I'd been hearing a decent amount of hype about L.A.'s Holy Grail and was curious to hear them for the first time. I believe 4 of the 5 members were originally in White Wizzard who is a fairly enjoyable retro-metal band and they are also signed to Prosthetic Records who have been on a bit of a hot streak with new signings the past few years, so those two things right there were enough to have my interest piqued. The guys definitely had some chops and were completely competent players, but did absolutely nothing for me. If I'm going to listen to this kind of music, then why not simply bust out my Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Accept records and enjoy the originals? Definitely not for me.
EluveitieEluveitie (whose name I'm still not exactly clear on how exactly to pronounce). I had never even heard of this band before seeing the announcement for this tour, so was obviously completely unfamiliar with them. My friend I went to the show with is a huge fan of theirs and swore up and down that I would love it. Turns out he wasn't misleading me because I was blown away. His description of them as "In Flames with pan flutes" was pretty accurate, but I would prefer to describe them as In Flames meets the Braveheart and Willow soundtracks. Swedish death metal (although they are from Switzerland and not Sweden) mixed with pagan folk music instruments like flutes, violins and even the hurdy gurdy. With nine members on stage there was a lot going on, but it all translated well. And there are women in the band which is always great to see in the testosterone heavy world of metal. They released a new album earlier this year called Everything Remains (As It Never Was) that I plan on picking up sometime in the hopefully not so distant future...still working through a mammoth list of newly acquired albums that need to be listened to first!
Amon AmarthAmon Amarth. I've loved the band since I was turned onto their 2006 release With Oden On Our Side. I'd missed a few opportunities to see them already and was happy to finally be getting around to catching what is supposedly an impressive live show. Turns out all the hype was completely grounded in reality as these Viking loving melodic death metal playing Swedes most certainly did not disappoint. The singer, Johan Hegg, is a monster of man, but instead of being the stereotypical brooding metal singer, he was practically all smiles the whole show. And why not? They were having fun as was the audience. The happiness was contagious! From what I could tell, they did a pretty good job of covering their last four albums and probably got an older song or two in there as well, but not being as familiar with that part of their catalog as I am with the stuff released from 2002 on, I couldn't tell you for sure. I can tell you that I wound up stopping at their merch booth and buying a t-shirt which is always a sign that I really LOVED a show.
I look forward to catching both Amon Amarth and Eluveitie again in the future.
Amon Amarth "Cry Of The Black Birds"
Amon Amarth "Death In Fire"
Eluveitie "Inis Mona"