+ MACHINE HEAD + THE HALO EFFECT
Saturday, October 8, 2022 – Coliseum – A Coruña
The “Vikings & Lionhearts tour 2022” is one of those tours that almost everyone had on the agenda despite the economic hardships with which we have to live today and after a summer full of festivals that has caused some other ripped in pockets. The event aroused great expectation on the part of those who wanted to see live again MACHINE HEADfor those who have AMON AMARTH by the new gods of Metal and even by those nostalgic for the glorious era of IN FLAMES; but first and foremost, Metal lovers who have not wanted to miss an opportunity like this.
The dates for A Coruña and Madrid were the first to be announced within the ROUTE RESURRECTION FEST cycle. For that of having defined the Galician date as RESURRECTION DAY, we harbored the hope that some confirmation of the next edition of the RESURRECTION FEST to be held between June 28 and July 1, 2023 in Viveiro would be announced. It was not the case.
So it was time to return to the Coliseum of A Coruña, a venue reserved for the big events (few) that can be seen in Galicia, an already emblematic place where we Galicians have once been able to enjoy bands like JUDAS PRIEST, SLAYER, MANOWAR or MEGADETH, although widely spaced in time; what in the state capital is nothing new in Galicia becomes an event that usually turns these appointments into special meetings.
At 5:30 p.m. local time the doors of the Coliseum opened, and in the surrounding area the atmosphere was far from being that of other great occasions, with the concurrence progressively arriving at the enabled doors, accessing the Herculean colossus in an orderly manner and by drops. Once inside, it is effectively verified that the attendance, although sufficient to create a good atmosphere, would enjoy the three concerts without straits or stress.
About an hour later the Swedish show would start THE HALO EFFECT . We knew in advance that this almost complete reincarnation of the IN FLAMES who recorded today iconic albums like “Colony”, “Clayman” and “Reroute to remain”, were going to have just enough time to ship three quarters of their first album, and hopefully not the last one, “Days of the lost” of which only “In broken trust”, “A truth worth lying for” and “Last of our kind” were left in the inkwell. Without getting into too many analyses, because you also already have the review of “Days of the lost” on this website, perhaps they don’t have, at the moment, themes that are different enough from each other to make a more attractive show, plus the quality that treasured by these musicians suggests that things will change as soon as they release a second album.
In another order of things, guitarist Jesper Strömblad left the stage at the end of July, a month after touring with THE HALO EFFECT, for some health problems not fully clarified. It seems that, as is happening with more and more formations, Jesper will be part of the band as an official member when it comes to composing and recording, but the doubts that he will end up playing live are becoming more and more certain. Currently playing his role live is Patrick Jensen, guitarist for THE HAUNTED and WITCHERY. Also, and already on an individual level, to comment that part of the spotlight is focused on the vocalist Mikael Stanne (DARK TRANQUILLITY) who shows all the vocal stature live and gives the band a unique personality.
tonight to AMON AMARTH It would be his turn to act as “headliner” and I did not appreciate too many complaints about it. MACHINE HEAD They’re already a bit out of their depth in these parts and although in the USA they continue to be a benchmark for Metal, on the European continent bands like SABATON or AMON AMARTH it seems that they draw a greater number of fans, something that was clearly visible in A Coruña due to the number of jerseys of AMON AMARTH they looked compared to the American band. Being bands that are very different in concept and style, perhaps getting into disquisitions on this type of question does not make much sense.
The thing is MACHINE HEAD They were returning to Galicia after that concert of the “Catharsis” tour that took place in the Sala Capitol in Santiago de Compostela but now with renewed machinery.
Along the way, so many members have dropped out that it is fair to say that these MACHINE HEAD 4.0 are rather the one-man project of Robb Flynn. The last two to get off the ship after that “catharsis” in 2018 were Dave McClain and Phil Demmel, replaced by drummer Matt Alston (SANCTORUM, EASTERN FRONT…) and guitarist Wacław J. Kiełtyka “Vogg” (DECAPITATED), respectively. We are facing a practically new band that we will have to see how it works in the future. For now, they have cracked a fairly powerful “Of kingdom and crown” that has revitalized the lost faith that many of us had in them, with a much more aggressive and extreme attitude, thanks in part to Vogg’s way of playing and the background of this more rooted in death metal.
the concert of MACHINE HEAD It was a roller coaster with a brilliant start, a somewhat bland middle part and a final comeback that heated things up again. The first cut “Become the firestorm” came to bear witness to what I am saying by turning the pavilion upside down with the most extreme version of MACHINE HEAD that is remembered since the times of “The blackening”. With the already ubiquitous “Imperium” people even dare to shout the chorus with Flynn and after that comes one of his enduring classics, “Ten ton hammer” and of course, the thing increases until it reaches a peak of intensity that is difficult to overcome.
So far so good, but the concert would enter a somewhat confusing area, first with a dense and long song like “I am in Hell (Sonata in #C)” and especially with “Darkness within” that had a long plea of Captain Flynn (dressed in a sea captain’s cap) talking about mental illness, something honorable but that dragged on until it provoked some angry faces among the respectable. The theme itself is not that it stands out for being a heartfelt ballad to use and the truth is that there were people there wanting them to resume the march. I have to say that, between the two songs, they played for the first time on this tour “Kill the enemies” from their new album and the truth is that, although they also collaborated on this more flaccid part of the show, I recognize that their central riff has Overtones of becoming a new live skull crusher and also served to assess the enormous level of the new drummer. This cut also had some great columns of fire that were certainly spectacular.
Little by little they would return to the expected path, first with a chanted “Now we die” and more fire, to later color the stage with red lights, a preamble that “From these days” was going to make people bounce with its most intense rhythm. numeralero. Without respite they dispatched a “Davidian” that with its different rhythm changes and with the current formation making it sound really beast ended up being the part of the concert that ignited the spirits the most and that would have been a worthy ending since “Halo”, despite from being a great song, it is seen that people do not associate it as much with a classic as “Burn my eyes”.
The great expectation to see AMON AMARTH it was palpable with a greater number of people crowded onto the track. Those who decided to buy the ticket for the stands were also right because from there the Swedish show looked spectacular with all the stage set that they bring on this tour and that they could not use at some point. The band spares no expense and burned several gas bottles in their incendiary show, there were explosions, columns of smoke, a curtain of sparks, on up to two occasions rain of colored paper, changes of curtain and stage decoration and even figures in several of the themes. All this made the concert of AMON AMARTH a real show, one of those heavy metal nights that give meaning to all our stuff.
Starting with the epic “Guardians of Asgard” is betting on the winning horse and the concert becomes a metal communion in a few moments. The band sounds impeccable, even improving the sound of MACHINE HEAD. The guitars sounded thunderous from this first cut until the end of the show. On stage the band looked imperial, with the guitarists going up and down some side stairs, the previously mentioned pyrotechnic effects and with the impeccable Viking Johan Egg on vocals.
There would not be many classic songs that the band would play tonight, perhaps the most critical point and they did give their last three albums a lot of room. “Raven´s flight” and its imposing central riff induced the head banging collective. how good they feel AMON AMARTH these slower and heavier songs. “Deceivers of the Gods” with that cadence thrasher he also put together a pretty intense opening hat-trick. The Swedes did not give us respite. A riff so catchy that it sticks in your head like the one on “The Pursuit of Vikings” should be punishable by law. Go four axes.
After the quartet that ignited the spirits, the band chose the ideal moment to include two of the songs from their new album, still without much filming but which served to make us listen more attentively and without so much emotion involved. Something that would end when the first chords of a Swedish melodic death metal classic such as “Destroyer of the Universe” sounded, which shows that AMON AMARTH when they want, they can play as fast and extreme as any death metal band, something that they would also demonstrate later with “Cry of the black birds”. Johan Egg encourages us to sit on the ground and start rowing. Only a few in the central area of the track get to it. “Put your back into the Oar” is another song with a great riff that encourages you to nod to its rhythm and toast with beer.
The final part of the show was characterized by the inclusion of “modern” songs from the albums “Jomsviking” and “Berserker”, ideal to be sung by their heavy metal cadence, in the case of “The way of vikings”, “First kill”, “Shield Wall” and especially “Raise your horns”. The truth is that in this part we were already on autopilot and some songs could be confused with others previously touched on, but we didn’t care. The party was beginning to be amortized and AMON AMARTH They were giving us a really fun night, so much so that the end was already imminent and the feeling that the evening had slipped out of our hands was devastating.
Although the band began with a set where two imposing sculptures of Viking gods adorned the sides, a little later they would change it giving prominence to the Viking ship from which two heads emerged like dragons or some Scandinavian mythological being. But what really caught our attention was the scenery to accompany his latest song “Twilight of the thunder God”, with an inflatable simulating the sea monster from the cover of the homonymous album, with movement included and with which Johan Egg, brandishing the hammer of Thor, it would simulate a fight with the bug. Yes, all very much in the style of IRON MAIDEN and Bruce Dickinson’s famous shtick with the Eddie.
AMON AMARTH giving pure Heavy Metal show. And I can’t think of a shorter sentence that sums up what I experienced tonight with the Swedes so well.
Text and photos: Ángel Silva
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Chronicle and photos of AMON AMARTH + MACHINE HEAD + THE HALO EFFECT in A Coruña
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