Amon Amarth, Enslaved, Skeletonwitch - Revolution Live, Ft. Lauderdale, FL - 26 Jan 2014

Event: Amon Amarth: Deceiver Of The Gods US Tour 2014
Written by: Apothecary
Published: 30.01.2014

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Skeletonwitch, Enslaved, Amon Amarth - Fort Lauderdale, USA - 26 Jan 2014 by D.T. Metal (52)
Sunday night and a chilly winter breeze saw me journeying to Ft. Lauderdale's own Revolution Live to once again don my battle armor and support The Cause. I had seen many top quality performances there in the past (Machine Head, Devin Townsend, and Septicflesh, to name a few), but this time around the great Odinists Amon Amarth were on the menu, supported by the excellent choices of fellow Scandinavians Enslaved, and U.S. retro-thrashers Skeletonwitch.

After an almost unbearably long wait in the line, the metal bulls were finally let loose, and like a seasoned professional I carefully shoved my way into the pit area at the center of the venue and grounded myself firmly near the front of the stage. The place was pretty packed for a Sunday night, with a good audience turnout that I immediately knew was going to make for a great show. Before the mayhem started, a promoter took to the stage to toss out some plastic cups into the audience that had tickets to future shows at Revolution in them, one of which I actually caught for an Iced Earth gig later in April (score!). With the lights then beginning to dim, I took a few swigs from my flask and let the rituals commence.




I had seen Skeletonwitch several times before in support of other bands, and they had always delivered strong sets of fun violent thrash inductive of large amounts of moshing and headbanging. This time around was certainly no exception.

The Ohio guys kicked off with "This Horrifying Force (The Desire To Kill)," and the chaos erupted like a volcano. The pit opened up and raged throughout the band's entire set, there was plenty of crowd surfing, and the usual cases of security people having to yell at audience members for flying flags and blocking the view of the stage. Chance Garnette belted out his trademark high energy shrieks in full force, with Nate and Scott carving riffs alongside and Evan and Dustin holding down and steadily pulsating rhythm throughout. Most of the songs in the set were taken from the two most recent albums (Serpents Unleashed and Forever Abomination), but later in Skeletonwitch also threw out some of their older material, such as "Crushed Beyond Dust" and "Beyond The Permafrost." They closed out with the near decade old "Within My Blood," to much sing along from the crowd, and Chance bid us farewell with his trademark reminder to "drink beer, smoke weed, and eat some fucking pussy!"









Then came the band I was most excited to see, Enslaved. I had never imagined they ever would've come to Florida, and always figured that if they did, it would be in support of another band. I was curious to see how the audience would react to the contrast of sound: from an aggressive blackened thrash band to some more mellow, progressive-tinged black metal. The lights again began to dim, the sweat and testosterone from earlier subsided, and a new mood took over.

To put it simply, Enslaved are pretty phenomenal live. Ivar, Grutle and company started off with the recent "Death In The Eyes Of Dawn," from their latest RIITIIR album, and the atmosphere was set immediately. A mesmerizing prog vibe coupled with some extreme vocals and smooth riffs had the audience hypnotized throughout. The headbanging and moshing pretty much died down, although the pit (and even some crowd surfing!) did start going again when the band fired up the classic "Allfáðr Oðinn," from their 1993 Hordanes Land EP. I have to say, the one member who was probably the most fun to watch throughout their entire set was Herbrand Larsen. He may not have been front and center, but the keyboardist was still there off to the right of the stage, carefully adding in a layer of sound effects and delivering the clean vocals during Enslaved's more melodic passages. After ending with the epic "Isa," the band members all got together and bowed several times before departing, with thunderous applause from the crowd.









Now it was time for the main course of the evening, the Viking warlords themselves, Amon Amarth. I had heard many things about their live performances, both good and bad, but it's pretty safe to say that these Swedes totally brought the party for this performance, and left an excellent first impression on me.

I don't know if some people were just hanging outside Revolution until they went on or what, but the crowd size for Amon Amarth saw a drastic increase. The pit had been more or less navigable for the previous two bands, but now it was packed to the brim with people, to the point of being so tight that you could barely move your arms. With Johan Hegg at the helm, the band began their slaughter with "Father Of The Wolf" from last year's Deceiver Of The Gods, and then gradually eased their way into some older, more familiar territory with stuff like "Guardians Of Asgaard" and "Cry Of The Blackbirds."





Expectedly, the energy level was sky high, and there was a huge degree of crowd enthusiasm for these guys: tons of singing along, clapping, and chanting to choruses, with Johan throwing the mic out to us on a good number of occasions. I had had people tell me the band used a lot of stage props live, in particular a giant Viking ship. The theatricality unfortunately wasn't at that level, but there was still a very fun aesthetic to the entire set, in particular Johan's brief rushes backstage to fill his horn with beer before coming back out to salute us before downing it. Amon Amarth had seemingly finished with "War Of The Gods," but after much crowd persistence, came back for the encores of "Twilight Of The Gods" and "The Pursuit Of Vikings." For the latter, the band extended the chorus for an extra minute or two, with Johan abandoning vocal duty for a moment and having us all chant it repeatedly ourselves before moving on to a climactic finish and lengthy cheering from the audience. If these guys didn't wear everyone out that night, I don't know what did.









All in all, this was one of the best shows I've been to in quite a while. It should really be noted that part of what made it so excellent was the diversity of the bands. There were only three, but between blackened thrash, progressive black, and melodic death metal the evening was chalk full of a wide array of emotions and audience reactions, and it was a far cry from all the local shows with one cookie cutter thrash band after another that plague South Florida. If this tour happens to be stopping in any city you live in or close to, I don't care what you have to do. Skip school, call in some bullshit excuse to your employer, hire a babysitter, whatever. Just get your asses to it!


 



Written on 30.01.2014 by
Apothecary
"Show me a sane man, and I will cure him for you"
-Carl Jung
More articles by Apothecary ››




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Traezeus - 05.02.2014 at 09:28  
I was there, dude. Had a conversation with a group of like 6 dudes from Holland. They flew in for 70 Tons of Metal and figured "Why the fuck not see Amon Amarth the night before?" Learned some interesting things and even got bought an $8 Heineken (they insisted)

But the show was definitely sick, Amon Amarth played a great setlist and the openers were pretty enjoyable. I've seen them twice before at the Culture Room, and I have to say, I definitely prefer Revolution. Hopefully if Opeth comes back down they'll make the switch as well.
Apothecary - 05.02.2014 at 15:50  
Written by Traezeus on 05.02.2014 at 09:28

The show was definitely sick, Amon Amarth played a great setlist and the openers were pretty enjoyable. I've seen them twice before at the Culture Room, and I have to say, I definitely prefer Revolution. Hopefully if Opeth comes back down they'll make the switch as well.

I think I know what Culture Room date (well one, at least) you're talking about, that double set night where they played through Surtur Rising and then played another set? I was there too. Revolution is a great venue, and I've been preferring it a lot to the Culture Room because lately the latter have been getting a lot tighter with their security lately for some reason. I saw Danny Brown (good rapper) there back in December, and when he was encouraging people in the crowd to light up blunts, security guys were literally shoving their way through people and chasing after whoever did.
Traezeus - 05.02.2014 at 19:28  
Written by Apothecary on 05.02.2014 at 15:50

Written by Traezeus on 05.02.2014 at 09:28

The show was definitely sick, Amon Amarth played a great setlist and the openers were pretty enjoyable. I've seen them twice before at the Culture Room, and I have to say, I definitely prefer Revolution. Hopefully if Opeth comes back down they'll make the switch as well.

I think I know what Culture Room date (well one, at least) you're talking about, that double set night where they played through Surtur Rising and then played another set? I was there too. Revolution is a great venue, and I've been preferring it a lot to the Culture Room because lately the latter have been getting a lot tighter with their security lately for some reason. I saw Danny Brown (good rapper) there back in December, and when he was encouraging people in the crowd to light up blunts, security guys were literally shoving their way through people and chasing after whoever did.

Hah, yep, you were there! I saw Summer Slaughter at Revolution a few years back and people were smokin j's all over the place so I'm surprised that security was so uptight at a rap concert (profiling?). I guess it IS the law (albeit a lame one IMO). Revolutions awesome balcony alone makes it better than Culture Room.. not to mention the horrible acoustics of the Culture Room, as the stage is in a small ass room attached to another room that has NO FUCKING CEILING (with no doors in between!!!). Clearly there wasn't much thought there. Anyways, this is not the bash Culture Room thread, I was just surprised at how much better a show the same band can put on at a different venue. It was like night and day, especially with the sound quality (both times at Culture the sound guys couldn't figure out to make the vocals audible in the mix). Rock on bro! I'm sure I'll catch another review of yours in the future and be like "Oh shit, I was there, too!"
Apothecary - 05.02.2014 at 23:06  
Written by Traezeus on 05.02.2014 at 19:28

Revolutions awesome balcony alone makes it better than Culture Room.... Rock on bro! I'm sure I'll catch another review of yours in the future and be like "Oh shit, I was there, too!"

Indeed, definitely one of the venue's best features. That second Amon Amarth pic was taken by one of my friends from the balcony (I was in the pit), so it definitely can be a great vantage point. And of course man, I try to hit up South Florida shows whenever I can. Stay metal
Ace Frawley - 08.02.2014 at 05:30  
Nice summary. I saw Enslaved in Sydney late last year and they were brilliant. Seeing Amon Amarth in Sydney in a couple of weeks. I think they'll notice the temperate change from North America to Australia. It's 38 degrees (celsius) in Canberra today (which is 100 in farenheit).
DreadfulYgg - 10.02.2014 at 21:47  
These are both great live bands. I haven't seen Amon Amarth play since they were touring the Twilight of the Thunder God album. And I've seen Enslaved play a few times already. Given that I haven't really been into AA's new material since that album, and likewise with Enslaved's last album, I'll probably be skipping this outing.
Apothecary - 10.02.2014 at 23:20  
Written by DreadfulYgg on 10.02.2014 at 21:47

I haven't really been into AA's new material since that album, and likewise with Enslaved's last album

Really? I thought RIITIIR was pretty solid personally, what didn't you like about it?
DreadfulYgg - 11.02.2014 at 00:08  
Written by Apothecary on 10.02.2014 at 23:20

Written by DreadfulYgg on 10.02.2014 at 21:47

I haven't really been into AA's new material since that album, and likewise with Enslaved's last album

Really? I thought RIITIIR was pretty solid personally, what didn't you like about it?

Actually, I feel the same about RIITIIR. It is very solid and I rate it in the 7/10 range. But when I compare to other works they've done, especially coming off the heels of Axioma Ethica Odini (which is one of my favorite Enslaved albums), RIITIIR doesn't seem as essential. It's less consistent, and is more like Axioma 1.5 than a further evolution of their sound. Axioma truly felt like an energy had returned to the band after the lackluster (by their standards) Vertebrae, which also came after one of my favorite Enslaved albums in Ruun. That being said, for a band as late into their career as they are, RIITIIR is a damn impressive album on its own.
Apothecary - 11.02.2014 at 00:10  
Written by DreadfulYgg on 11.02.2014 at 00:08

RIITIIR doesn't seem as essential. It's less consistent, and is more like Axioma 1.5 than a further evolution of their sound. Axioma truly felt like an energy had returned to the band after the lackluster (by their standards) Vertebrae, which also came after one of my favorite Enslaved albums in Ruun. That being said, for a band as late into their career as they are, RIITIIR is a damn impressive album on its own.

I can agree that it did feel a little redundant, perhaps that's why. It was a good release, but not up there with my favorites from the bands (Frost, Below The Lights, and Axioma, if you were wondering).
DreadfulYgg - 11.02.2014 at 00:20  
Written by Apothecary on 11.02.2014 at 00:10

Written by DreadfulYgg on 11.02.2014 at 00:08

RIITIIR doesn't seem as essential. It's less consistent, and is more like Axioma 1.5 than a further evolution of their sound. Axioma truly felt like an energy had returned to the band after the lackluster (by their standards) Vertebrae, which also came after one of my favorite Enslaved albums in Ruun. That being said, for a band as late into their career as they are, RIITIIR is a damn impressive album on its own.

I can agree that it did feel a little redundant, perhaps that's why. It was a good release, but not up there with my favorites from the bands (Frost, Below The Lights, and Axioma, if you were wondering).


Even though I've listened to the band for years and years, I'm still tackling their early/mid material. Same goes for Frost. I've heard it a few times but nothing has really stuck yet. I think maybe getting used to their purely aggressive black metal sound is my main struggle. It is compelling enough to keep me returning though.

Below the Lights is really good, too, but if I was to pick a third favorite then I'd go with Isa.
The Galactican - 12.02.2014 at 06:34  
I'm flying to San Francisco from Seattle in a couple of days specifically to check out this bill. Thanks for the great review! I was already pretty excited and now I am even more so.
Ace Frawley - 10.03.2014 at 11:31  
"To put it simply, Enslaved are pretty phenomenal live." - concur.
BitterCOld - 10.03.2014 at 19:44  
Have seen Enslaved live three times now, never failed to impress... thought Axioma was the best. great combo of their prog development with their past edge and aggression. really translated well live. the gig I reviewed several years ago was great as well because they pulled a couple tracks from their back catalog.
Apothecary - 12.03.2014 at 15:57  
Written by BitterCOld on 10.03.2014 at 19:44

The gig I reviewed several years ago was great as well because they pulled a couple tracks from their back catalog.

Yep, always great when bands do that. Behemoth are a good example I wish would play more older material live
barnesy - 13.03.2014 at 17:19  
I saw these guys in Salt Lake City and I've still gotta hard on- that was on Feb. 12, 2014. Who needs viagra right?

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