Thousands were treated to death metal grandeur on an arena stage, a sight to behold.
Text, Photos by Joshua Alvarez (@joshua.jam3s) at the
Kia Forum on December 17th, 2022:
It's not every day that you get death metal on an arena stage, so Amon Amarth's year-ending presence at the Kia Forum became a can't miss festivity. Battle jacketed metal heads came from all parts of Los Angeles to see history be made as Amon Amarth’s The Great Heathen Tour made its final stop with support from genre giants Obituary, Carcass, and Cattle Decapitation, each of which reigned in their own right. They came out guns blazing and blew the roof off the venue with visceral rage and raucous energy galore, priming us all for a monumental feat to follow.
With Iron Maiden's legendary Run To The Hills setting the stage, the Viking metal greats come out with a bang, featuring pyrotechnics a plenty and showcasing why they are one of the best acts to come out of Sweden. Guardians of Asgaard ripped right into the audience amidst a towering stage production previously exclusive to European shows. Drummer Jocke Wallgren sat upon a giant Viking helmet while stone Vikings towered over the audience alongside majestic ships that do more than astound, but put you in the middle of an army bracing for battle. If there was any way to celebrate this year's arrival of new album The Great Heathen Army (available now via Metal Blade Records), it was on this stage and in this fashion.
Armored Vikings took the stage to battle to the death with chunks of wood sent flying from the sword strikes. People cheered for the victorious warrior as The Great Heathen Army raged on as the soundtrack. Guttural vocals took control of The Forum as a thunderous instrumentation led to a wide circle pit consuming everyone and everything in its path, right at the center with flames bursting in the background.
Amon Amarth delivered a career-spanning set that incorporated all eras of the band's celebrated trajectory, including staples such as Raven's Flight, First Kill, and Cry of the Black Birds among others. No matter where you fall on the band's timeline, there was much to enjoy that evening as they further cemented their prominence in the death metal ranks.
Put Your Back into The Oar signaled everyone to create what could possibly be the biggest rowing pit (a signature Amon Amarth show element) in history. The Forum's arena floor became one sprawling, massive ship of unmatchable energy. Johan couldn’t have been more ecstatic about the crowd's involvement, which erupted as the Serpent arose from behind the stage as a threat. Johan then faced it with Thor’s hammer and bested it magnificently with sparks flying and riffs soaring. The stage interaction, the scope of each prop, and the magnitude of the musicianship on display made for the premiere death metal experience of the year. Twilight of the Thunder God put a righteous end to this memorable occasion, an occasion of almost 2 hours of Viking laden death that made history at The Forum, speaking highly of Amon Amarth's visual intentionality, their emotional hold, and more importantly, their legacy among the fandom.