Amon Amarth, Cannibal Corpse, and Obituary Traverse the Death Metal Spectrum at Portland's Moda Center (SHOW REVIEW) - Glide Magazine (2024)

  • April 28, 2024
  • Reviews, Show Reviews
  • By Neil Ferguson
  • No Comments

Within the lexicon of heavy metal music, only a handful of still-touring bands capture the spectrum of fantasy like Amon Amarth and Cannibal Corpse. For Sweden’s Amon Amarth, it’s the realm of vikings, conquering, and medieval worlds that bands like Iron Maiden pioneered. On the other end is Cannibal Corpse, who have carved out legendary status within the Tampa death metal scene for songs drenched in sad*stic horror scenes bolstered by technical mastery. Both bands have also been going at it for around three decades now, so in a way, it makes sense that they would join forces for a tour. On Friday, April 26th that tour hit Portland, Oregon for a show at the Moda Center.

With a packed bill that kicked off with a short set from Texas band Frozen Soul, an array of heavy metal greatness was displayed throughout the night. Before Cannibal Corpse would lay waste and deliver the strongest performance of the night, fellow Tampa growlers Obituary took the stage for a tight set that shifted between groove and sludge and thrash with flashes of soaring guitar wizardry. John Tardy’s guttural screams were in fine form as he led the band through songs like the punk-laced “Barely Alive,” “The Wrong Time,” and the exceptionally heavy “Slow Death.” The set’s highlight came during “War” with Donald Tardy making the machine-gun drumming look effortless while Ken Andrews laid down chain-sawing guitar riffs to make for a sprawling and impressive tune.

It’s almost hard to comprehend that Cannibal Corpse has been ripping the world a new asshole for over thirty years, but here we are. Onstage in Portland, the band sounded as brutal and relevant as ever as they plowed through songs like “Scourge of Iron,” “Blood Blind” and “Inhumane Harvest.” Donning his signature ‘Respect the Neck’ shirt, George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher delivered a level of majestic head-banging that crossed into the realm of performance art as he laid down deep growls and screams that felt almost operatic. This all happened while his bandmates brought forth a full onslaught of grimy yet precise playing that featured Erik Rutan’s frenetic bee swarm guitar solos playing off the vocals almost like a jazz musician. “Evisceration Plague” and “Death Walking Terror” ramped up the intensity before Fisher’s bombastic introduction to the longtime favorite “I Cum Blood.” Though it’s somewhat of a rarity for Cannibal Corpse to mix up their setlist despite having sixteen studio albums to their name, their choice of songs for this tour was properly paced and gave the fans a healthy dose of death metal goodness. Fisher teased the crowd about thinking the band had wrapped before closing with “Hammer Smashed Face,” an eruption of noise that displayed the astounding level of technical skill that has made Cannibal Corpse such a legendary act.

Compared to the raw and straightforward performance of the other acts on the bill, Amon Amarth leaned deep into the theatrical side of heavy metal with a stage setup that captured the spirit of their Viking image. The introductory track of Iron Maiden’s “Run to the Hills” reminded the crowd of where this band draws much of their influence. The band approached their set with the cadence of a battle as they galloped through songs like “The Pursuit of Vikings,” “Tattered Banners and Bloodied Flags,” and “Guardians of Asgaard.” The appeal of Amon Amarth was in its melodicism and showmanship, with the band members prowling a stage adorned with a massive Viking helmet and statues while leading the fans in Game of Thrones-level chanting.

Few metal acts have the means to bring this kind of stage setup on the road these days, and it was exhilarating to see these Swedish rockers perform a set that felt driving and expansive. Johan Hegg’s haunting and powerful Norseman vocals propelled the band forward over a soundtrack of dueling high-speed guitars that felt rooted in death metal. Still, they paid homage to the more grandiose new wave of British heavy metal styles. On songs like “Put Your Back Into The Oar” and “The Way of Vikings,” the audience was invited to join in by rowing in unison. By the time the band encored with the hyper-speed “Twilight of the Thunder God,” they had reached a level of triumph that gave the show’s conclusion the feeling of having achieved victory in battle. Indeed, the entire evening proved victorious for real heavy metal music being alive and well.

Amon Amarth, Cannibal Corpse, and Obituary Traverse the Death Metal Spectrum at Portland's Moda Center (SHOW REVIEW) - Glide Magazine (1)

Amon Amarth, Cannibal Corpse, and Obituary Traverse the Death Metal Spectrum at Portland's Moda Center (SHOW REVIEW) - Glide Magazine (2)

Amon Amarth, Cannibal Corpse, and Obituary Traverse the Death Metal Spectrum at Portland's Moda Center (SHOW REVIEW) - Glide Magazine (3)

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Amon Amarth, Cannibal Corpse, and Obituary Traverse the Death Metal Spectrum at Portland's Moda Center (SHOW REVIEW) - Glide Magazine (2024)

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