|It was this epic. Really.|
In the event that you are completely clueless, Amon Amarth performed their final American performance in support of their latest album, “Surtur Rising,” May 7 at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston, Mass. If you live in New England and did not see this show, you are officially retarded. Go in your room, listen to Between the Buried and Me, prepare yourself a blea-monia-tini, and leave us alone forever.
I will, to the best of my memory, write a review/recapitulation of events as I remember them. It will be one-sided, elitist, and completely subjective so if you are expecting an unbiased, New York Times/Associated Press/Reuters article, click the left arrow on your browser or that little “x” in the upper left hand corner of the window and promptly leave this site where we will never hear your dumbshit turd trolling ever again.
With that said, for all of you who were not there, this is the official story of what went down.
As with all metal shows, the real experience begins waiting in line, eagerly anticipating the doors to open. This is where you shoot the shit with your accompanying friends and fellow metalheads. It is where you freeze your balls and tits off or where you get soaked with the happy tears of the Metal Gods. It is also the last chance you have to smoke a cigarette if you have one. Most importantly, this is the best chance for you to size up your competition, pinpointing exactly which tweenie-bopping fairy gets the first forearm shiver to the throat. When Brenocide, myself, and our fellow grizzled true metal companions arrived at the venue, the line had already started and extended to the next intersection. As far as I am concerned, that was the official end of the Universe.
Apparently, 90-percent of the people in line ahead of us never perused this site, because they wore Amon Amarth tees. Not to be overly redundant or anything, but wearing the shirt of the band you are seeing is NOT METAL. Okay, it can be under three circumstances:
- The band is so underground that no one at he show is likely to have heard of and/or wear their merchandise
- The shirt is rare or from a live show at least 10 years in the past
- You just bought the shirt from the merchandise table
None of these circumstances applied:
- Amon Amarth was the the headlining and only act, meaning that everyone was there to see Amon Amarth
- The shirts donned by these window-lickers were from the Twilight of the Thunder God album or tour or were from one of the many Hot Topic stores
- The doors had yet to open
Needless to say, we knew we were in for an extra special treat with these people, especially the chick wearing a Thor costume. Not Thor like the Norse god of thunder and war, but Thor like the comic book character. Sweet. Let’s all hold hands and talk about how much we love Guardians of Asgaard and where we were sitting at the last show and agree on how sick it was. Blow me.
|I wonder who you're seeing? I never would have guessed you would see them live.|
Luckily, we were graced with the presence of the “Pit Viking,” who left the pub for a smoke and got our minds off of the mounting rage. If you live in New England and go to regular pagan and death metal shows, you know who the Pit Viking is. He towers over 90-percent of the audience and looks like a Viking. He dominates the pit in true Viking glory and also helps keep everyone in line; organizing walls of death, picking up fallen comrades, and lifting those wishing to crowd surf. If you have the opportunity, talk with him. He’s a cool guy. We talked about such true metal topics as how much work sucks, how much paying taxes sucks, and how great it is to make money doing absolutely nothing.
All of us in line already purchased our tickets in advance because we were smart and had a sneaking suspicion that there would be none available at the door. By all of us, I mean everyone before the end of the Universe. If anyone behind the end of the Universe did not advance purchase tickets, dude, I am so sorry. You missed out. How does it feel knowing that you really don’t exist?
The Pre-show or the Wait of Epic Proportions
Once inside and given our green bands designating that we drink beer (except for the yung’un amongst us who received the XxStRaIgHtEdGeXx mark of unworthiness), we filled the club with our true metal glory, awing everyone with the power and might that is Tyranno-cide and Metal Jesus. Per usual, aside from Pit Viking, we were the most metal of all inside.
Violations abounded on a level never before seen in a Massachusetts venue hosting an actual metal show. Men schmoozing with their girlfriends, a dirty hippie, a plus-sized model donning a white dress with a red flower print, gnarly shit-dreadlocks, at least five Red Sox hats and one Bruins cap, Adidas jogging suits, those big Hot Topic pants, and Ear Plugs.
Now, everyone knows that at any show, there is a lag between the times the doors open to when the show starts, usually around 7 or 8 p.m. In the event you missed the mention earlier, let me reiterate, Amon Amarth was the only act, meaning that NO openers performed to whet our metal appetites. We entered at 7:30 p.m. and waited the entire amount of time the opening acts would have spent, or an hour-and-a-half, listening to the pre-arranged music selection.
Some of you might think that waiting from 7:30 – 9 p.m. for the band to hit the stage would be awful, but that is why you are poseur fairies. Everyone knows that waiting only builds up your rage and anticipation so that by the time the band hits the stage, all you can do is release the beast in much the same fashion that the juicy insides expel from an over-engorged tick. When I was a young poseur fairy at my first show, I probably would have complained about waiting for so long because I was dumb and stupid and had no understanding of what it means to be true and metal at once. This is also the perfect time to hit the bar and ensure you receive proper satiation for your beer hunger, as inebriation is the most important aspect of living up to your true metal glory and aspirations and once the show starts, you have to enter the pit where you lose your holy water that you just paid $4 or more to drink.
The Paradise Rock Club just might be the smallest venue that I have had the pleasure of attending. Well, maybe the second smallest ahead of the Middle East in Cambridge, Mass. Interestingly, both have support beams scattered along the floor which you know are going to be fun obstacles to avoid once the pit forms. More on that later. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the actual specs for the building, but the stage is 17’-by-30’ and 30” high according to their website (thedise.com). Based on those dimensions, the fact that its maximum capacity is 850 people, and my own general observations, I will take a stab and say that the actual floor space from stage to wall is about 90’ and from wall-to-wall length-wise close to 300’. There is a balcony and two bars at either end of the venue, which do cut into the dimensions.
Set one: Surtur Rising
At roughly 9 p.m., Amon Amarth took the stage, where they kicked off their night of battle hymns with the first track off their latest album, “War of the Gods.” There was much rejoicing. From this point on, except for random sporadic sightings, I never saw Brenocide again, as he threw himself into the pit where I can only assume that in true Brenocide fashion, everyone except the truest of the true fell like flies; victim to his other-worldly might and discovered in a religiously intense way, what an iron fist tastes like.
Upon the song’s completion, the mighty Johan announced to the eager Viking warriors among us, that they would play the entire album in its entirety for us; then, after a brief pause, would play a second full-length set for us. There was much rejoicing.
|Yeah, something like this.|
The pit, due to the layout of the floor plan with support beams essentially limiting the pit’s dimensions, was perhaps the most congested, close-quarters battle I have ever seen. One would assume that such a close-quarters engagement would be epic and awesome, but they would be wrong. Take into account the amount of know-nothing poseurs that generally jump into the fray, the true metal elite that always do, and the Berserkers that always like to party in the Amon Amarth pits; then, throw this amalgamation into a space the size of an average kitchen in a ranch home and you have the recipe for disaster, on par with Katrina when the levees broke and flooded New Orleans and filled houses with water and raw sewage for a few months. That is the type of shit-storm the building’s dimensions created.
Imagine for a moment that you are in a pit, bouncing off of bodies, throwing yourself into the closest person moving in your direction. That’s normal. Now imagine you are in such a tight space that everyone steps on each other’s feet in a mass of flailing limbs and bodies so that you fall into heads, elbows, knees, and other body parts. Those of us with good balance and who pride ourselves on staying afoot through the toughest of pits are falling left and right. That is the situation we faced Saturday night.
During one song in the middle of the set, yours truly thought, due to extreme forces pushing forward and back at once and the intensely horrific pain emanating from his nether parts, that his sacred member had been guillotined clear off. Brothers and sisters, I will tell you right now, that is the most horrific thought to ever cross your mind. Your pleasure organs are the most metal parts of your existence and the thought of being without them forever, aside from the pain, is the absolute scariest thought you may ever conceive. By the grace of the Metal Gods, I was lucky enough to still be attached to my destroyer of the universe.
Apprehensive, but satisfied that all was well, I jumped back into battle again. Sometime between “Wrath of the Norsemen” and “Doom Over Dean Man,” I received a disorienting headbutt that kept me sidelined for much of the night that remained.
Let me take a moment to explain exactly why this headbutt occurred and why it still enrages me.
We have all seen this many times before. You know, the chick that just came from the bar, “excuse me,” “pardon me”-ing her way to the stage with her Bud Light, losing all of it before she gets there on the flailing bodies in the pit and on the floor. This was the ONLY night I never did. Ladies at the Paradise, you were the best behaved of every lady at any show I have ever seen, ever. Give yourself a pat on the back. For whatever reason, MEN were squeezing their way through the pit, losing it over the floor. Sorry, I apologize; they weren’t men they were hipsters in pleather jackets and Red Sox hats weaseling their way to the front. To you douchetards, you’re lucky I can’t remember your faces because if I did and saw you again you could expect a fistful of metal in your face.
I can live with inadvertent elbows to the temple, blows to the ribs and kidneys; the usual. Injuries happen in the pit and we accept this before we jump in. I am as proud of the discolored bruises, lumps, and aching muscles of my body in the days following a show as any true metalhead. But when two metalheads nearly knock each other out due to the follies of the poseurs, the only feeling inside is of extreme hatred and rage. If you bring a beer into the pit and I see it, I’m coming for you. Ovaries or testicles, you are getting my elbow into your pretty little face. Consider that a threat asshole.
When Amon Amarth finished their first set at roughly 10 p.m., it was a well needed breather for all of us. After the immense energy expelled in the pit and the injuries sustained to all of us, we needed a chance to regain our strength, refuel with another beer or three, and swap manly stories of our battle accomplishments. Think of this intermission as the clearing of the bodies during a medieval battle, a monetary pause before the battle resumes full force with fresh and rejuvenated fighters.
Set two: The Battle Continues
After roughly 20 minutes, the band took the stage again. During this set we were privy to such riffage as “Guardians of Asgaard,” “Masters of War,” “Thousand Years of Oppression,” and others. As I was trying to collect myself, I remained out of the pit, though I did notice Brenocide thrashing his ass off with Metal Jesus. Unfortunately for Jesus, he was crucified to the posts several times, sidelining him for half of the set.
It was during this set that I noticed perhaps the most cowardly, un-metal act and violation that I have ever seen: bull rushing.
This thing – because man, woman, or person is too unfitting – with a shit-stache, buzzed hair, and a Swiss roll neck would have his pals clear a lane to the edge of the pit and he would lower his head, kick the ground like a charging bull, and charge headlong into the backs of unsuspecting concert-goers. Then, he would scurry back to his rat hole and laugh with his buddies. One of the only times I fell was because of his dumb ass (I know because I saw him run away like a Christian). At a show, you don’t blindside anyone (unless they’re poseur fairies or karate kids) because that is cowardly. You face your opponent head-on, even if he towers above you. In the off chance you do blindside another, you definitely don’t run away. We as metalheads stand and fight because we were born with a heart of steel. We seek entrance to Valhalla, where only the bravest of the brave may enter so we welcome the fate of being bested by another true metal warrior.
Near the end of the set, I heard and bore witness to something I have never seen at any show: a medley. You heard me correctly: Amon Amarth performed a death metal medley of some of their classics such as “Death in Fire” and “Victorius March.” They blended each song impeccably, where discerning the end of one song from the beginning of the next was impossible. I never thought I would say this, but Amon Amarth is one hell of a jam band.
|Think this but with pain and violence and no pretty colors or smiles.|
Despite my disdain for the venue itself, this was without question, the greatest Amon Amarth performance that I have ever seen, with two full-length, headlining sets; a medley; and the usual blend of audience involvement and instrument playing we all expect from the band. If the venue allowed for a better floor experience, this would have been the absolute greatest night of my life.
To my European kindred: you can expect to be in for one of the most epic battles of your lives. \m/ \m/