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Amon Amarth/ Holy Grail and Eluveitie

Date: 4/25/10
Venue: The Fillmore, New York
Reviewed by: Andrew Jantas

Anytime the Vikings come to the US it is a truly memorable experience. The last two times Amon Amarth toured I had the pleasure of seeing them three times (for both treks), so I can definitely say I know the band very well. This, being the 3rd and last tour for the most recent album "Twilight of the Thunder God", I knew the Norseman would deliver 100% as they always do. Joining the Swedes on this jaunt would be California’s Holy Grail and Eluveitie from Switzerland.


This was my first time seeing openers Holy Grail. Having never heard of the band before I was instantly highly impressed with the traditional metal they brought to the table. Guitarists Eli and James were really tight and their simultaneous solos were amazing to watch. They offered tons of energy and really kept the crowd awake during their 6-7 song set. I must give high accolades to singer James Paul as he is almost on a Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden) level.


The last few times Eluveitie were in the States I either missed them or didn’t get to see their full set. Since I was against the barricade for Amon Amarth I would finally get to see Eluveitie up close (the first Paganfest was the last time I saw them when the Kirder brothers were still in the band). Without the bros, Eluveitie is still fun to watch but they have certainly lost a little of the energy. Chrigel Glanzmann (vocals, mandola, whistles, pipes,etc) now is the only one in the band who expresses most of the enthusiasm and keeps the performance lively. I will say this, the new material from the latest album "Everything Remains As It Never Was" does sound great live.


Playing to a sold out crowd, once the stage goes to black, the epic chilling intro Amon Amarth have been coming out to for years plays on the PA as the crowd roars and Fredrik A. gets behind the kit raising his hand high saluting the crowd with the horns. The band follows to the stage roaring into the crowd favorite ‘Twilight of the Thunder God’ and ‘Free Will Sacrifice’. Every time I see the Amon they are always super tight with so much ancient force. Tonight, Olavi Mikkonen would be sporting his brand new custom gold rune carved guitar (even his name is carved in gold on the side) and I learned from Steve (Amon's stage hand/ bassist for Engel) that Johan Soderberg would eventually have one of his own but it wasn't ready yet.

The setlist would be pretty much like the last time they were in the area except for few surprises in ‘The Dragons Across the Waves’, ’Tattered Banners and Bloody Flags’, the EPIC ‘And Soon the World Will Cease To Be’, and the fast paced ‘Live for the Kill’. All four of these I have never had the chance to see live before so I was very happy when they were played headbanging my ass off. As always they play the roaring anthem of ‘Death In Fire’ as the larger than life Viking Johan Hegg screams at the crowd to yell "FIRE" multiple times beforehand. With the raven’s crying in the background signaled it was time for encores ‘Cry of the Black Birds’ and crowd favorite finale ‘Pursuit of Vikings’ with lots of synchronizing windmill headbanging.

Johan H spoke to the people and promised the next time they would have a new album recorded. Amon Amarth are returning for the 70000 Tons of Metal cruise in Jan (which I was told would be the only North American appearance), but you never know. Even though it was a bit disappointing they didn't play the usual ‘Victorious March’, or my other fave off the most recent album, ‘Embrace of the Endless Ocean’, the band can do no wrong in my book.


Amon Amarth Setlist
Twilight of the Thunder God
Free Will Sacrifice
Valkyries Ride
Varyags of Miklagaard
The Dragons' Flight Across the Waves
Guardians of Asgaard
Under the Northern Star
Tattered Banners and Bloody Flags
Valhall Awaits Me
Death In Fire
Runes to My Memory
And Soon the World Will Cease to Be
Live For the Kill
Cry of the Blackbirds
The Pursuit of Vikings

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