Kings Of The Vikings

Bloodstock's dedication to variation involved needing to cater for the more extreme metal fans. Thank Valhalla then for the inclusion of Amon Amarth onto the lineup. Their brand of brutal Viking metal provided a salvation for those who really enjoy their noise. Alongside SuidAkrA, Amon Amarth were left the mammoth task of providing some earache from the mainstage.

Preferring not to bother with the extravagent sets and long intros of Within Temptation, Amon Amarth simply came on stage and blew the entire hall away. A fully packed audience were subjected to a double barrage of noise from guitarists Johan Soderberg and Olli Mikkonen. Couple that with the ferocious grunting and bellowing of Norse juggernaught Johan Hegg, and you've got the Viking version of Slayer.

To begin with, everyone's having a great time. The band are full of energy; headbanging and moving around the stage. The crowd are responding well, and everything's going swimmingly. The sound is top notch and the band have drawn a crowd to rival Hammerfall.

However, after about half way through Amon Amarth's set, two problems seem to arise. The first is the crowd. They seem to be tiring and also dispersing. An increasing number of people seem to be leaving the hall, and the seating balcony that surrounds the room is becoming clearer. Whilst there is still a hardcore chanting and moshing section near the front, more and more people towards the edges of the arena are becoming static. The second problem are the band. Towards the end of their set the band become visably tired, and Hegg's vocals lose some of their aplomb.

As bad as that sounds, it's really a very little issue. The band's first couple of songs were so excellent, the highlight of the set being the excellent "Versus The World" and "Thousand Years Of Opression". Whilst it's a shame the quality didn't maintain throughout, it was still an excellent show.