Amon Amarth / As I Lay Dying
23 October 2011
The Forum, London
Events conspired meaning I missed openers Septic Flesh and As I Lay Dying were well into their set when I entered The Forum. My initial observation was that it was quite busy downstairs in the venue and it was quite difficult to edge forward and find a good vantage point, however once sufficiently forward I noted the balcony was closed tonight.
My second observation was the abysmal sound with Phil Sgrosso and Nick Hipa’s guitars barely evident. With a sound anchored around melodic riffing, that presented a major disadvantage and despite vocalist Tim Lambesis’ animated performance the bands set went past without much impact. This was a real shame as As I Lay Dying are one of the few bands in the flooded metalcore genre that spark interest for me and I had been looking forward to their performance.
As I Lay Dying setlist:
Within Destruction / The Sound of Truth / Upside Down Kingdom / Through Struggle / An Ocean Between Us / Anodyne Sea / Condemned / Nothing Left / Confined / 94 Hours
Surprisingly then when Amon Amarth hit the stage not only are guitars evident but slowly the sound improved to a point where you were no longer thinking about its inadequacies. A simple hand to the ear by Johan Hegg at the conclusion of opener War Of The Gods brought forward a cheer that confirmed the Swedes had the crowd on side. With Runes To My Memory following, Amon Amarth were off to a flying start in usual crushing form.
I was lucky to catch the band whilst on holiday in Las Vegas this summer, on a tour where the band had no support, played their latest album in its entirety and returned with a second set. Now Amon Amarth have always been a tight band, but that trek has ensured they are currently a very well oiled machine in the live environment. Whilst tonight we don’t get the whole of Surtur Rising, six songs represented a fair size chunk and with five from Twilight Of The Thunder Gods, it was the two latest releases that formed the bulk of the set.
A rousing chant of “hey, hey” punctuated the opening of the popular The Pursuit Of Vikings, with Johan Hegg encouraging the crowd to sing along, comically noting, “It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the lyrics, it’s death metal, no one can tell!”.
Tonight’s oldest inclusion was Ride For Vengeance from 1998’s Once Sent From The Golden Hall, with punishing drumming from Fredrick Andersson. Embrace The Endless Ocean provided, “Something more epic” and added to a well paced set.
Just as when the band played here supporting Children Of Bodom back in April, the giant Surtur Rising backdrop provided a striking setting and as thunder echoed through the PA prior to Twilight Of The Thunder Gods, white lights flashed mimicking lightning. Finally to wrap things up Guardians Of Asgaard ensured a satisfied crowd left The Forum.
Amon Amarth setlist:
War of the Gods / Runes to My Memory / Destroyer of the Universe / Live Without Regrets / The Pursuit of Vikings / For Victory or Death / Varyags of Miklagaard / Slaves of Fear / Ride For Vengeance / A Beast Am I / Embrace of the Endless Ocean / Free Will Sacrifice / Asator / Death in Fire / Twilight of the Thunder God / Guardians of Asgaard