Amon Amarth brought the “Berzerker Tour” to the packed Skyway Theatre in Minneapolis, Minnesota for night of uncompromised metal. Not only did we get the Viking metal giants, but Grand Magus, At The Gates, and the infectious Arch Enemy made this line-up fantastic.
Grand Magus hit the stage first. The three-piece band hails from Stockholm, Sweden and showered the crowd with an old school metal vibe. They had a very short time-slot and an even smaller amount of room on stage due to the headliner’s massive amount of staging. With only having five songs to showcase themselves, vocalist/guitarist Janne “JB” Christoffersson, bassist Mats “Fox” Skinner, and drummer Ludwig “Ludde” Witt worked through material that included “I, The Jury,” “Iron Will,” and “Hammer Of The North.” Grand Magus released ‘Wolf God’ earlier this year, which was their ninth release, and it’s a great mix of doom and metal.
Swedish melodic death metal band At The Gates powered though nine songs that showcased the bands attack. Opening with “To Drink From The Night Itself” and into “Slaughter Of The Soul,” set the table for the band to ramp up the intensity of the crowd. Vocalist Tomas Lindberg worked the condensed stage with fury and fans were sucked up in the bands wake. The blitzkrieg of a set included “At War With Reality,” “Blinded By Fear,” and the closer “The Night Eternal.”
Arch Enemy led by Alissa White-Gluz picked right up where At The Gates left off. Opening with “The World Is Yours” and into “War Eternal” kept the crowd surfers happy as a stream of people made their way to the front. White-Gluz commanded the stage and it’s hard to take your eyes off her. Her vocals are dynamic and lend itself to just about any musical direction Arch Enemy might want to go. When she unleashes the power of her voice is when she is at her best and it rides in unison with the music. The intricacies of the guitar riffs and solos are the driving force for the band. The dual guitar attack of Michael Amott and Jeff Loomis is special. They play off each other perfectly and it gives the music a potent bite. The rhythm section of Sharlee D’Angelo (bass) and Daniel Eriandsson (drums) never missed a beat and provided such a solid foundation that you felt it go through your body. It was another set that was all to short but they managed to include “The Eagle Flies Alone,” “First Day In Hell,” and the closer “Nemesis.”
Viking metal kings Amon Amarth would close the night off. The band released ‘Berserker’ earlier in the year and this was the first chance for Minneapolis to hear the new material live. Judging by the sea of Amon Amarth t-shirts that could be seen everywhere you looked, there were a lot of people waiting for that moment the band would take the stage. That moment came like a thunder in a violet storm as vocalist Johan Hegg took center stage as the band launched into “Raven’s Flight.” The stage was highlighted with drummer Jocke Wallgren sitting on top of a giant Viking helmet. Hegg made reference to Minnesota being home to the Vikings, our National Football League team, and the fit between the band and their fans here was perfect. They continued their sonic onslaught with “Deceiver Of The Gods,” “First Kill,” and “Fafner’s Gold.” Hegg has a larger than life persona on stage. He’s not doing back flips or diving off the stage, but he has vibe that comes off the stage and you instantly feel when he is in your prescense. Guitarist Olavi Mikkonen and Johan Soderberg along with the drummer Wallgren, and Ted Lundstrom on bass were in complete unison and a force sonically. Amon Amarth does a great job of transporting you into their world. They not only bring an impressive catalogue of music, but they also pull you into the mythology and history of the Vikings. This is genre I don’t get to see all that often so it was a great experience to get lost in all the bands trappings both musically and visually. This set also felt short as they got through twelve songs with “Raise Your Horns,” “The Pursuit Of Vikings,” and the closer “Twilight Of The Thunder God.”
This tour package provided a great night of music. Grand Magus was a great ode to heavy metal and with At The Gates, Arch Enemy, and the mighty Amon Amarth; we saw some of the best melodic death metal the genre has to offer. I don’t think you ask for a better tour than that.