With the release of their latest album “Surtur Rising“, Sweden’s Amon Amarth embarked on a worldwide tour that saw them play shows without the support of any bands. Appropriately dubbed “An Evening with Amon Amarth” the band set out to play the latest effort in it’s entirety before taking the stage for a second set of classics.
Having successfully completed a US tour with this unique idea along with a handful of Europe’s top festivals the Swedish quintet decided to return to the States for the second time this year to do it again, hitting cities that they missed the first time around. This time the lone local show in the tri-state area was Sayreville’s Starland Ballroom. Having attended the first leg at Best Buy Theatre in the spring, I expected an identical “classics” list but was surprised that the band had no intention of keeping it that way. The band reached far back to their earlier days playing tracks from albums put out more than a decade ago.
While this isn’t exactly rare as most bands try to hit a few classics to appease fans, Amon Amarth played songs I’ve never heard before live and this would be my fifth time seeing them. Below you will find select video’s that I recorded with both my camera and phone, while they have yet to invent ‘death metal’ specific technology the quality is pretty decent, double bass pedal and all.
With their new album Surtur Rising set to hit shelves worldwide as early as tomorrow (in Europe) I had the chance to chat with Olavi Mikkonen ahead of the band’s US tour while he was home in his native Sweden. Below is the lengthy Q&A.
DTM:Before we get into all the questions about the new album can you tell me the overall experience at 70,000 Tons of metal? How did that go?
OM: It went pretty well, this cruise was way cooler than the other ones we’ve played (in Sweden and Finland) because it was 5 days. It was a very nice trip and I was surprised it was actually well organized because we didn’t have any sort of schedule or anything like until 3 days before departure. We were kind of expecting the worst but it was very good and it was a blast because obviously there was no backstage area of any kind. It was cool to hang out with the fans and just talk, it was great.
DTM: Was it strange seeing a bunch of metal heads running around a cruise ship for 5 days? I’m imagining a bunch of black shirts, long hair, and beer everywhere.
OM: Yeah, the crew was probably a bit surprised because they usually have old people drinking martini’s or whatever. I think the staff on the ship enjoyed the environment as much as we did because they get to see something different for a change. I think they ran out of beer because normally they’re used to people ordering one or two drinks and that’s it. They weren’t prepared (laughing).
DTM: Is there a beer that Amon Amarth request any time you guys go on the road? Is there an official band beer?
OM: We usually go for local beers except Johan (Hegg) requests lots of Guinness. That’s the only thing actually we have on the list. I’m not really a beer guy, I’ll drink one or two but I’m not particularly picky.
DTM: Which beverage do you enjoy more than beer?
OM: Red wine probably. I don’t get hangovers from red wine, my stomach is already not cooperating when we’re touring so I figure I’d stick to something other than beer to appease it. I try to stay off beer on the road. Plus you can’t really get hammered from wine plus it makes you sleepy which is good.