Amon Amarth w/ Ex Mortus and Entombed A.D.
PlaystationTheater, NY, NY April 22, 2016
Valhalla in NYC, Vol. 2
Prelude to the Twilight of the Thunder God: Of Shirts, Sonatas and Stumblebums
Having made my way adjacent to a bunch of Lion King fans into the Playstation Theater, found and purchased a concert shirt that encapsulates my philosophy on life and death and beer, and wandered unconsciously into the worst possible place to be at a speed metal show, I was ready for Viking glory. But there were two other acts to precede Amon Amarth, and there were all sorts of strange things to come over the next 90 minutes or so.
Part 1: Of Shirts and Sonatas
When I say “all sorts of strange things,” I mean all sorts of truly strange things. The first instance of this was when Exmortus took the stage. I’ve seen plenty of opening acts pushed to the front of the stage, with sheets blocking off the more expansive back section set up for later acts. But this was the first time I’ve ever encountered a drummer using the drum kit of the next act. I understand the breakdown of a drum kit takes time, but why not just squash Exmortus off the ticket?
Once they hit the stage, the next thing I noticed was the bassist’s shirt.
His face doesn’t matter. But his shirt was well worth paying attention to. And not just his shirt. As I scanned the other side of the stage later in the show, I squinched up my eyes and saw the lead guitarist wearing this shirt.
I know it’s obscured, but that’s a picture of Ice Cube. So these dudes were sporting shirts of acts not only much better then themselves, but two of my favorite acts.
That I’m telling you about the band’s shirts and use of Entombed A.D.’s drum kit should speak volumes about what I thought of Exmortus’ music. Let me spell it out for you: They sucked. I wanted Viking glory, not pedestrian Californian thrash. Things got even weirder when the two guitarists crossed their torsos and slung their guitars to one another during a solo. Didn’t anybody tell these guys that they’re not Stryper and this isn’t 1986? Instead of all the bizarro junk they were throwing my way, I would have preferred some decent speed metal. In its place, I got Beethoven.
Yes, you read that correctly. Luwig von F’n Beethoven. I guess there’s no way I shouldn’t have expected Exmortus to play Act III of the maestro’s “Moonlight Sonata.” But man, they did. I know, I know, right now you’re saying, But Phil, what speaks metal more than an early 19th century pianist? Well, basically almost anything in existence. But nobody let this band in on that secret.
Fortunately, as the old saying goes, All lousy opening thrash acts must come to an end, and after one more tune, Exmortus was gone from my life.
Part 2: Entombed with a Bottle of Rotgut
Exmortus was gone, but the weirdness of the night most certainly was not.
One act down, Entombed A.D. was next in line. As the bassist and guitarist took the stage and their drummer reclaimed his kit, I looked over to the far right side of the stage and saw an obviously wasted fan stumbling onto the stage. This balding, middle aged fool had obviously wandered past security and was likely to get jumped and thrown out, if he didn’t fall down on his face first. As he weaved his way past the guitarist, slamming his head and throwing up his fist, he gave me another shock as he took the microphone and started to sing! This was no mere stumblebum deep in the cups; this was LG Petrov, the lead singer of Swedish death metal band Entombed A.D.
Outside of the spectacle of LG, I can’t say I really remember much about the band. I recall they were harder edged than Exmortus, and the bassist was a stout Swede. Beyond that, it’s all a blur of LG Petrov. I imagine this guy’s liver was in the act of deteriorating while I watched him, and though he was obviously singing the band’s songs, I’m not quite sure he knew he was singing the band’s songs. That probably didn’t matter, because between his thick Swedish accent and his slurred speech, I couldn’t make out anything he was singing. Not that death metal encourages the crystal clear notes of Freddy Mercury, but his garbled voice was trash. I wouldn’t have been surprised if I were to find out that LG Petrov makes it a part of the act every night to puke on his audience. One more reason I was grateful not to be right on the barrier.
But Drunken LG could only entertain for so long without having to hit the head. Entombed A.D. left the stage, and Valhalla was about to come full force to NYC.
Runes to My Memory: Valhalla in NYC
Join me in Vol. 3 of this thrash metal show report, in which I find myself eight guys out into a floor full of metalheads, witness sword fight and arrow battle, and get my first taste of real Vikings. But first, catch up on Vol. 1 to see how a Disney classic and neverending beer enters the mix!
–Phil Fasso \m/