Live Review: Amon Amarth / Bleed From Within – The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton 14.06.2023

Phil Pountney

Who could resist a little 220-mile road trip on a glorious Wednesday afternoon to get the juices going, especially when there was a brutal ‘carrot’ as an incentive dangling at the end of the line, and that ‘carrot’ came in the form of the absolutely crushing Bleed From Within and the mighty Amon Amarth, even if I had to put my back into it and row I would be getting there one way or another !! 

Thankfully there was no need for oars as I had a fairly stress-free journey down the various motorways and toll roads and when I arrived in the land of the wolves I parked up and joined the excitable queue for what was surely going to be an evening of brutal and punishing metal.

Once inside the plush, recently rejuvenated venue, I found my way to the front just as Bleed From Within hit the stage, and they were taking no prisoners on this one. Kennedy stalked the stage like a maniacal beast, demanding more and more movement and participation from the crowd, which they duly obliged by generating bigger and bigger pits, more and more violent as each song passed before us. On a couple of occasions, Kennedy even orchestrated huge walls of death which were impressive to say the least, given that it was midweek and in a fairly modest size venue, although the fact that two heavy hitters from our beloved world were in town it probably should have come as no surprise.

Provan was missing from action tonight, reportedly staying at home to deal with some family issues (hope everything is ok), but that didn’t detract from the absolute carnage which the band were able to generate on stage. ‘Levitate’ was absolutely colossal and ‘I Am Damnation’ was epically gigantic and stood proud as a pinnacle of the set, absolutely sublime and decadent in its deliverance which then allowed each component of the band the chance to shine brighter than they had on the lead up to the track. As the set closed out with ‘The End Of All We Know’, the sweat drenched figures on stage were testament to the shift that they had all put in and the energy they had allowed themselves to be able to deliver a set as bruising as the one we had all just been a witness to.

Bleed From Within are due out on tour with Trivium in just a few short months so it will be good to catch them again then, but if you haven’t got yourself a ticket already then I really would be asking the question, why the bloody hell not?

A huge curtain then dropped between the baying crowd and the stage, but it wasn’t long before the house lights dimmed and the infamous Amon Amarth logo started swirling around the surface of the curtain and then, as has become tradition at an Amon Amarth gig, we were treated to the PA belting out the Maiden classic ‘Run To The Hills’ before the curtain dropped and we were besieged by the glorious pummelling of the Viking inspired Swedish Death Metal juggernaut that is Hegg et al. 

An absolutely pummelling ‘Guardians Of Asgard’ was upon us and the whole venue went nuts, Hegg was bellowing out his vocals, reminiscent of Odin storming into battle, potent and dominating with every word that exuded from his very being. The strings of Mikkonen and Soderberg danced with each other to create intertwining and delectable riffs and chords while the backbone was conjured up courtesy of the muscular fretwork of Lundstrom and the beating heart of the operation by way of Wallgrens skins. ‘The Pursuit Of Vikings’ and Deceiver Of The Gods’ were mammoths in their own rights and ‘The Way Of Vikings’ was perfection personified, ‘Raise Your Horns’ closed out normal time but we were then carved open once again with a decadent, potent and truly transcendent ‘Twilight Of The Thunder Gods’ which was on the verge of conjuring up the spirit of Fenrir, portraying itself as a lone wolf prowling the landscape in search of its next victim, and as in Norse mythology, no chains would have been able to even come close to containing this beast which simply displayed a lesson in pure perfection, a true seminar in just how to construct and deliver brutal death metal of the highest order. 

An evening of the highest command, a true celebration of Extreme Metal and one which will have left no one disappointed tonight. 

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