Savage Messiah, Huntress, Amon Amarth
Hard Club, Porto (PT)
11th February 2015
Promoted by Prime Artits
Amon Amarth are very dear in my country, but it still positively surprised me that the show in Lisbon sold out a couple of weeks before the event. It didn’t sell out in Porto but it was close enough. And considering that both venues hold 1.000 people each, we’re talking about almost 2.000 metalheads “deceiving the gods” in this little corner of Europe. Not bad, huh?
Even though they could have pulled that off totally on their own, they obviously didn’t, bringing along two other bands. First one was Savage Messiah, who were playing in Porto for the first time. I don’t know how popular they were around here, but Portugal has a fair share of thrashers. And since Savage Messiah were formed in 2007 and last year were awarded as part of the Music Export Growth Scheme by the British Government, I’m pretty sure that many had at least heard of them. Still I didn’t notice the lyrics being sung along, hence my doubt. But I did listen to how loud they screamed their “Hey! Hey!” and how high they raised their fists, so if they didn’t know them before, they certainly do now, and in a very good way. Really a shame that they’ve played for such a short time – so short that photographers were rushed out of the photopit after just two songs instead of the usual three, as three would have literally meant half of the show. So it’s understandable that they’ve only played songs from their latest album, “The Fateful Dark”, even though they have two more in their baggage. The half-an-hour setlist included the opener “Iconocaust”, the “inspired by Satan” song “Hellblazer”, the title-track and “Minority Of One”, which was the last one. (5 / 5)
I wasn’t so stoked about Huntress and remained that way when the show was over. No, wait, I was stoked at the end BECAUSE it was over. At the time of their debut album, I wrote a review for another webzine and rated it 4/10. I’m looking at it right now and the first paragraph reads: « Huntress is a Californian heavy metal band highly overrated. Napalm Records took them in as “the undisputed newcomer of 2012” and I’m still wondering why. But then again, heavy metal always works on stage, and if you have a hot blonde with a very exposed cleavage screaming her lungs out, well, that surely calls a lot of attention. My question is – in the end of the show, do you remember any song? Did any solo, chorus or even a simple riff stick to your brain? Probably not. At least that’s what happened to me after listening to their debut “Spell Eater”. » What would you know? I was so right! Except for “I Want To Fuck You To Death”, that is, as the chorus is not just explicit but really catchy. But then again, as Jill Janus was so happy to inform, the song was co-written by Lemmy from Motörhead – so maybe the reason why it sounds distinctive.
Anyway, Jill was very energetic (as an aerobics instructor, as a friend would point out) but sadly her high pitch was far from steady. And the long screams were supported by the microphone effects. Then the guitar-hero poses of both guitarists were way too much for my personal taste. Mine and about a dozen friends who I’ve exchanged ideas with afterwards. But I guess we were a minority as the crowd gave a fiery response to Huntress (“We’re from California and we smoke a lot of weed”). So I can’t say that it was a bad concert, just that I didn’t like it.
Jill said “obrigada”, very pleased with herself by knowing the difference between “obrigada” and “obrigado” (it’s a gender thing – as a woman, she had to say the first, the latter is for men). She failed later, however, when she dedicated a song (“Zenith”, I think) to the girls, whom she called “muchachas”. That’s Spanish, Jill. But the crowd was hyped, and a crowdsurfing girl was praised by the singer: “that’s right, sister!”.
A new song, “Flesh”, was also introduced, and the set ended when “it was time to call the witches” – “Eight Of Swords”. They left the stage with Jill saying “stay high”. Quite the advice… (3,5 / 5)
We always associate Iron Maiden’s “Run To The Hills” to Indians and cowboys because of the music video. But if we look into the lyrics – “one man came across the sea…” – it could be any invader. So given the Vikings’ history, it was only suitable that this song served as intro for Amon Amarth.
Whatever I say about this show, it won’t do it any justice – regarding both the band and the crowd. It was the fifth time I was seeing these Swedes and I’ll make sure it wasn’t the last – they’re THAT kind of band. Right on the first song, “Father Of The Wolf”, I felt a boot on my head, as the crowdsurfers got into action practically in sync with the first riff.
It also didn’t take long for Johan Hegg to say good evening and welcome us to their party – in perfect Portuguese! Trust me, it’s not easy to catch our accent. That he took the time to practice meant a lot to everyone in that room.
For one hour and a half, the frenzy only slowed down when Hegg introduced the songs, drank to us from his horn, and the few moments that followed “Victorious March”, marking the encore. Notice that I said “slowed down”, not “quieted”, because the crowd kept screaming and applauding, such was the frenzy. And even despite the heat, that spiked to sauna-levels.
The aforementioned encore started with the sound of thunder, the lights still dim. Then the band returned, with Hegg holding a Mjölnir in the air. Then he hammered the ground with it, Thor-like, before starting to sing “Twilight Of The Thunder God”. In the end he said it had been the last song, getting a desolated roar as response. To get one more, we had to scream our lungs out loud enough. I think it was the first time I saw a singer satisfied with our loudness on the first take. “Of course we have one more song for you!”, Hegg said, asking bassist Ted Lundström to take the lead. As expected, “The Pursuit Of Vikings” echoed, and in the last chorus, Hegg wasn’t as easily pleased with our vocal performance, pushing us further… and achieving his goal, of course.
The whole band had a smile of their faces when they left the stage, with Hegg claiming we were “fantastic” and promising to come back. The next day, they posted a thank-you little video, with the caption “Oporto should now be called Oparty”. For this kind of pun, I didn’t mind the stupid “O” that, for some reason, the English language added to the original name of my hometown. (5 / 5)
Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino