but well just enjoyable really. There’s not much more to say. (6/10)

The Haunted were a lovely wake up call on a bright and breezy Saturday afternoon, after a brew and a bacon butty we wandered down to catch a very aggressive set which left all the crowd with their previous nights hangovers forgotten and there forthcoming drunkenness eagerly anticipated. The only downer for me was that some knobhead stood next to me had made it his business to personally inform all 10,000 BOA festival goers that he owned the same guitar head as the two guitarists from the Haunted. It wouldn’t have been so bad were it not that it was HB’s own Eyelicker! (8/10)

It may sound conceited to say that Entombed are unappreciated..but its true. Literally hundreds of band’s owe their existence to the likes of these guys and the music they created in the latter end of the 80’s. (8/10)

Candlemass even if they are ‘slow dad metal’ are superb. Seamlessly mixing old with new the doom metal veterans make even a beautiful day sound gloomy and melancholic. (8/10)

On the way back to the tent, I was walking past the unsigned stage and heard some sick drumming. Being one to always try new things, I popped in to witness Sanctorum. They play a kind of extreme thrash metal, with wicked technicality. Every member of the band held his own incredibly well, most notably the bassist with his 7 string behemoth of an instrument. A thoroughly enjoyable set, check them out! (7/10)

With a reputation for hit and miss live performances its difficult to know what to expect from German thrash overlords Kreator however we must have caught Mike and co on a good day. Tearing through ‘Hordes Of Chaos’, ‘Pleasure To Kill’ and ‘Flag Of Hate’ its thrash metal heaven. (9/10)

I’d been waiting to see Apocalyptica for a long time. Having fully got over the ‘novelty act’ these Finnish cellists put a performance that makes you think they’re headlining. Mixing covers (‘Refuse/ Resist’, ‘Whever I May Roam’ the list goes on) with some stunning original material it’s a honour to watch. Set highlights? The ‘One’ solo played note for note on cello and the band’s own adaption of ‘Hall Of The Mountain King’. (10/10)

I’ve played with Severed Heaven before, so had to check them out. Glad to see that the girls can still kick it with their brand of gothic death metal, full of subtle melodies and harmonies. I think there may have even been a couple of sly breakdowns in there too. Last band of the day on the stage, and they played like they were headlining! (8/10)

The Rotted’s position as a favored “cult” band, in the English extreme metal scene seems to be proven by the huge crowd that packs into the humble Sophie Lancaster stage. From the beginning they slay the place with insanely fast blastbeats and Ben McCrow’s harsh, almost punk like vocals. The band are as animated as the crowd, and doesn’t let anyone rest for a second. Beginning with “Nothin’ but a Nosebleed”, possibly the best song ever for smashing into a crowd, and throwing in a Gorerotted classic “Only Tools and Corpses”, everyone leaves having had several shades of shit beat out of them, and with huge smiles. (10/10)

The apprehension for Cradle Of Filth was…tense…to say the least. Largely shunned by the wider “scene”, as being too mainstream/not Kvlt enough or whatever myriad of reasons they have, I was hoping that the set would play out without incidence. Unfortunately, this was not so, as you’ve probably heard by now, some knobead took out one of their guitarists with an everlasting gobstopper, another victory for metalhead bigotry and puritania. In the 40 or so minutes before this cutting their set short however, they put on a surprisingly solid set. I’ve heard that they are terrible live, so found what I did see quite a pleasant surprise. Alright levelling, Dani’s vocals sounded pretty good, and some tight drumming. Just a big shame about the crowd of knobeads! Even before the gobstopper there were plenty of bottles, but the band played on and didn’t seem rankled in the slightest. “If you’re going to throw bottles, at least make sure they’re full” Could have been a really good set. (5/10)

After a surprisingly good nights sleep in the back of my van I was up eagerly anticipating seeing Sabaton for the first time since Wacken 08, ( a performance incidentally, of which I remember very little), despite the one guy who was severely packed into his Sabaton ‘costume’ I still enjoyed being in the crowd for a band that is one of the few power metal bands I enjoy. And boy did they put on a great show, for me half hour was a disgrace and the fact that their signing session went on for well over 45 minutes after it was scheduled to stop galvanises my view. They played all the classics and some of their best off the brilliant ‘Art of War’ and whilst I loved the show it was soured a bit when I found out that they were to be touring the UK beneath Dragonforce later in the year, aside from that shutout they were brilliant. (10/10)

Equilibrium received a very warm welcome for their first ever UK show, with plenty of fans turning out to show the Germans some love. This isn’t a massive surprise, considering the Bloodstock demograph’s love of folk metal, but they milked it well to play an awesome show. (8/10)

It’s true that Turisas can certainly work a crowd like putty but with what seems like a self-inflicted ‘encore’ you’re left with a sour taste that the band have gotten too big for their (fur skin) boots. (7/10)

With a somewhat flat sound and a slightly apathetic audience Anterior struggle, fantastic on record, their eclectic mix of influences doesn’t quite cut it with the B.O.A crowd. (6/10)

The last band I gave a balls about was Amon Amarth who put on a typically solid tight performance which had the whole crowd bouncing, to be frank I’ve seen these lads more times than I’ve changed my socks, (at the last count it was five) and they do seem to improve with every wash, as it were. Very enjoyable and well received and singer Johan Hegg somehow manages to look quite hard considering he is a fat bloke in a tight black tanktop. (9/10)

It was a shame that there was practically no one in the Sophie Lancaster stage to witness Darkness Dynamite, a practically unknown over here French band who play a kind of rocky deathcore, that refuses to be pigeonholed. The band however didn’t seem to really care about the lack of people though, and played a great energetic set, for the few who were there to lap up as their own little secret. Detuned, tight and heavy, this band deserves to be bigger than this, French metal is grossly under represented! (9/10)

Quite why black metal legends Satyricon are playing now isn’t clear, but that doesn’t matter, what does matter is that Saytr and Frost are back with a new band, a new(ish) album, and a crowd who’ve certainly missed them. A mere hour set doesn’t do them justice. (9/10)

Many eyebrows were raised (and have remained so) at the billing of Europe as festival headliners. Nevertheless the band use their 90 minutes well and by the time it gets round to playing that song (yes you know the one I mean) the crowd go wild. As a LED lightboard declares that its ‘About f**king time!’ we retire to our tents with the sound of classic rock still ringing in our ears. (8/10)

As well as the music, there were plenty of other great things on display. Comedians, a set by the infamous “fuel girls”, who we last saw breathing fire at Motorhead’s Wacken set, a motorbike being driven round the inside of a metal ball courtesy of monster energy drinks, as well as a pleasant enough chippie, a shisha café, and everyone’s favorite brew stop, Mr Tea.

Despite being ‘bigger than ever’ this year Bloodstock is still relatively small for the band’s it attracts and it never ceases to amaze that you can turn up and buy tickets on the door…still its everyone who didn’t go’s loss! Throughout the weekend band’s declared B.O.A to be a ‘true f**king metal festival, non of that fashion bulls**t’ *cough*Download*cough*. the metal faithful remain true. So thanks it is to the press guys, the crew, the bands and course…the one and only…hero of the weekend…MR TEA!

James Hodgeson, Eyelicker and Mr Bogle

Thanks also to John Wilson and Alicia Rovira-Parker

Special thanks as well to Adam Sagir of the Noise Cartel, for hitting us up with the press passes, and the opportunities to hang out with members of The Rotted, Municipal Waste and The Haunted, as well as the interview with Equilibrium!