22nd January 2015
Three months after an unforgettable sold out gig with Dragonforce, the Colchester Arts Centre welcomed Amon Amarth, who were still at the beginning of their 2015 “Deceiver of the Gods” European tour after a few dates in the UK. On Thursday 22nd of January; since the release of their ninth assault bearing the same name of their current tour in 2013, this terrifying horde of Vikings almost didn’t stop being on tour and spent their time pillaging and devastating most parts of the world on their drakkar. Supported by two bands that didn’t have any similarities with them, those warriors totally enslaved the whole crowd that night in a place their ancestors surely didn’t appreciate a lot: a church…
Before the beginning of the concert, I had the chance to attend the soundcheck sessions of both support acts. It was a good thing for me to see Savage Messiah playing in particular because I wasn’t expecting what happened to me in the hour that followed their soundcheck session. At the entrance gate of the venue which is in fact a church surrounded by an old graveyard (for the ones who don’t know the Colchester Arts Centre), the organisers told me that my name didn’t appear on the guest list and due to some administrative issues, I had to wait a long time until everything got solved.
As a consequence, I missed almost all the Savage Messiah set (3.5/5) which was very frustrating as I really like this Londoner band. I could only attend their last song unfortunately. But from what I’ve heard from them in the end, I can say that I have been convinced by their catchy speed/thrash metal. They play this style of music in the old-school way which is the one I prefer by far.
Their songs represent a good tribute to most of all thrash metal glories that marked the history of this genre in the 80’s. Those musicians have good technical skills, especially the guitar solos which are performed brilliantly. They know very well their subject, there’s no doubt about it. It’s just a pity I couldn’t hear more from them but it will be for next time hopefully. Before soundchecking, I had the opportunity to discuss with Joff Bailey (guitars) who confirmed me they were happy to be signed at Earache Records after a one-album contract with Candlelight Records.
Furthermore, they still have two more albums to be released according to their current contract with Earache, which is a very positive point for them.
The next band Huntress (4/5), follows exactly the same style as their predecessors. Coming from Highland Park in California, they mix successfully heavy and thrash metal genres even though we feel a big lack of personality in some of their compositions. Indeed, the structure of certain songs is very similar to what heavy/thrash metal acts such as Overkill, Eidolon and Eldritch used to do in the past. Huntress lacks of originality musically speaking, that’s a fact but fortunately, Jill Janus is the element that enables them to stand out from the aforementioned bands from a global point of view.
Their live performance was simply excellent from the beginning until the end. Jill’s voice is clearly the strong point of this US quintet as she alternates shrill screams, harsh vocals and high-pitched singing with great ease. Her vocals on stage are as powerful as in studio. The other members also did really well while the crowd enjoyed their whole set. The most well-known tracks “Spell Eater”, “Eight of Swords” and the melodic “I Want to Fuck You to Death” (co-written by Lemmy Kilmister) were nicely performed.
They also played a brand new song from their forthcoming new album that will be available in July 2015 approximately through Napalm Records. After thirty seconds, Jill interrupted everything by asking her musicians to stop playing because that song was performed very badly in her opinion. Then, she asked them to do 20 push-ups to punish them in a funny way and they did it! At first glance, I think it was ridiculous but in the end, I would say… Why not? It’s good to see some bands have still a sense of humour. Anyway, if you have the opportunity to see Huntress on stage, you can expect to be surprised for sure.
Things were getting serious when an epic and symphonic introduction burst in the Arts Centre. Everybody was waiting for them. After acclaiming both support acts, the crowd turned totally crazy as the mighty Vikings of Amon Amarth (5/5) came on stage to play the powerful and unstoppable “Father of the Wolf”. Then came a deluge of fantastic death metal hymns to their Norse gods. It was at once melodic, technical and devastating.
They’ve simply shown all what a death metal maniac is expecting from them. All songs were performed almost to perfection. Johan’s charisma and sympathy conquered the whole crowd at each of his speeches. Believe me, I’ve tried to find out any negative points regarding their live performance but I couldn’t find any. Both old and new Amon Amarth fans were fully satisfied. They indeed played many recent hits such as “Deceiver of the Gods”, “Twilight of the Thunder God”, “For Victory or Death”, “Guardians of Asgaard” and also their old classics “Death in Fire” and “The Pursuit of Vikings”.
They proved that the Swedish school of melodic death metal is still impressive and far from being dead. Their performance was simply astonishing, there’s no more to say about it.
In 917, the armies of King Edward the Elder defeated the Vikings in Colchester. It was a long time ago, I know. After more than one thousand years after this historical event, I can say now their descendants have reconquered that city and finally got their revenge!
For more complete video songs of Amon Amarth’s live performance in Colchester, please check the following link: