Arthur’s Hammer Smashed Faces: Amon Amarth
May the call of battle never cease to bring you forward unto glory. I just made that shit up guys, off the fly and it may be your new morning mantra. Welcome back everyone to the second edition of the newest way to smash in your own face. I, as always, am Arthur Harkness and I am proud to bring to you another moment in my never ending war against the radio proper. Most people know that I simply cannot handle what the radio tends to throw at us on a daily basis, which is the same four to five songs on the hour every hour. It honestly makes me want to cut out my own eyes and jam spikes into my ears. I know that may sound a bit harsh, but honestly, I cannot think of any other solution besides not listening to it at all, which is even more difficult considering it permeates most of life nowadays. It just drives me crazy that most things that are out there nowadays is hot water trash produced by garbage people. Sorry if that offends you, but its true. I can deal with classic rock, but why do we have to play Freedbird a hundred times a day?
There is a bevy of different bands out there and we stick to the same few over and over. It’s rather unfortunate. So it is my new civic duty and my way to give back to the community by attempting to bring some new stuff to your ears. I did it last week with Battlecross, and although these guys have been around for a while, I would like to give them a more proper introduction. Shield Maidens and Vikings, I give to you one of my all time favorites, Amon Amarth, and the reason why I do not fear driving in wintry conditions anymore…..for the most part. Now obviously you guys know already that this is going to involve my metalro life mate in Piano Wire Freddy, so you better get used to the mention of him as I do not go to metal shows without him, and considering our greatest metal adventure involved Amon Amarth and a blizzard, it would be in poor form not to include him. So let’s do this…
Amon Amarth is given the title of Viking Metal by the general public, and myself as well on occasion, however, it is far deeper than that. Granted most of the songs involve Vikings and battle of multiple varieties, but it is not the sole source of their supremacy. That stems from their unending vendetta against your ears and the sheer need to assault them with battle ready tones and monstrous skirmishes between gods and men. No love songs of the standard variety and no heartbreaking tractor songs to be found here guys, however, there will be lots of bloodshed and men at arms tearing through each other with sword and spear. It has a melodic tone to it as well which can give it a very nice but heavy groove, which is always appreciated. Sometimes you need to be able to keep time rather than just lose your shit all over the instrument. It makes it seem classier, but in a blood soaked way. Needless to say, it is right up my fucking alley.
Most bands that I tend to get into have to impress me upon first inspection, otherwise I just won’t get into them. I know it sounds somewhat like I am of a higher class and breed of music listener, but I’m not. I’m just fucking lazy and I can’t devote the same amount of time to music as I used to as a high school kid/ college student. I just don’t have to time or patience, which sucks because I am limiting myself, but thems the breaks. I know my previous stance on radio may seem to make me like a dick who doesn’t follow his own teachings, but look closely as Amon Amarth is not radio garbage or sound pollution. It’s goddamn magic and cold, hard steel. To say that I love this band would be an understatement.I generally do not risk harm or mutilation in an attempt to catch something I like, but I fucking will if I love something. Piano Wire and myself risked our lives to go see them….during a blizzard…..2 hours away……like fucking Vikings….and it was fucking glorious.
Piano Wire and I had already acquired our tickets to go see Amon Amarth in Poughkipsee NY. It is about an hour and a half from where we live, so it isn’t too far. However, on the day of the show, we were sturck with some bad news in the form of a fucking blizzard. Feet of snow kept pouring down and there was nothing we could do to stop it. All of my spells and enchantments failed to activate, so we were stuck at my house contemplating our next move. We talked about it, and in the end we decided it would be better off if we stayed home rather than brave the elements and the road. It was depressing. We had never gotten a chance to see them before, and we were excited beyond belief to head out and see our Viking brethren gut and eviscerate the stage as only they can. It was a brutal loss. Cut to a half hour later, and Piano Wire and I are literally digging ourselves out of the driveway with faces frozen and bitter. I look over at him, and he looks at me, and in a moment of cosmic understanding and hardened nerves, we said fuck this shit. True Vikings would do anything and everything to get what they want, and so would we. Fuck this shit. We unburied the tiny dodge neon I had and piled in. Two and a half hours later, we were still on the road, but well on our way. We made it to the show in time to see….nobody had shown up…… We were heartbroken and beyond depressed. We felt like the biggest idiots on earth for even attempting this. It was super dangerous, and the fact that no one even showed up made it even worse, but then……
Victory. Pure and simple. We were just the first to make it there. Slowly, other cars started to pull into the parking lot. In total, there were just about 10 cars that showed up, not including our own. But here is where things get a bit tricky. Would they play? There was literally almost no one here besides the thirty or so actual people who made it here in one piece, so what would be the point of them playing? We were anxious and nervous at the same time as the doors opened. We saw the tour bus outside, but what was stopping them from just driving on to the next stop? Class. That is what stopped them from leaving. About a half hour after the thirty or so people piled into the Chance (the venue), the band came out onto the stage to a respectful roar of those of us in the crowd. Not too loud since it was just about thirty of us, like previously stated, but what happened next was probably one of the greatest things that has ever happened. Johan (lead vocalist) takes the mic, and says a line that sent ice and fire through my veins at the same time. This is that line, and quite possibly the most badass thing I have ever had uttered to me in my entire life…..
“Only true Vikings come out in a fucking blizzard. We’re gonna do a double set for you all for being fucking Northmen. “
I just…..ugh…..my fucking heart. It was like literally telling me what I wanted to hear for my entire life. I was now an honorary Northman. Most of my late teenage/continuing adult life is Viking themed, and the fact that I was given my honorary pass by a real Viking made it that much more amazing to me. Piano Wire and I were made official Vikings that night…..and my balls have never recovered from it. It honestly just goes to show what sort of men these guys are. Even during a blizzard when only 30 people show up to a show you traveled from fucking Sweden to play, you still play and dump out a double set. That’s fucking class and royalty my friends. Like for real. With all the news reports of bands cancelling because of a sore throat or other god forsaken acts cancelling because they are exhausted…these guys flew overseas and fucking killed it for a crowd of thirty people who risked their lives to see them. My praise and appreciation knows no fucking bounds for these guys. This is how we felt. Me on the right, Piano Wire on the left.
Amon Amarth has proven to me by act and by creation that they are beyond worthy of being played at my funeral, which will be a Viking funeral, and if by some chance to do make it to Valhalla, I will save seats and meat and mead for my Viking brethren in the Golden Halls. I will beckon them to join the feast, and forever we shall drink, and fight, and defend the lives of those who need us. Amon Amarth, I salute you with the tallest of drinking horns. Here’s to you, and to the fact that you guys actually appreciate your fans.
Follow me on Twitter! @ArthurHarkness
All images and characters depicted are copyright of their respective owners. Please click on the “About Us” tab for our takedown policy.