The Baltic sea is a cold, dark, pagan place, especially in December. Crossing the sea between Sweden and Finland, on a snowy evening (keep in mind evening starts at 2pm), you start to feel like you would be pleased to drink some mead. Maybe do a bit of pillaging as well. So what do you do? Naturally, you head for the nearest Amon Amarth concert.
Opening up the act for them are two other Swedish bands, Hypocrisy and Arch Enemy. No need for introductions, let’s jump (on both feet, arm raised) immediately to the point.
Hypocrisy has been around for close to 30 years. As a producer, Peter Tägtgren has worked with some of the biggest names in European metal: Dimmu Borgir; Children of Bodom; Celtic Frost; Therion; Enthroned… and so many more. It is therefore not really surprising that the death metal of Hypocrisy is tainted by black metal and seems to be influenced by everyone. Maybe… maybe they influenced everyone? Whatever the reason, their blackened death is punchy as hell, pun intended, and definitely did warm up the ice arena.
Next up is Arch Enemy. What can be said about them that hasn’t been said already? So much energy, so much raw power, filling the whole arena and blasting through (mostly recent) songs. The lights aren’t always perfect for them, but maybe we’re just being spoiled by Amorphis. And who needs lights when Alissa is encouraging you to jump and shake the whole building for her Viking friends?
Let’s come back to our Vikings, in fact. Have you ever seen a Viking helmet? On fire? With giant runes on the sides of it? On fire as well? And a bearded singer? With a drinking horn hanging from his belt? Not on fire (possibly the only thing not on fire on stage)?
It’s not every day that the chief of security comes to warn you not to get too close because there’s “lots of flames”. But by Odin was he right. There is indeed lots of flames, and lots of shouting and growling. Although it was packed full, there is no way anyone could have remained unmoved by the bearded angry bard invoking Mjölnir and Fenris or conjuring people to ride to meet their fate. And so the evening went by, between beer, jumping, Viking-esque bravado and heavy metal.