Amon Amarth Berserker World Tour 2019
w/Arch Enemy, At The Gates & Grand Magus
Manhattan Center, New York City, USA
Review and Pictures by Andy Jansons
…And then came the day when Vikings took over New York. No, that is not a plot for a movie, but a real life event. An all Swedish line-up of Grand Magus, At The Gates, Arch Enemy and the mighty Amon Amarth rolled into NYC with the ‘Berserker World Tour’ North American leg. We all know that Amon Amarth can put on a show, but with these three metal beasts in support this was a spectacle for the ages!
The Manhattan Center was packed. While I wasn’t sure of the official count this was definitely a sold out show. First up on stage was Grand Magus, a heavy metal band from Stockholm who delivered a classic Heavy Metal sound that was melodic and often catchy. Their set received a warm reception from the audience, and while not as popular as the following bands they were watched by an already full room. Nobody was skipping the opening acts.
Next to play were Gothenburg Melodic Death Metal legends At The Gates. Supporting their latest album “To Drink From The Night Itself” (2018), they opened with the title song, followed by ‘Slaughter Of The Soul’ and ‘At War With Reality’ which were also the respective title songs from their previous two studio albums. To note; they played only tracks from these three albums and skipped all three of their earlier works!
Although the band were in a prolonged hiatus between 1996-2007 they sustained their fans and popularity and are still recognized as trailblazers of the ‘New Wave of Swedish Melodic Death Metal’ and still have three active founding members, vocalist Tomas Lindberg, drummer Adrian Erlandsson and bassist Jonas Björler.
At The Gates wrapped up their set with the closing track from “At War With Reality” entitled ‘The Night Eternal’ which was loud and with its melodic outro stamped an exclamation point on their powerful performance.
Next came Arch Enemy who are probably enjoy the most commercial success compared with the previous two bands, thanks to more melodic choruses and of course their Canadian vocalist Alissa White-Gluz, who is widely considered as one of the most beautiful metal female artists. She does bring a whole different dimension to this musical style, making it more attractive to a larger audience. Metal elitists might not be happy, but their success speaks for itself!
While their set was only eight songs, it was packed with metal anthems one after another; ‘The World Is Yours’, ‘War Eternal’, ‘The Eagle Flies Alone’ and ‘Nemesis’ are known worldwide. Considering that the stage was quite small, to help conceal the headliners stage set, throughout the performance Alissa was aggressive in her movements around the stage and quite a few times jumped off the drum riser. She also sung mainly with unclean vocals! Whilst Arch Enemy have been writing new material, their latest album “Will To Power” dates back to 2017.
Amon Amarth are frequent guests stateside, and every time their shows are spectacular, even if they are not headlining. This time, as the main act, they really brought there ‘A’ game. There was a giant Viking helmet positioned centre stage with drummer Jocke Wallgren above it and guitarists Olavi Mikkonen & Johan Söderberg, bassist Ted Lundström and vocalist Johan Hegg at the front trying to avoid random Vikings, serpents and other creatures appearing on stage. There was a lot of smoke and fire… a LOT of fire and random explosions mixed in for good measure. Why not? It was an Amon Amarth show after all!
The band who are currently supporting their latest studio album “Berserker”, which saw the light of day back in May of this year, opened with the first single from that album ‘Raven’s Flight’. From the start we entered into a loud and powerful Viking world, just don’t mention ‘Viking Metal’ to the band. Even though everything they do is about Vikings and Scandinavian mythology they prefer to be labelled Melodic Death Metal. So it was Melodic Death Metal about Vikings!!
The first creature came on stage during the track ‘Deceiver Of The Gods’, a fantastic demonic looking warrior with burning eyes and long horns. This was the title track from their 2013 album and, altogether, their setlist was pretty comprehensive including material from six of their eleven studio albums to date!
Amon Amarth completed their set with another bang and one of their most well-known songs from the earlier days ‘Twilight Of The Thunder God’. With that, an epic, visually and sonically, exceptional performance came to an end and their Viking ship sailed away from NYC harbour until the next time.
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All photos courtesy of Andy Jansons