Live report: Amon Amarth, Enslaved, Skeletonwitch @ Irving Plaza
Here is an incomplete list of music-related things that I’ve lost my taste for as I’ve aged:
-Melodic death metal
(With certain exceptions, of course.)
I have grown accustomed to bar and basement shows, typically populated by a cast of 25 frowning dudes with their arms crossed. This sold-out Amon Amarth / Enslaved / Skeletonwitch show had all of the above characteristics, which means that it was very different from my typical habitat.
But as far as big-tent metal live acts go, Amon Amarth are something of a Platonic ideal. Their repertoire isn’t the most diverse, but they deliver the material with the ease and flair that only a truly professional band can command. And more importantly, they know how to play to their crowd. The audience reaction at this show was easily one of the most rabid I’ve ever seen; mosh pits are a common sight, but virtually the entire crowd went airborne at critical moments in this performance. Skeletonwitch were an appropriate opener, for similar reasons. The way that they pick and choose familiar tropes from various metal disciplines and combine them to crowd-pleasing effect reminds me of Goatwhore, which is a good thing.
I was personally most excited to see Enslaved, who did not disappoint. Though they were direct support, they played and behaved as though they were headlining, taking a bow together at the end of their set. Ice Dale looked as much like an action figure as I was told he would. And Enslaved know how to service their fans, too; they closed their performance with “All-Father Odin” and “Isa” in sequence.