20th October 2022
Amon Amarth & Machine Head - “Vikings & Lionhearts” Tour 2022 - Support: The Halo Effect
Two of the world’s most revered heavy bands, Sweden’s Viking Metal overlords AMON AMARTH and Bay Area Metal icons MACHINE HEAD, are teaming up for the colossal “Vikings And Lionhearts” co-headline arena tour set to rampage across Europe in September and October 2022. Joining the metallic pairing to open the show are THE HALO EFFECT, a new band featuring five luminaries of Swedish Melodic Death Metal and pioneers of the genre. On Thursday, the Lions and the Vikings did the honours at the Rockhal and promised an evening to remember.
The Halo Effect
THE HALO EFFECT is a Swedish Melodic Death Metal band formed by former members of IN FLAMES. Jesper Strömblad was a founding member of IN FLAMES in 1990, and in 1993 Mikael Stanne (who founded the band DARK TRANQUILITY and remains its sole founding member today) worked as a session vocalist on IN FLAMES’ demo tape and debut album. Niclas Engelin and Peter Iwers joined IN FLAMES in 1997, and Daniel Svensson joined IN FLAMES in 1998 after Niclas Engelin quit. Subsequently, Strömblad, Iwers, and Svensson played together in IN FLAMES for over 10 years by the time Strömblad quit that band in 2010. THE HALO EFFECT coalesced in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, and according to press releases, the motivating idea behind the band was to return to the roots of the 1990s “Gothenburg sound” that pioneered the Melodic Death Metal genre.
Music & Performance
Around 7 pm, the time the opening band entered the stage, the big hall of the Rockhal was already more filled than expected. This was good, because THE HALO EFFECT are veterans of the metal scene, even if they are a young band. The Swedes were in a good mood and already performed with passion and heart in the title track of the debut ‘Days Of The Lost’, which they released this year. Admittedly, it took a little while in the Rockhal until the spark spread to the gradually growing audience. Although there was polite applause right at the beginning, the audience only started clapping during ‘Conditional’, where more and more heads were banging in front of the stage.
With ‘Shadowminds’, THE HALO EFFECT's approximately 40-minute set came to an end, with much applause and a high-spirited mood. Even after a few starting problems, which were not the band's fault (they did great), the audience was now warmed up for the next band.
01. Days of the Lost
02. The Needless End
04. Feel What I Believe
05. A Truth Worth Lying For
Total 8.8 / 10
Undisputed masters of murderous riffs, pugnacious grooves and ferocious hooks since 1991, MACHINE HEAD are long established as one of the most influential and incendiary bands in the Metal world. Exploding into the world’s consciousness with 1994’s seminal ‘Burn My Eyes’ album, the now legendary Oakland crew brutishly redefined what it meant to be heavy, incorporating a wild array of influences into some of the sharpest and most brutal Metal anthems ever written. Nearly three decades later, the band founded and led by vocalist / guitarist Robb Flynn has amassed an extraordinary catalogue of classic albums, while routinely enhancing an already formidable reputation as one of heavy music’s most powerful and relentless live bands.
Music & Performance
The Rockhal was now crowded and the atmosphere in front of the stage was very good. Everyone waited patiently for the next band. Thank God the changeover break wasn’t too long. With ‘Diary Of A Madman’ by OZZY OSBOURNE the gig of MACHINE HEAD started at 19:20. Then the curtain fell in front of the stage and the Americans were ready and without batting an eye they immediately started with 'BECØME THE FIRESTØRM’, which is from the new record ‘Of Kingdom and Crown’, released in August. Besides the current, ‘Unto the Locust’ and ‘Bloodstone & Diamonds’, among others, come to the fore. ‘Supercharger’ and ‘Catharsis’ were skipped. For ‘I Am Hell (Sonata in C#)’ it got even hotter than it already was: fire fountains came out in front of the band at the end of the song and covered the stage in glistening flames.
The crowd was unstoppable during this show. All the time, the security guards had plenty to do with crowd surfers. No wonder: with perfect sound and a light show choreographed down to the last detail, the set left no fan wishes unfulfilled. However, the focus was on Robb Flynn, who radiated a fabulous energy and acted as if it was the band's last gig. In general, the frontman showed himself to be an experienced entertainer as usual. So much charisma and joy could be projected onto the audience without much difficulty. Flynn often emphasised during the concert how great he finds it that so many parents took their children to the show. It warms his heart that young people already like their music and that nothing will stand in the way of the new generation of metalheads.
With the fantastic encore ‘Halo’, the gig ended with fireworks, where pyros and confetti cannons went off both in front of and behind the band. It was only slowly that the “Machine fucking Head” shouts of the audience faded away after 70 minutes full of energy.
01. BECØME THE FIRESTØRM
03. Ten Ton Hammer
04. I Am Hell (Sonata in C#)
05. CHØKE ØN THE ASHES ØF YØUR HATE
07. Now We Die
08. From This Day
10. Raining Blood (Slayer cover)
Total: 9.5 / 10
Formed in 1992, AMON AMARTH became modern Metal greats the hard way. The band takes its name from the Sindarin name of Mount Doom, a volcano in J. R. R. Tolkien′s Middle-earth. Their lyrics mostly deal with Viking mythology and history, and so they have been linked with Viking metal, although the band themselves prefer to be referred to as Melodic Death Metal.
Music & Performance
The change took time and let already assume in advance that the stage decoration of AMON AMARTH will be anything but simple. An oversized black banner covered the stage. After the IRON MAIDEN song ‘Run to the Hills’ giant Runes were projected on the black banner. It was noticeable that several spectators had already left the Rockhal for the headliner of the evening and the hall was therefore not as full as it was for MACHINE HEAD. When the curtain fell, there were bangs, sparks and flashes. Immediately the first stage elements appeared: a Viking ship with the drum set formed the centre, while to the right and left stood two oversized Viking statues, their eyes were flashing.
The show started with ‘Guardians of Asgaard’ and ‘Raven’s Flight’ and went into the full. It wasn't enough for AMON AMARTH to start with these two great songs. The latter were accompanied by a stunning pyro show. During ‘Deceiver Of The Gods’, singer Johann Hegg had a little battle with the eponymous god Loki, while the two guitarists Olavi Mikkonen and Johan Söderberg duelled each other with their guitars. The massive ‘The Great Heathen Army’ from the new album under the same name is, as expected, an absolute live killer.
The mood reaches its temporary peak during "Raise Your Horns". Hegg empties an oversized horn in Viking style and after confetti shower the protagonists leave the stages for a while. But the rumbling thunder announced what will follow: Hegg presented his huge hammer and ‘Twilight Of The Thunder God’ was celebrated with extensive show elements. The way light and sound interplayed here to reveal the huge Midgard snake against a stormy sea was phenomenal. A finale, one could neither see nor hear enough of.
But even though AMON AMARTH seemed to be very playful today, the performance of the Swedes did not manage to reach the show of their predecessors MACHINE HEAD. Especially the choreographed show interludes seemed a bit too long and the many pyro effects became a bit boring and too much with time. A pity!
01. Guardians of Asgaard
02. Raven’s Flight
03. Deceiver of the Gods
04. The Pursuit of Vikings
05. The Great Heathen Army
07. Destroyer of the Universe
08. Put Your Back Into the Oar
09. Cry of the Black Birds
10. The Way of Vikings
11. First Kill
12. Shield Wall
13. Raise Your Horns
14. Twilight of the Thunder God
Total 8.5 / 10
All pictures by Elena Arens