Artist: Amon Amarth
Venue: Lit Lounge (New York, NY)
Event: “Twilight Of The Thunder God” CD Listening Event (Media Only)
Label: Metal Blade Records
The event came as quite the surprise to me thanks to some email snafu but in the end the message reached me and the warning about the invading Viking hordes of Amon Amarth paying a visit to New York City was able to be prepared for. The Metal Faithful in NYC always love when the group comes to play shows here but tonight this would not be the case and instead I was able to be a part of a secret media cabal that was to convene together for the chance to join the band as they played their upcoming album “Twilight Of The Thunder God”. With haste I made my way to The Lit Lounge which is not too far from the original location of the long closed Fillmore East. The club or bar is set at two levels with the main floor space as a decent sized bar and the basement as a rather congested concert area space. I had only been there once before in 2007 to see both Unexpect and Virgin Black perform and while I loved the bands who were gigging I didn’t like the setting of the venue that particular night. Tonight the gathering would be in the main space and while the party had already started upon my arrival the music had not yet begun to spin. Towards the back I wandered where I saw the esteemed Metal Blade Publicity peeps and the hulking presence of Mr. Johan Hegg, lead singer of the band. If you don’t know what I mean, well, he is a super tall dude to the conventional New Yorker and his appetite for Metal is just as large as he is so it’s always best to approach with candor or at least a full pint of ale for him. He already had a full pint so I smiled and addressed him with a hearty “Hails Johan”, and since the background music was some odd Country and Western tune I decided to break the ice by complimenting the band on the bold new step and direction that they were taking with the album as it was clear to win over all those Redneck Southern Vikings who have been dying to have a Bluegrass twist to their Death Metal.
Hearty laughs followed from those around me and soon the real album began to play and what a smoldering slab of Viking Death Metal it is. Sadly, the intimate and relaxed nature of this gathering found none of the guests provided with detail sheets or additional information about the album. Tonight was clearly about blasting the Metal loud as Hell and drinking as much as you could until the event had completed. Johan was joined by bassist Ted Lundstrom and both of them were walking around the bar talking and making jokes with the folks in attendance. The bar was also open to other patrons tonight and those who wandered in accidentally or to see bands performing downstairs would go back and forth between floors and they also seemed to enjoy themselves. Perhaps those who had a strong belief in the power of Heavy Metal were enjoying it just a little bit more. Also, the guys in the band were not camera shy and as result a lot of fun folks got their picture taken with them. Hegg might seem like one of the Frost Giants on the stage but in person he was a really down to Earth dude who I found was wearing a smile from the moment the album began as each and every person made sure to say hello to him. I saw him pose for one photo where he picked the young lady up off the ground and there is a shot that she will not soon forget. The room was also host to a couple of notables and up and comers as we found Richard Christie who is not only a member of the Howard Stern show, but also a former member of Death and Iced Earth in attendance and having fun as well as a relatively new band called Gwynnbleid who I have heard and enjoyed over the past year or so. Most of the other folks were all representatives of media outlets of some kind as this was not your typical fan listening party but I am sure those are in the planning as well based on the bands overall fan base.
No one was given any sort of advance on the release, but it does come out towards the end of September on Metal Blade Records so be sure to order a copy and watch for a review of it. Having heard it play about three times during the course of the night I can easily tell you that if you were worried about Amon Amarth slowing down then you can rest easy in the knowledge that this is far from the case with the new album. “Twilight Of The Thunder God” definitely continues the tradition of excellence that we have come to expect from them as a band and I am sure that regional touring will commence once the record is released. Get that sword sharpened and be on the ready for the return of Amon Amarth. Horns up!!!!
1. Twilight Of The Thunder God
2. Free Will Sacrifice
3. Guardians Of Asgaard
4. Where Is Your God?
5. Varyags Of Miklagaard
6. Tattered Banners And Bloody Flags
7. No Fear For The Setting Sun
8. The Hero
9. Live For The Kill
10. Embrace Of The Endless Ocean
Official Website: http://www.amonamarth.com