The O2 Academy, Oxford – January 23rd 2015
My first Vulture Hound gig of 2015 followed on from how I ended 2014 with some cracking metal, but this time in Oxford. Sweden’s Viking Gods Amon Amarth with Huntress from the USA and UK metallists Savage Messiah
On a freezing cold night the sold out crowd bundled in to the O2 – first on and given the task to literally warm the crowd up were London’s Savage Messiah. In a nutshell this is classic heavy metal, Savage Messiah also combine elements of thrash and power metal. The band’s sound also has plenty of melodic moments too with singer Dave Silver and guitarist Joff Bailey doing everything they can to get the crowd fist pumping between swapping guitar solos.
Savage Messiah are touring their 2014 release The Fateful Dark which was released in 2014 on Earache Records.
The room was starting to really warm up when California’s Huntress stormed on stage. The 5 piece metal band is front by trained operatic singer and demoness Jill Janus who’s vocals reach every possible range as she stands over a fan machine allowing her blonde hair to shoot off in tangents leaving an image of similarity to Medusa.
Huntress are gaining quite the following in the metal scene and are taking no prisoners in the process – celebrity friends (Lemmy of Motorhead) writing songs for them – the provocative “I’m Want To Fuck You To Death”, they rapidly smash through their set with Jill drawing the crowd in with hypnotic eyes. The set is concluded with guitarist Blake Meahl balancing with one foot on the stage and the other over the press pit resting on the barrier whilst still playing guitar.
Amon Amarth need little introduction to the metal world. These Swedish Viking giants (literally in singer Johann Hegg’s case) bring symphonic, furious music that always leaves me day dreaming off to Nordic battles with legions of armies clashing till the death around Valhalla. The approach is brutal and it takes no prisoners. It is great to see Johann back on vocals after losing his voice earlier in the UK run of shows (the band performed mainly instrumental sets with Jill Janus helping them).
AA storm through a set of hits after hits to huge roars of approval from the now warmed up Oxford crowd – opening on “Father Of The Wolf” and “Deceiver Of The God’s” all the way through to a triumphant conclusion “The Pursuit of Vikings”.
The battle is won, raise Thor’s hammer in victory!