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Amon Amarth @ Fillmore at Irving Plaza (4/25/2010)

Logo - Amon Amarth

Artist: Amon Amarth
Venue: The Fillmore NY (New Yotk, NY)
Opener: Eluveitie, Holy Grail
Date: 4/25/2010
Label: Metal Blade Records

Once again New York City was finding that they needed to prepare for a Viking invasion as the mighty Amon Amarth were making a return to the vicinity and bringing along those Pagan Folk Metallers Eluveitie with them. We’ve seen Amon Amarth doing their thing a few times already and while they have been around for years, tonight would only be my fourth time seeing them in action. It’s always a solid night of Metal when these Swedes come a calling and since we have not caught them since the latter part of 2008, we felt it was high time to take part in the show. The gig went something like this…….

Holy Grail: Starting off the show would be Prosthetic Records recording artists Holy Grail and this would be my very first time seeing them do their thing. I love the name right off the bat as it resonates with the kind of energy one expects from a Metal band and luckily their live sound matched. The attacked the stage with a healthy dose of what we now call “Traditional Metal” and I am so much more inclined to that than “Old School” when it comes down to classification. I liked what I was hearing and have yet to hear their official debut on the label, but it is safe to say that if you are enjoying bands like White Wizzard who are also doing a similar thing, than your quest for the Holy Grail has completed since they are now officially here to deliver the goods. I wish them well, and will definitely see them again if the time permits. Onto a little Eluveitie.
Continue reading Amon Amarth @ Fillmore at Irving Plaza (4/25/2010)

“Slania” by Eluveitie

Artist: Eluveitie
Title: “Slania”
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: 3/11/2008
Genre: Pagan Folk Metal
Rating: 5/5

Formed in 2002 as a simple side project, the Swiss Pagan Folk Metal band Eluveitie is the latest act to join forces with Nuclear Blast Records and present to the world on a much larger scale their unique brand of Metal. This label debut is actually the bands second album and entitled “Slania” and should you already be a fan of this type of stuff in the rapidly growing genre you will love it, but have you the need for some additional education on the format let’s do a little recap. The Pagan Folk Metal genre is by no means at all new but it has been picking up steam fast and furious over the last couple of years. The scene has given us a number of notable acts that you might already be aware of or even caught live in concert such as Finntroll, Korpiklaani and Ensiferum. To be honest the genre on the whole seems to work hand in hand very well with the Viking Metal style and finds bands like Tyr and Turisas coming off as close second cousins in music. The genre’s appeal can most easily be traced to its interesting blend of Celtic instrumentation and the bands daring to have not only a traditional guitar, bass, drums making up their core. To up the ante and deliver something that much more unique these bands often add and incorporate violins, flutes and even accordion in some cases. The other thing that Folk Metal does very well is bring up the level of atmosphere in the band’s presentation and as you listen there will be instances where the music takes you to faraway lands and times in the distant past. “Slania” opens with “Samon” and this is a crunching intro that reminded me a little bit of something out of the Highlander movies with its epic and sweeping feel. They continue along with “Primordial Breath” and this is a really intricate mixture of Death Metal elements over the Celtic vibe and while many bands have done it before them, it becomes clear that Eluveitie are probably going to be referred to as one of its masters. The release is highly energetic but very different from a band like Korpiklaani who are also on Nuclear Blast Records by the way. That Finnish group is much more “spirited” and they spend much of their time singing of drinking and having fun times. This doesn’t mean that the Eluveitie stuff is any less fun but it is quite a bit heavier than their label mates and they use a lot more of the blast beat drumming, growling vocals and lightning fast guitar riffing while the Folk melodies envelop them. A perfect example of just how well the elements can work together is in the track “Gray Sublime Archon” as it blisters by you at incredible speeds while flutes and pipes are clearly heard in the background. Like I said, this is some really interesting stuff and as each song completes you find yourself eager to hear the next piece.
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