Amon Amarth at The Wiltern Los Angeles
Deceiver of the Gods North American Tour 2014
Feb. 15, 2014
Review and photos by Metalette
Saturday night the hordes amassed to see Amon Amarth at the Wiltern – a grand old theater of Los Angeles that was a fitting establishment for the Swedish death metal Vikings to play in. Earlier in the day, I passed by the Wiltern and saw people camping in tents outside, waiting for the show! Quite impressive.
The venue was full and the curtains were drawn when I arrived. Even from the soundcheck I knew this was going to be an amazing show. Soon enough all the lights dimmed, and noble, mood-setting music began as the curtains drew back to reveal Amon Amarth’s enormous Viking ship onstage! Banners with the images of scores of warriors decorated either side of the ship, with Loki and Thor fighting in the background, above it all. Fog filled the stage, pouring from the mouth of the dragon-headed ship, and the dragon’s eyes glowed in the fog.
Amon Amarth themselves came onstage and immediately ripped into what was a killer set. They played every song I wanted to hear, including “Varyags of Miklagaard”, “Guardians of Asgard”, “The Pursuit of Vikings”, and “Twilight of the Thunder God”, to name just a few.
I saw Amon Amarth last year at a festival, which was indeed a great show as well, but seeing them indoors at the Wiltern was something else. Maybe it was the lighting, the fog, the crushing sound, or the more intimate feel of the venue, but the word that comes to mind in describing Amon Amarth’s performance is “spiritual”. Though, “majestic tribal heathenry” would suffice as well. I got chills on multiple occasions during their show.
Vocalist Johan Hegg, a man with a famously epic beard, had a masterful command of the crowd and stage. He made us LA metal-heads feel pretty cool by commending us for being a party city – well, Amon Amarth certainly knew how to bring the party as well! Hegg toasted to us with a swig from his giant, carved drinking horn, saying “Skål!” (a Scandinavian toast, in case you didn’t know) and afterwards releasing a mighty beer-burp into the microphone. “It had to come out!” said Hegg. If anybody was ever the epitome of a jolly but somewhat-intimidating-and-battle-hardened Viking chieftain, it is truly Johan Hegg.
Amon Amarth concluded their show with “The Pursuit of Vikings”, and they really went out in style. Before the song began, thunder blasted through the venue, and lightning flashed around the Viking ship, the dragon’s eyes alight and fog filling the stage. I felt transported to the cold, harsh, Nordic waters, with a storm raging around a ship of stoic warriors. Towards the end of the song, Hegg had the crowd sing the chorus along with him several times, teaching the words to any who didn’t know. Then he pronounced us all true Vikings, and I’m pretty sure my life is now complete because of that.
I know I’m one of many who can’t wait for Amon Amarth to invade the city of Los Angeles once more!