Friday night and what better than spending it with two excellent Swedish bands? The 5th appearance of Amon Amarth in Greece and Grand Magus as special guests was a deadly duo that couldn’t be missed.
Arriving in Fuzz club, I came up with a very unpleasant situation. Many people were waiting outside, even if the doors were already open. People waiting to buy a ticket and editors/photographers as well. That was because the cashier didn’t have the lists with the names of the editors and they didn’t know how many tickets were left in order to let people know if they can buy one. Finally, 50(!) minutes later the path opened for all of us and everyone was trying to get inside as quickly as possible because Grand Magus were about to start.
I was lucky enough to enter the venue at the exact moment when the opening riff of “I, The Jury” started to vibe the walls. With great sound and mood, Grand Magus gave you the impression that heavy metal is just a simple thing to play. All you need is some killer riffs, properly structured songs and a band who really likes playing this music. JB was cool as fuck and all the eyes were on him. Absent from this show (and some more) was the bass player and co-founder Fox Skinner due to some family issues but he was replaced by Per Wiberg (Spiritual Beggars, ex-Opeth) who formed a sturdy rhythm section with Ludwig Witt. A line-up that for 8 years was together on Beggars. The reactions of the crowd weren’t the best, but many of them gave the Swedes a warm welcome. Grand Magus played for 50 minutes, gave all they had and left us wanting more and more. Let’s hope we’ll see them again soon, but with full set this time.
Setlist: I The Jury, Sword Of The Ocean, Varangian, Steel Versus Steel, Ravens Guide Our Way, Kingslayer, Iron Will, Like The Oar Strikes The Water, Hammer Of The North
The clock was showing 21:20 when according to schedule Amon Amarth entered the stage. They started with “The Pursuit Of Vikings” and the screams of the crowd gave you the impression that Fuzz was about to be destroyed. Everything that followed can only be described by one word: Epic. The Swedes were flawless and their show devastating. Their stage set had a Viking helmet with horns on each side and on top of it was the drum kit of their newest member, Jocke Wallgren (Valkyrja, ex-October Tide). The drummer who was born in Chile, but was raised in Sweden when adopted, was amazing and gave you the impression that he plays with them for years. Excellent performance also for Ted Lundstrom on bass guitar and of course of Olavi Mikkonen and Johan Soderberg on guitars who were playing like a well-oiled machine. As for the beast that answers to Johan Hegg? Words can’t describe him. Terrific frontman, he was easily controlling the crowd and gave his own unique show while holding the microphone.
The stage set had also a lot of smoke show and two people from their crew who were dressed as Vikings (to tell you the truth I felt kinda sorry for them seeing them in fur and leather) and made their own performance on stage including fighting with swords, waving banners and in “One Thousand Burning Arrows” targeting us with a bow and arrow! A show that had no weak spot, the crowd was participating in every song and in hymns like “Cry Of The Black Birds”, “Death In Fire” and “Twilight Of The Thunder God” the situation was way out of hand.
The show ended after only 90 minutes and Amon Amarth proved that they are one of the best metal acts around for many years now by giving their best performance ever in Greece. While trying to exit the crowded venue, the unfortunate situation of touching all the sweaty doochebugs who weren’t wearing t-shirt came along with the one while we were waiting for the lists outside. Without them, our night would be even better.
Setlist: The Pursuit Of Vikings, As Loke Falls, First Kill, The Way Of Vikings, At Dawn’s First Light, Cry Of The Black Birds, Deceiver Of The Gods, On A Sea Of Blood, Destroyer Of The Universe, Death In Fire, One Thousand Burning Arrows, Father Of The Wolf, Runes To My Memory, War Of The Gods, Raise Your Horns, Guardians Of Asgaard, Twilight Of The Thunder God