AMON AMARTH (2019) Live Concert Review

With Guests ARCH ENEMY / AT THE GATES / GRAND MAGUS Live at the Riviera Theater in Chicago

  • Venue: The Riviera Theater – Chicago, Illinois
  • Date: October 7, 2019
  • Special guests: ARCH ENEMY, AT THE GATES, GRAND MAGUS
  • Reviewed by Michael Juvinall – Horror Patch
  • All Photos Copyrighted by Michael L. Juvinall

It was a Swedish invasion of Chicago on this night in early October as four Nordic extreme metal bands took over the iconic Riviera Theater in the windy city. It was an impressive bill led by the Viking melodic death metal monsters AMON AMARTH, who have been relentlessly touring the world in support of their current opus, Berserker! Direct support was melodic death metallers ARCH ENEMY

Further support came from historic Gothenburg based melodeath pioneers, AT THE GATES. Finally, the initial opening act was the traditional heavy metal act, GRAND MAGUS


The Scandinavian Viking metallers AMON AMARTH muscled through their setlist with a range of songs from their storied career. Ironically, they don’t like being referred to as a “Viking Metal” band, they prefer melodic death metal as a classification – even though their entire act and most of their songs refer to Viking mythology and history but, whatever. 

As expected, more than half of their setlist consisted of songs from their two most recent albums – Berserker, and Jomsviking. They led off with “Raven’s Flight”, which got the crowd roaring in delight. Highlights of their set included “Fafner’s Gold”, “Crack the Sky”, “Shield Wall”, “Guardians of Asgaard”, and “Raise Your Horns”. 

Amon Amarth played for 75 minutes, with the usual complaint these days being it should’ve been longer. Other than that, the band played masterfully. There is a reason they’re a headlining band now, they sound like their albums. That’s the greatest compliment I can give a live performance. 

Frontman Johan Hegg is so intimidating on vocals, he actually looks like a berserker. His low-end vocal range is ominous-sounding in a live setting. I simply love his growls. The rest of the band are no slouches either. 

These guys are worth the money and give the fans what they want. They’re a very impressive live band. I would be remiss if I didn’t say anything about their stage production. It too was very impressive. The stage consisted of an oversized horned Viking helmet housing drummer Jocke Wallgren in the center of the stage. The eye holes featured two video screens. For the finale, they brought out a full-size sea monster to do battle with. Very cool!

4.5 Pentagrams!

Setlist:

  1. Raven’s Flight
  2. Runes to My Memory
  3. Deceiver of the Gods
  4. First Kill
  5. Fafner’s Gold
  6. Crack the Sky
  7. The Way of Vikings
  8. Shield Wall
  9. Guardians of Asgaard
  10. Raise Your Horns
  11. The Pursuit of Vikings
  12. Twilight of the Thunder God

Click on each image to enlarge:


The high profile melodic death metal act, ARCH ENEMY is a group I’ve never had the chance to see before now. I’ve always wanted to but schedules never aligned until now. I say high profile because of frontwoman, Alissa White-Gluz. Not only is she as beautiful as she is talented, but she’s also an outspoken vegan and animal activist who ends up in the news often. 

They thundered out to “The World Is Yours”. Some of my highlights were “War Eternal”, “Ravenous”, “My Apocalypse”, and more. They played for 45 minutes. 

Like many female-fronted bands, Alissa White-Gluz is captivating to watch. As I mentioned previously, she is not only easy on the eyes, her guttural growls are incredible coming from a woman. Plus, she’s adept at getting a crowd into the show. She can work the crowd into a frenzy without trying very hard. I was so very glad I finally had the opportunity to see these guys (and girl) live, I was not disappointed. 

4 Pentagrams!

Setlist:

Set Flame to the Night (Played from tape)

  1. The World Is Yours
  2. War Eternal
  3. My Apocalypse
  4. Ravenous
  5. The Eagle Flies Alone
  6. First Day in Hell
  7. Saturnine (Played from tape)
  8. As the Pages Burn
  9. Nemesis
  10. Enter the Machine (Played from tape)

Click on each image to enlarge:


A band relegated to opening act here but normally would headline most shows, AT THE GATES, was the second support band. For those not understanding of why this is a pioneering metal group, this Gothenburg outfit helped engineer a new sound of death metal -The Gothenburg sound. Simply put, they and a tight few other bands from Gothenburg, Sweden, developed melodic death metal. Also simply put, without At The Gates, Amon Amarth, Arch Enemy, and many other bands in this subgenre wouldn’t exist. 

Seeing a band like At The Gates playing for a mere 35 minutes is criminal. But I suppose getting to see them at all would be better than nothing. These guys are real musicians and incredible at what they do. If you get the chance to see them play in a live setting, you owe yourself to do so. 

4 Pentagrams!

Setlist: 

Der Widerstand (Played from tape)

  1. To Drink From the Night Itself
  2. Slaughter of the Soul
  3. At War With Reality
  4. The Colours of the Beast
  5. Cold
  6. Heroes and Tombs
  7. El Altar del Dios Desconocido (Played from tape)
  8. Death and the Labyrinth
  9. Blinded by Fear
  10. The Night Eternal

Click on each image to enlarge:


The first opening act was the traditional heavy metal outfit GRAND MAGUS. This band has been in existence since 1999. They’re not the extreme metallers the other groups on this bill are but they are Swedish. They are a great band and don’t need extremities to be good. If you like old-school bands like Deep Purple, Judas Priest, Manowar, Rainbow, etc. you will like this amazing trio because those bands are all their influences. 

Grand Magus played for 30 minutes. 

3 Pentagrams!

Setlist:

  1. I, the Jury
  2. Dawn of Fire
  3. Like the Oar Strikes the Water
  4. Iron Will
  5. Hammer of the North

Click on each image to enlarge:

About Michael Juvinall (2868 Articles)
I am a devoted husband and father. I have been a voracious horror fan since the early age of 5 and metal fan since I was 14. I watch all horror films but my great loves are classic horror films: Universal Monsters, Werewolves, Hammer Horror and an all-around affinity for things that go bump in the night! I'm also a huge fan of extreme metal music.

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