Venue: The Sugarmill
If I am absolutely honest, this line up couldn't be more perfect for a night at The Sugarmill. They have done pretty darn good by booking a band like Amon Amarth, coming all the way to the chilly night of Stoke-on-Trent to entertain some of the most dedicated fans in metal. The viking metal powerhouse seem ready to deliver more than just viking culture, they are ready for the crowd to create a tidal wave of bodies in their name. With the chillingly excellent Huntress joining the fun along with Savage Messiah, this is what I call a great night out.
Savage Messiah were the first band to bring their gear to stage and begin to crack on. They have a brilliant underground following as they have toured with the likes of Onslaught, Sylosis and Queensryche. With critical acclaim from all the corners of the world, this is a performance I was itching to see. A very enjoyable and heavy set indeed, blasting out tunes like "Hellblazer" and "The Fateful Dark", the crowd was very satisfied, but eager to see Amon Amarth. Dave Silver's guitar decided that halfway through their set that it was no more, so seeing him without a guitar is a strange sight indeed. However, it didn't affect their stage presence as such, as they continued to deliver a strong set to a restless audience.
Up next were Huntress, the first time they graced the land of Stoke since their set at Minister's Bar. With Jill Janus attracting the eyes of everyone in the room, the show was ready to start. The crowd still seemed eager for Amon Amarth during Huntress's set too, they put on a brilliant performance. The music crunched through those amps and gave the ears of the attendance a nice massage of crunching distortion and operatic power. The song "I Want To Fuck You To Death" raised a few glasses when Jill mentioned Lemmy before the song, only to say that he wrote the song. It sounds so much better live, and Jill's vocals were perfect throughout the whole show.
The viking power radiating from Amon Amarth was sensed as soon as Huntress left the stage. Only a few people rushed outside to have their much needed cigarette, giving me a chance to squeeze in a little closer to the front. There wasn't anything prominent like the Viking ship off their Download '13 set, the only thing noticeable was their fantastic beards. That is all they need for everyone in The Sugarmill to go absolutely nuts, they walked onto the stage and let rip like it was a strawberry scented fart in an elevator. The presence was solid, and whilst they are blasing tunes for over an hour it's a heavenly event for every fan to see. When "Deceiver of The Gods" struck out of the darkness of the bottom floor, it sounded absolutely incredible. The place was a moshpit and the band looked and sounded ferocious. The sound was perfect, the set was also perfect. "Guardians of Asgard" practically made the ground erupt because of everyone going batshit crazy about it. It was a loud and proud performance, and I would love to see them again, especially at a festival like Download with their viking ship.