Live Review: Amon Amarth, Eye Of The Enemy, Orpheus

17 April 2012 | 3:09 pm | Brendan Crabb

Few modern metal acts balance aggression, sheer visceral thrills and memorable hooks more effectively than the Swedish quintet.

More Amon Amarth More Amon Amarth

Taking plenty of cues from the headliners and their Swedish brethren, Orpheus' melodic death metal was a suitable soundtrack to a few brews. The Melbourne crew didn't pack many actual songs or any new ideas, but after initial indifference, increasingly gained punters' approval. Fellow Melburnians Eye Of The Enemy's thrash-infused melo-death/metalcore was also an appropriate, Euro-inspired inclusion. In terms of hunger, aggression and groove the band stacks up admirably against many of their foreign peers on record, but falls down in the all-important songwriting and personality departments. That was apparent throughout their set, but they were visibly pleased to be there, with their half-hour not lacking enthusiasm from band or crowd.

Songs with the muscle of Iron Maiden on steroids and countless references to Norse mythology are tailor-made for European festivals, when you're clutching a beer and surrounded by sweaty, fist-pumping and flag-waving diehards. Whether Amon Amarth's Viking-inspired metal would translate to a headlining set in an indoor venue was another matter, but any fears were quickly alleviated from the opening strains of War Of The Gods.

Impressively bearded man-mountain frontman Johan Hegg's imposing stage presence and ability to command a rabid crowd to give whatever reaction he desired was accompanied by his bandmates' never-ending wave of windmilling hair and taut, aggressive playing. A smattering of attendees proudly thrusting drinking horns in the air and donning Viking helmets certainly helped create the necessary celebratory atmosphere.

Few modern metal acts balance aggression, sheer visceral thrills and memorable hooks more effectively than the Swedish quintet. Despite having their harmony-drenched guitars hampered by a slightly muddy mix, uproarious singalongs greeted numerous cuts, most notably The Pursuit Of Vikings, Valhall Awaits Me, Death In Fire and bruising closing duo, Twilight Of The Thunder God and Guardians Of Asgaard. A 19-song set gave dedicated fans plenty of bang for their proverbial buck as all the necessary bases were touched on, from their 1998 debut to last year's Surtur Rising. That said, given that variety has never really been their friend, perhaps 100 minutes of treading along similar lines did test the attention span a fraction. You can't really fault a band for giving those loyal to them precisely what they want though and those quibbles aside, thank Odin for a band as consistently powerful and unapologetically brutal as Amon Amarth.

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter