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Amon Amarth, Live in Bristol

Viking metallers put wind back in their sails

Although the venue is packed from the moment they hit the stage, SAVAGE MESSIAH [6] get little more than polite applause until the rapid-fire Hellblazer garners them some well-earned appreciation.

HUNTRESS [8] have no such problems, with pits erupting from the off. Jill Janus’s screeching wail and fiendish stage moves will always make her the centre of attention, but the band are on fine form too.

Despite the lack of sails and dragon’s head on the prow, there’s something apt about AMON AMARTH [8] playing on a ship, a fact not lost on the ever-affable Johan Hegg. Clearly humbled by the roars that accompany every song after having to miss last night’s gig in Plymouth due to illness, the frontman leads the band through a set that veers from the epic The Last Stand Of Frej to the thundering bluster of Bleed For Ancient Gods and right back to the strident Victorious March from their debut.

Shorn of their impressive stage sets, the band still shine in the intimate surroundings purely through their note-perfect performance and the sheer might of their songs, with Cry Of The Blackbirds sounding untouchable.

As ever, the closing one-two of Twilight Of The Thunder God and Pursuit Of The Vikings are greeted as bona fide anthems of celebration, and are testament to what a cherished band Amon Amarth have become./o:p

Rugby, Sean Bean and power ballad superfan Adam has been writing for Hammer since 2007, and has a bad habit of constructing sentences longer than most Dream Theater songs. Can usually be found cowering at the back of gigs in Bristol and Cardiff. Bruce Dickinson once called him a 'sad bastard'.