Live Review: Amon Amart at Captiol

26 April 2012 | 11:01 am | Simon Holland

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The doors of Capitol were thrown open to the hordes on Thursday night to accommodate Swedish masters of war Amon Amarth. Axes were sheathed at the door as a surprisingly demure crowd filled the venue, amped to see the leading exponents of the viking genre. Though things started off quietly, they quickly descended into the chaos we know and love. South Australian support act Universum kicked off the show with a mind-blowing set crammed with high-calibre melodic death. Flat-out drumming, lightning fast licks and deep guttural vocals provided counterpoints to catchy riffing and soary melodies. The crowd was clearly impressed, issuing loud howls of appreciation. There aren't many acts that can produce this kind of power, let alone a Scandinavian-style band hailing from the diminutive South Oz.  Fractured Archetype and 2.0 provided the jewels in the crown of a festival-ready group set for a bright future.

Amon Amarth sailed into port to wreak havoc on the innocent local population with their third trip to our shores. The patented ferocious drum attack and chugging Nordic riffs crushed the puny mortal sound system with their power. The imposing figure of vocalist Johan Hegg belied his cheesy grins and genuine good humour. It wasn't that gigantic of a leap to picture the former butcher as a sixth-century warlord, and thus the womenfolk in the crowd drew their partners closer amidst his cavernous vocal attacks. Therein lies the essence of the magic behind Amon Amarth – they feel genuine.Tracks from the latest album, Surtur Rising, played an important role in the first half of the set. War Of The Gods kicked off the set with Hegg's trademark roar, before riffing took over and the drums kicked into hyper-drive. There they remained as Destroyer Of The Universe  and Live Without Regrets were unleashed in quick succession. For Victory Or Death was a notable standout from the new tracks and marked probably the biggest deviation from the classic Amon Amarth sound. As strong as the album are the gems from the extensive back catalogue, which received the loudest cheers. Pursuit Of The Vikings, Victorious March and the crushing Death In Fire revved the crowd towards a collective mindless insanity. One can only imagine the carnage if the vikings actually had Amon Amarth blasting from their ships during battle.