It’s a busy & beardy Camden Roundhouse when Testament take to stage only an hour after doors have actually opened. Those wanting to catch Grand Magus had to be at the front of the queue (that is still fairly long 40 minutes after the doors have opened) or they were missing out.
(Edit – it seems as though doors were actually at 6.30pm however on the tickets direct from the Roundhouse box office it was printed as 7pm & no further information was sent out regarding a time change)
Inside the actual venue the floor is awash with beer, sweat & the feel-good comradery that only comes from heavy metal. The goodwill is ramped up for a blistering Testament set that threatens to overshadow the headliner, Amon Amarth.
The band are on great form with Chuck Billy moving around like a man possessed. The sound inside the Roundhouse is near perfect making the band sound even heavier than they do on record. The new stuff that is aired (Brotherhood of the Snake, The Pale King & Stronghold) fits perfectly alongside older Testament tracks & in some circumstances sound even better!
It’s over far too quickly for a lot in attendance & once they leave the stage so does a portion of the crowd. What was an absolutely rammed roundhouse is now a little bit roomier once Amon Amarth take to the stage. They are met with a wall of noise though & it is amazing to see just how far they’ve come.
Opening with the Purist of Vikings, the pits open up & the head-banging is in full force. They don’t really hit their stride though until First Kill off the latest release, Jomsviking. It sounds incredible, the walls & floors reverberating from the drum beats.
Frontman Johan Hegg is on cheeky form throughout the night comparing London to some of the other cities they’ve played in the UK in an effort to get the pits even wilder. He’s a charismatic man with a voice that commands your attention, it’s booming style fits the Viking theme that has served the band so well for so long.
The set list is varied touching upon many areas of Amon Amarth’s career so much so that the band can confidently knock out 6 songs from the new album with ease. Some of these go down better than others with Raise Your Horns in particular being quite a sight.
It disappointing to not get much in the way of an Amon stage show though with only the drum riser made to look like a viking helmet bookended by two huge horns & several platforms for the band to move around on. The over-use of jets of steam seems to be trying to make up for the lack of pyro but it’s hard to know if that’s the bands decision or the venues.
Still Amon Amarth do a great job of sending the crowd home satisfied…a little bit deafer but satisfied none the less.
Amon Amarth/Testament @ The Camden Roundhouse, London (04/11/16)