Monday was my birthday. Luckily there happened to be a decent concert in the area so my wife had the wonderful luck to get to see a few death metal bands live at Sokol Auditorium. Sokol is not my favorite venue since there is no seating and I generally don't like to stand for several hours on end. But it tends to draw some decent bands.
Ex Mortus was the first band up and they ripped through a fast-paced, intense set filled with shredding guitar solos and leads and deep-throated growling vocals. I have only heard one of this band's albums but their speed and impressive guitar work makes them a band to watch in the future. The highlight of their set was the ripping version of "Moonlight Sonata" they played late in their time on stage.
Up next was Entombed A.D., obviously a reformation of the legendary Entombed, who were one of the leading bands in the Swedish death metal movement of the late 80's/early 90's. Entombed's final album was the 2007 death 'n roll masterpiece Serpent Saints. Three of the four members from that version of Entombed are currently with Entombed A.D. The resurrected group played a number of songs from their newest album and also some classics from the Entombed era such as "Wolverine Blues", "Left Hand Path", and "Revel in Flesh". Their classic tracks were the strongest from their set, but their other stuff was entertaining enough. L-G Petrov looks a little rough these days, but he can still command attention from the stage.
Finally, Amon Amarth hit the stage. True to their image, they looked like vikings and had a large viking helmet taking up much of the center of the stage. The drum kit was stationed on top of the viking helmet. At several moments during the show, a couple of people dressed to look like Vikings and carrying swords, helmets, shields, bows, and more took the stage. I did not feel that was really necessary personally. Amon Amarth delivered a strong set encompassing much of their catalog. I have not yet heard their most recent album, but it appears to be fairly typical of Amon Amarth: mid-paced, crunching melodic death metal with deep, roaring vocals. The only real problem with their set was that most of the songs were about the same tempo, making it a little difficult to stay interested in the show. Some dynamics would have been welcome. It was a very good show ultimately, but it could have been so much better.
My wife was less than impressed with it, which is not shocking. Surprisingly she preferred Ex Mortus of the three bands. She really hated Entombed A.D., which I found hilarious. It was a damn good show, and a great birthday.