Amon Amarth, Huntress and Savage Messiah
Manchester Academy 2,25/01/15
Review by Nick Adamson
Photography by Mia Metall
On a cold January night in Manchester it’s awesome see many people pouring through the doors of Academy 2 to see three of the most exciting metal bands touring today. Savage Messiah are an up and coming British thrash band carving themselves reputation, Huntress are no strangers to our fair isles building on an already pretty firm fan base, and Amon Amarth, who have been Viking their way across Europe and the United States for years leaving hordes of loyal warriors in their wake.
Savage Messiah exploded on to the stage with “Iconocaust” the opening track from their newest album The Fateful Dark. Their latest album features heavily in this set and it’s easy to see why. The energy, passion and precision of this set is formidable, and is a definite sign that British heavy metal still has plenty to offer the world. After assaulting the Mancunian masses with break neck speed, the London based quartet played the title track “The fateful Dark”, a super groove monster of a song that had the crowd banging their heads in unison. They brought the set to a close with what was my favourite song from Savage Messiah, “Minority of One”. These guys are definitely going to be big, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them getting slots on the bigger festivals across Europe.
Having seen Huntress on several previous occasions at festivals and bigger venues I was looking forward to experiencing their blend of powerful music and fantastic imagery in a more intimate setting. I was quite surprised when they began the show with “Spell Eater”, as I would’ve classed that song as one of Huntress’ anthems and expected it to be later in the set. The other thing that caught me off guard was the fact that they were performing as a four-piece. Having read since then about the unfortunate incident between guitarist Eli Santana and the dross of Stoke on Trent’s nightlife, it is admirable that Huntress performed at all, and perform they did! (After having to spend the sound check learning to cover two guitar parts with one guitarist, meaning they were unavailable to do our scheduled interview).
As well as crowd favourites “Zenith” and the aggressively provocative “I want to fuck you to death” we were treated to a preview of new material “Black Tongue” and “Harsh times on planet stoked”. If these two songs are anything to go by the new album is well worth checking out.
After the obligatory trips to both the bar and the bathroom, the crowd was building in anticipation for the impending Norse invasion. I dare say that the landing at Lindisfarne would have been even more devastating with “Father of the Wolf” as the soundtrack. With smoke billowing up from the stage and the band standing in line, heads banging in unison, Manchester erupted.
Amon Amarth are the embodiment of power, groove and ferocity, managing to blend death metal with expansive tales of gods, war and treachery. After recovering from throat troubles earlier in the week, Johan Hegg was on superb form, being as charming as ever and inciting the crowd to embrace their inner Viking as we ploughed through Miklagaard, Asgaard and across the seas! I’d be very surprised to find anyone say they were disappointed at an Amon Amarth show, and this continued when the encore began with “Twilight of the Thunder God” and Johan strode across the stage, Mjolnir in hand, ready to unleash the thunder.
They closed with “The Pursuit of Vikings” and the crowd being urged to sing along, regardless of knowing the words as this is death metal and no one can understand them anyway! Amon Amarth are a band I make every effort to see whenever I get the chance, and I will continue to do so. In a metal scene that is full of neigh-sayers and doom and gloom merchants, it is so relieving to spending an evening watching a band that remembers when Heavy Metal and all music should be about, enjoying yourself.