A chilly late October night in St. Louis was the perfect atmosphere for a night of metal served up hard and fast by Skeletonwitch, Sabaton, and Amon Amarth.
Swedish band,Â Amon Amarth, exploded onto the metal scene in 1998 with their debut album,Â Once Sent from the Golden Hall, an album heralded for its melodic yet aggressive style. Now, in 2014, Amon Amarth is on the road supporting their ninth and latest album, Deceiver of the Gods.Â
Onstage, the band ups the ante from the studio recordings, each member a fountain of unrelenting action. From the moment the band took the stage, Amon Amarth were a force to be reckoned with. Their impressive backdrop, stretching from one side of the stage to the other and from floor to ceiling, could have overpowered a lesser band, but Amon Amarth’s dynamic presence proved more than adequate. A stage clear of obstructions left ample room for the band to move, and move they did. Strutting, running, and pairing up alongside one another, each man made sure there was no part of the stage left untouched. Playing for over an hour and a half, the band filled every moment with excitement and energy.
A second Swedish metal band,Â Sabaton, played second on the bill. While their music is stylistically different from Amon Amarth and Skeletonwitch, their lyrics run in the same vein. Their songs take inspiration from WWI, WWII, and other conflicts, and reference battles and leaders from each. The band was shaken up in April of 2012, when four members left to form another band, but vocalist Joakim BrodÃ©n and bassist PÃ¤r SundstrÃ¶m remained, recruited new members, and continued on. The band can normally be found on tour internationally, at their festival (Sabaton Open Air) show in their hometown of Falun, Sweden, or on Sabaton Cruise. Onstage, Sabaton is boundless energy, every member seemingly inexhaustible, running from one side of the stage to the other, hair flying, never missing a note.
The Ohio-based Skeletonwitch opened the show despite its recent lineup shake-up due to vocalist Chance Garnette’s personal problems. Rather than canceling their remaining tour dates, the band issued a statement assuring its fans they would continue as a four-piece. While the lack of a vocalist might throw some bands off their game, it was not so for Skeletonwitch. The band reinforced their reputation as an incredibly hard working band that gives special attention to quality and perfection. They ripped through their set with scarcely a second between songs, the crowd filling in the vocals in Garnette’s absence. Their sound is an intricate convergence of blackened metal with touches of doom–a mixture of frost and fire, and the performance was a dizzying scene of non-stop movement, every member giving all parts of the stage equal attention.