Concert Review: Amon Amarth, Skeletonwitch & Sabaton at the Webster Theater in Hartford, CT
Reviewed by: B. Cross
Thunderous heavy metal reigns supreme when Amon Amarth comes calling. Despite the unseasonably warm and humid weather, there was a massive turnout when the venerated band and friends hit the Webster Theater in Hartford, CT.
Wasting no time, openers Skeletonwitch unleashed the serpents with a multi-pronged extreme metal blend. With crowdpleasers like “Beyond the Permafrost” and “Stand, Fight, and Die” taking their place alongside newer material like “Burned from Bone,” the intensity didn’t let up for a second. Dual guitar assaults backed by a pummeling bassline and tight drum work, not to mention Chance Garnette’s high-energy vocals, set the tone for the entire evening.
Sabaton stormed the stage shortly thereafter, clad in fatigues as would befit their war-themed power metal. Despite sounding different than their tourmates, especially in terms of vocal delivery, Sabaton fit right in on this tour, and they had a solid fanbase in the crowd. Just as important as their musicianship was the fact that they were absolutely thrilled to be on stage; Sabaton were all smiles and pleasantly surprised at the huge group of people shouting their name over and over again. This only served to amp their performance up even higher, shredding through “Resist and Bite” (from their latest effort Heroes) among classics like “Swedish Pagans.”
The hulking Swedes in Amon Amarth took over for the main event, with frontman Johan Hegg brandishing a drinking horn as the guardians of Asgard roared right into “Deceiver of the Gods” off their recent album of the same name. As they throw classic twin leads à la Iron Maiden and Judas Priest into a melting pot of modern Swedish death metal, Amon Amarth are absolutely at the head of the class. Enhanced by fog machines spewing forth mist and a simple yet effective lightshow, the band’s unrelenting pace made everyone want to join a Viking horde and rampage across the countryside. Fortunately for any unsuspecting villagers, the extremity was tightly contained within the venue, complete with guitar solos that would melt your face off. Killer performances of “Father of the Wolf,” “Death in Fire,” and “Destroyer of the Universe” kept the fists and horns pumping, with Hegg demanding that the audience sing along even if they don’t know the words; after all, “it’s fucking death metal, no one cares!” As Amon Amarth’s set drew to a close, everyone knew things weren’t truly over; with Hegg wielding mighty Mjölnir itself, the band launched into an encore featuring “Twilight of the Thunder God,” which was most appropriate considering the stormy conditions outside. Finishing off their nearly two-hour set with “The Pursuit of Vikings,” Amon Amarth left to a cacophony of roars and applause.
As the crowd ventured out into the oppressively muggy night, they were left with the extreme metal experience echoing in their minds and pounding through their veins. An Amon Amarth show is practically a metal rite of passage, and with all three bands continuing to tour this fall…get off your ass. You don’t want to miss ’em!