In the deepest, darkest realms of the underworld, the heaviest of metal awaits to devour our souls with growls, double bass, and lightening-speed guitar riffs.
I’m writing this recap two days after one of the greatest shows on earth: Amon Amarth with opening acts Exmortus and Entombed A.D.
Amon Amarth played at The Ritz in Ybor City (here in Tampa, FL) as part of their 2016 U.S. tour. This Swedish death metal, often referred to as Viking Metal, has created their own genre of metal music. And I’m proud to say I got to see them live.
I want to give a quick breakdown of each of the bands and their performance. I’ll start with the first opener, so the order below will be:
- Entombed A.D.
- Amon Amarth
I don’t remember the entire setlist for each band, and I had never heard of the opening acts before, but I’ll do my best to capture the moment I experienced at the show.
Exmortus – Opening Act
I’ll start out by saying that Exmortus gained a new fan out of their performance. The highlight is the seemingly impossible dueling guitar work.
And I’m not talking about just harmonizing a few rhythm parts. These guys were all over the place with extremely technical guitar rhythms and solos.
Exmortus falls into a category of their own, in my opinion. Yes, they are considered death metal but they bring this refreshing classic thrash metal sound to the table as well.
I’m reminded of bands like Slayer and Testament, and several other thrashers, but with a more progressive approach.
I have to give props to the bassist and drummer. These guys are super tight as a band and with such technical playing, that’s quite a challenge that only an elite few can pull off.
Since this show, I’ve been listening to Exmortus quite a bit, specifically they’re latest two albums Ride Forth and Slave to the Sword.
Entombed A.D. – Opening Act II
You could tell that this band had a sizable fan base as soon as they hit the stage. With that, I give them a lot of credit for their stage presence. They really got the crowd going.
Entombed A.D. doesn’t hit me like Amon Amarth or Exmortus, so I can’t say I’m a die-hard fan. That’s not a good or bad thing; it’s just personal preference in style. Nonetheless, they brought a ton of energy to the show.
Amon Amarth- Main Act
And now we get to the main act, one of which I consider to be an ultimate metal band regardless of your metal sub-genre preference…
Amon Amarth! These guys are just phenomenal. And they played flawlessly through a wide variety of their library.
Johan Hegg’s low-growling vocals are unmistakable, and I find to be the driving force that separates them from every other metal band. In other words, I can’t label them as merely death metal or Viking metal. They’re simply ‘Amon Amarth metal.’
The guitars, bass, and drums were super heavy yet the overall mix was extremely clear. I could hear every note and nuance. Much credit goes to the sound crew for this. But I also need to reiterate the greatness of Amon Amarth as a band.
They were tight and never missed a beat. You could feel their connection on stage, and that connected extended to all of us.
Ah, and now for the Amon Amarth set-list for the Tampa show at The Ritz in Ybor. I’ll go ahead and admit to cheating a little here…I looked up the setlist online (it looks accurate).
In all honesty, I only recall about half of the songs they played. At any rate, here it is below…
Amon Amarth Setlist – The Ritz in Ybor, Tampa, 4/18/2016
- The Pursuit of Vikings
- As Loke Falls
- First Kill
- The Way of Vikings
- At Dawn’s First Light
- Deceiver of the Gods
- Cry of the Black Birds
- One Against All
- Thousand Years of Oppression
- Destroyer of the Universe
- Death in Fire
- Runes to My Memory
- One Thousand Burning Arrows
- Father of the Wolf
- War of the Gods
- Victorious March
- Raise Your Horns
- Guardians of Asgaard
- Twilight of the Thunder God
Amon Amarth – Final Thoughts
Seeing Amon Amarth live was a life-altering experience. I need to also mention their theatrics. They had some dudes dressed in medieval clothing with swords, shields and bow and arrows on stage during the latter half of the show.
I’m grateful for them to have come all the way from Sweden to play in Tampa. Oh, and they had my size so I was able to pick up a 2x Amon Amarth t-shirt with the U.S. tour dates on the back!
I’m hoping that Amon Amarth will come back, and that more bands like them will come here as well.
The Tampa-Brandon, FL area was once considered the metal capital of the world. Let’s bring metal back to this area!
My Year of Metal
If you recall, I was just here at The Ritz in Ybor last month with Eddie for Nightwish, Sonata, and Delain. Amon Amarth is my 2nd show for 2016. And I plan to see Primal Fear at the Orpheum (also in Ybor City) in May.
Truth is, as much as I love metal music, I haven’t been to many concerts in my life. Here I am in my early 40’s (I’ll be 41 next month) and I’m writing more metal music than I ever have in my life and going to shows.
I absolutely love it! Seeing these bands is inspiring and who knows, perhaps I’ll take a break from the studio and hit the stage again at some point.
Keep it Metal,