Midweek gigs are never the greatest. They often have lacklustre crowds and the bands don’t really get the response that they deserve. This concert however proved to be an exception. With three bands that can headline in their own right playing a show at one the best venues in Glasgow, this proved to be a rather eventful night.
First up on the stage were Swedish metallers Grand Magus(7). Having seen the band over a year ago with Enslaved, I knew what I was expecting. Coming on stage to a rather epic intro of orchestral instruments, the band launched into “I The Jury” from 2010’s Hammer of the North. The crowd responded with great gusto, chanting along with the music and, in some cases, singing along with JB and Fox. Despite it being a Tuesday night, the venue was three quarters full for them and only filled up even more as their set went on. One thing I did note was that they were playing the songs faster than when I last saw them. Whether this was down to time constraints, I’m not sure. Despite this, the three piece delivered a good set and left many in the crowd hungry for more.
American thrash metallers Testament(8) were the next band to grace the stage at the ABC. Coming on a few minutes late, the band immediately launched into the title track from their new album The Brotherhood of The Snake (review here). This caught a number of crowd members off guard as they were expecting to hear them open with “Rise Up”. Thankfully, their concern was not justified as straight after finishing playing the first song, Chuck said the now famous phrase, “Are you ready to rise up?”. Naturally, the crowd responded by generating a rather large moshpit for the song which lasted pretty much all the way through their set. From where I was standing however, all I was able to hear were the kick drums from “The Atomic Clock” that is Gene Hoglan and the vocals of frontman Chuck Billy. Thankfully, the sound improved as the set went on and the crowd reaction also seemed to become stronger. This was evidenced particularly when the band played “Into The Pit”. As per the title of the track, many folk went ‘into the pit’ and generated the first of what was a swathe of crowd surfers. Ending proceedings with the title track from 2008’s The Formation of Damnation, the band delivered an excellent set that was only marred slightly by the initial sound issues and also the choice to open with a different track.
Finally, it was time for the band that a lot of the crowd seemed to be there for. The legends that are Amon Amarth(9). I first got into Amon Amarth back in 2010 and they spearheaded by descent into the dark and wonderful world of the more extreme side of metal. As soon as the traditional opener of the orchestral version of “Amon Amarth” from 1998’s Once Sent from the Golden Hall started playing, the venue shook with a thunderous roar from the crowd. Opening with the new staples that are “The Pursuit of Vikings” and “As Loki Falls”, the band exploded on stage to a now packed ABC, full of fans that were eager to have a good time. During “The Way of Vikings”, 2 men fully dressed in viking armour came on stage and started having a battle. Whilst the band was playing. I’d seen it done in some other videos from older shows but I didn’t know that they had started doing it again. It certainly made for an interesting watch and fitted with the music expertly.
With the majority of their set being composed of more well known material such as “Deceiver of the Gods” and “War of The Gods” and song from their newest full length Jomsviking (review here), the only thing that was lacking was the older songs. Don’t get me wrong, all their material is very good, but I would just love for them to play some older stuff such as “Without Fear” or “Annihilation of Hammerfest”. That being said though, the band delivered a superb set, ending with the mighty “Twilight of the Thundergod” from the album of the same name. As they say in Lancashire, until next we meet! Which will be sooner than we all think…