Show Reviews > Amon Amarth

Amon Amarth
Fillmore - Silver Spring, MD
By Athena Schaffer

Photos by Keith Schaffer

Vikings raided and successfully conquered Washington, DC on April 21, 2016 - at least in spirit - as Sweden's Viking Metal legends Amon Amarth performed an amazing show at the Fillmore in the DC suburb of Silver Spring, MD. The thunderous musicianship rivaled that of Thor's own hammer, Mjolnir! The band is currently on tour to promote their new album, Jomsviking. Their setlist was a mix of old and new, all selections meeting with raucous audience approval -- the crowd even singing along to the tunes from Jomsviking!

Hailing from Sweden, these Viking marauders are: vocalist Johan Hegg, guitarists Olavi Mikkonen and Johan Soderberg, bassist Ted Lundstrom, and new drummer Jocke Wallgren (although Tobias Gustafsson performed those duties on the recording of Jomsviking). In fact, when Wallgren was introduced to the crowd, he was met with a warm, enthusiastic welcome indeed.

As the band took the stage, the audience was greeted with a stunning stage set, to say the least. There was a larger-than-life Viking helmet with the horns (not historically accurate, but that's what most people think of as "Viking"), and with the red, glowing eyes it was totally wicked and impressive. It also served as the drum riser, the drum set making a fitting metal crown! The backdrops changed from the Jomsviking cover to that of Surtur Rising to what might've been but wasn't the official cover to Deceiver of the Gods. Impressive artwork!

Hegg had the audience eating out of the palm of his hand -- seamlessly making the audience an integral part of the show as well. From the warmth of the smiles onstage, the band members were clearly enjoying themselves as much as the audience was loving them. Audience members were throwing gifts onstage. With Motley Crue or even Tom Jones, it was ladies' personal undergarments. For this show, it was a random shoe and a watch (which Hegg would not throw back into the audience for fear they would hurt someone)

At a few points, there were impressive Viking warriors onstage -- first with shields and spears, the spears carrying a banner with the Futhark Rune "Ansuz" (sacred to Odin, and meaning Wisdom, Truth, or Blessings), next with longbows and arrows threateningly aimed at the audience, and lastly as the "Guardians of Asgard" of the song's title and lyrics. Talk about a fun job -- where does one go to sign up to be the show's Viking warriors?! And do they have openings for maybe Valkyries or Shield Maidens as well? Sign me up!

At one point, Hegg donned a particularly evil-looking Loki costume for song selections from Deceiver of the Gods.

Local microbrewery provided gifts of beer, which the band thanked them for onstage, and led as the perfect intro to the new song "Raise Your Horns" -- every member of the audience either raised their own glasses or horns high in the air to join the band in a toast. Nice touch!

Nobody can please everybody all the time -- that said, my favorite album of theirs is "With Oden On Our Side". The whole day before the show, my husband and I were both singing, humming, and thinking about the title track. That and "Gods of War Arise". The only two songs from that album were included in the set list: "Cry of the Blackbirds" and "Runes To My Memory".

That said, I actually cried tears of joy when they played "Guardians of Asgard" and "Twilight of the Thunder God", I love those songs that much!

This was one of the best shows I've seen in a long time, and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute it! I can't wait until the next time the band's epic voyages bring them back to the Baltimore/Washington, DC corridor!

For those of you who might've missed it, Hegg was in the movie "Northmen: A Viking Saga" (and Amon Amarth songs were featured during the ending credits). I ran out to Best Buy and bought the movie the day it came out just because of Amon Amarth's connections! (And I was not disappointed. Great movie!)