Amon Amarth w/ Arch Enemy, At The Gates, and Grand Magus | Berserker North American Tour | Photos + Review

10-26-19 – Amon Amarth Invades Los Angeles With A Full Swedish Army By Their Side

Venue: The Hollywood Palladium on 10/26/19

Amon Amarth has been on my bucket list of bands I would like to see and photograph for quite some time. After hearing many positive things from friends, I finally got into them a couple of years back when I heard their 2008 album “Twilight of the Thunder God”. I knew right then and there that I would need to see and photograph them the next time they came to the United States. They announced their North American Tour in support of their newest album “Berserker”, which had support from melodic death metal heavyweights Arch Enemy and At The Gates, with Grand Magus opening the show. With all four bands coming from Sweden, this was bound to be an amazing night filled with Swedish metal.

The first band up was Grand Magus from Stockholm, Sweden. I would best describe the band as good ole fashioned heavy metal mixed with doom metal and stoner metal. As the only band to feature clean vocals for the night, they opened the show playing a five-song set, which showcased songs from their 2019 record “Wolf God”, which was released via Nuclear Blast Records, “Hammer of the North”, which was released in 2010 via Roadrunner Records, and “Iron Will”, which was released in 2008 via Rise Above Records. Vocalist and lead guitarist Janne Christofferson shredded some incredible solos and sang amazingly. Bassist Mats Skinner brought the groove and deep tones through his bass and sang the harmonies perfectly. Drummer Ludwig Witt played some complex drum patterns, which help guide the songs. I was personally happy to hear them play “Untamed”, which is my favorite song of theirs. I was thoroughly impressed with Grand Magus’ performance and thought they opened the show perfectly!

SETLIST

  1. I The Jury
  2. Untamed
  3. Like The Oar Strikes The Water
  4. Iron Will
  5. Hammer of the North

At The Gates from Gothenburg, Sweden. I was extremely excited to finally see At The Gates. When many early metalcore bands express inspirations for their music, At The Gates was almost always listed. At The Gates is best described as good ole fashioned melodic death metal. I was personally impressed with Tomas Lindberg’s vocal style, which mainly consists of highs and mids, with a few low growls but is very rare. Lead guitarist Jonas Stålhammar and rhythm guitarist Martin Larsson meshed perfectly, and even had dueling guitar solos from time to time, which is something very common in melodic death metal and is one elements of the genre. Bassist Jonas Björler was extremely energetic on stage, headbanging and hyping up the crowd while also slamming some force filled bass tones into the music. Finishing out the band’s lineup is drummer Adrian Erlandsson, who absolutely crushed it up there with technical drum parts that helped created the foundation for the band’s fast paced melodic death metal. The band played a nine-song set, consisting of songs from 2018’s “To Drink From The Night Itself”, 2014’s “At War With Reality”, which were both released via Century Media Records, as well as a couple of songs from 1995’s “Slaughter of the Soul” which was released via Earache Records. I was personally ecstatic to hear “To Drink From The Night Itself”, which is my favorite song from the band to date with its speed and intensity. I was ecstatic to finally see these guys and they exceeded my expectations. I hope to see and photograph them again next time they come out to the United States!

SETLIST

  1. To Drink From The Night Itself
  2. Slaughter From The Soul
  3. At War With Reality
  4. The Colours of the Beast
  5. Cold
  6. Heroes and Tombs
  7. Death and the Labyrinth
  8. Blinded By Fear
  9. The Night Eternal

The all mighty Arch Enemy was up next from Halmstad, Sweden. This was my third time seeing this band, but my first finally photographing them. The previous two times I saw them was when they headlined, the first being in 2015 when they headlined The Summer Slaughter Tour, and the second being in 2017 when they did a co-headlining tour with Trivium. Arch Enemy came out on stage with full force, with “The World Is Yours”, “War Eternal”, and “My Apocalypse” starting out their set. Vocalist Alissa White-Gluz knows how to command a stage and a crowd, with headbangs and a vocal range that is a stand out amongst many in the melodic death metal genre. Acting as co-lead guitarists, Michael Amott and Jeff Loomis shredded those notes with perfection, with dueling guitar solos to put the icing on top. Bassist Sharlee D’Angelo is a beat on stage, shredding through those deep and thick toned bass lines. Drummer Daniel Erlandsson slayed it on drums, beating through those intensely fast and technical parts to perfection, with lots of headbangs and energy radiating from his’ kit. A big reason I go back to see Arch Enemy time and time again is because they are an insanely talented band and truly put on one hell of a show. Each member is insanely high energy, and they truly engage with their audience members, which makes for an incredible show. The band played an 8-song set, the band played songs from 2017’s “Will To Power”, 2014’s “War Eternal”, 2005’s “Doomsday Machine”, and 2001’s “Wages of Sin”, which were all released via Century Media Records. I was once again blown away by Arch Enemy’s set and cannot wait to see them once again when they come out here again soon!

SETLIST

  1. The World Is Yours
  2. War Eternal
  3. My Apocalypse
  4. Ravenous
  5. The Eagle Flies Alone
  6. First Day In Hell
  7. As The Pages Burn
  8. Nemesis

Amon Amarth from Tumba, Sweden finally hit the stage. For their headlining set, the band went all out on theatrics. With stellar lighting, set pieces, and flames, the band set the stage to set the sold-out crowd at The Hollywood Palladium on fire. The band came out swinging with “Raven’s Flight”, “Death In Fire”, and “Deceiver of the Gods”. I was ecstatic to not only see them play Raven’s Flight, but to be in the photo pit while they played it. The band’s vocalist Johan Hegg knows how to command a stage with force and power. With lyrical content covering topics of gladiator and viking battles, Johan’s deep vocals and stage presence helps guide the performance through. Guitarists Olavi Mikkonen and Johan Söderberg shredded to their hearts content, with melodic melodies and dueling guitar solos. Drummer Jocke Wallgren held down the fort in the back with his booming fast drums with changing time signatures that guided the songs to perfection. Bassist Ted Lundström finishes out the band’s lineup with his’ deeply routed bass tones that also show the band’s technical abilities. The band was extremely fun to watch, and even included a blow up giant that Johan Hegg had to slay when the band closed out their set with “Twilight of the Thunder God”. They played a total of 12-songs, ranging from six of their 11 albums, most of which were released via Metal Blade Records. After a couple of years of listening to them and playing “Twilight of the Thunder God” on Rock Band 4, I am truly happy I was given the opportunity to finally see these melodic death metal greats.

SETLIST

  1. Raven’s Flight
  2. Death In Fire
  3. Deceiver of the Gods
  4. First Kill
  5. Fafner’s Gold
  6. Crack The Sky
  7. The Way of Vikings
  8. Shield’s Wall
  9. Guardians Of Asgaard
  10. Raise Your Horns

ENCORE

11. The Pursuit of Vikings

12. Twilight of the Thunder God

The Berserker North American Tour was an absolute blast. Grand Magus opened the show with melodies and entertainment. At The Gates demolished the stage next and proved why they are so highly regarded. Arch Enemy came on next as direct support and proved just why they are one of my all-time favorite bands. Then finally, Amon Amarth came on and set the venue on fire. It was an incredible show!

Amon Amarth | Arch Enemy | At The Gates | Grand Magus

Photos + Review courtesy of Jamie Kaufman | Instagram

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