TVD Live Shots: Amon Amarth, Grand Magus, At the Gates, and Arch Enemy at The Fillmore Silver Spring, 10/13

The ticket said “The Raid of Silver Spring,” and that meant only one thing: Swedish metal giants were in town, bringing metal to the huddled masses of suburban Washington, DC direct from Sweden.

Going into the evening, I’d hoped to steer clear of the easy Viking clichés, but having a look around the venue, I saw fans wearing kilts and Viking helmets while carefully sipping beer from drinking horns. The bands on this Sunday night’s bill, headlined by the Viking metal behemoths themselves, Amon Amarth, traffic in the imagery, so I’ll join in. Indeed, the name of the tour, “Berserker,” is the name given to the fiercest of all Viking warriors, so anything else is pointless and not fun.

I’d need the strength of my Scandinavian ancestors to endure this assault; Grandma and Grandpa Swanson, help me out here. I’d argue it wasn’t so much a raid as recruitment, as the enthusiastic fans—packing the Fillmore to its chandelier-adorned ceiling—needed no coercion to board the ship.

Whetting our appetite for the plunder were Stockholm metal veterans Grand Magus. In a roughly 25 minute, five song set, the trio (Janne Christoffersson, Mats Skinner, and Ludwig Witt) stirred the masses with their doom/stoner metal sound, including a taste (“Untamed”) from their latest album, Wolf God, released this spring. A genuinely appreciative Christoffersson declared the Fillmore crowd the “loudest” they’d ever played for and suggested a residency right there, because who needs Vegas? The crowd roared in agreement and, during the last song of the set, sent Grand Magus off by chanting along with “Hammer of the North.”

At the Gates followed; the band took the stage to the theme music from The Muppet Show, an endearing choice clearly meant to disarm the crowd before the death metal onslaught. Considered a progenitor of Gothenburg-style death metal, the band, led by the tireless Tomas Lindberg (along with Adrian Erlandsson, Jonas Björler, Martin Larson, and Jonas Stålhammar) pulled songs from throughout the band’s career for the nine-song set. Making the most of the sliver of crowded stage afforded to the them, they stirred up the crowd surfers with “Cold,” “At War with Reality,” closing the set out with “The Night Eternal” from 2014’s At War with Reality.

The audience was properly warmed up when Arch Enemy appeared. Alissa White-Gluz possessed the stage, subverting the Viking imagery, instead wearing a costume reminiscent of a mid-1970s Gene Simmons, complete with batwings. She had the crowd eating out of her hand. The band, rounded out by Michael Amott, Jeff Loomis, Sharlee D’Angelo, and Daniel Erlandsson, opened with “The World Is Yours” from 2017’s Will to Power while those of us in the media pit weaved around security guards handling crowd surfers. Thrashing through the eight song set, they wrapped up with “Nemesis” from 2005’s Doomsday Machine.

Finally taking the stage after over two and a half hours of metal battle, Amon Amarth commanded the Fillmore’s stage like the Viking warriors they are in front of what was by then a ravenous crowd. This was a club show, prohibiting any large-scale stage production, but the band (Johan Hegg, Olavi Mikkonen, Ted Lundström, Jocke Wallgren, Johan Söderberg) made the most of what there was to work with.

Drummer Wallgren played atop a giant Viking helmet that had eyes that glowed green, there was judicious use of smoke machines and, surprise, an imposing Viking with a skull helmet marched around the stage to point and remind the crowd they we were being conquered, in case there was any lingering doubt. They opened with “Raven’s Flight,” pillaging through the set list until wrapping up with “Raise Your Horns,” as if the fans needed to be told.

In all, an exhilarating night of battle, with fans earning their places among the warriors. The Berserker Tour wraps up the US run in Los Angeles on October 26 before kicking off the European tour in Vienna on November 14.

ARCH ENEMY

AT THE GATES

GRAND MAGUS

AMON AMARTH

Grand Magus Set List
I, the Jury
Untamed
Like the Oar Strikes the Water
Iron Will
Hammer of the North

At the Gates Set List
To Drink From the Night Itself
Slaughter of the Soul
At War With Reality
The Colours of the Beast
Cold
Heroes and Tombs
Death and the Labyrinth
Blinded by Fear
The Night Eternal

Arch Enemy Set List
The World is Yours
War Eternal
My Apocalypse
Ravenous
The Eagle Flies Alone
First Day in Hell
As the Pages Turn
Nemesis

Amon Amarth Set List
Raven’s Flight
Runes to My Memory
Deceiver of the Gods
First Kill
Fafner’s Gold
Crack the Sky
The Way of Vikings
Shield Wall
Guardians of Asgaard
Raise Your Horns

Encore
The Pursuit of Vikings
Twilight of the Thunder God

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