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Amon Amarth and Gwar are two very different acts, the former a master of blistering death metal, the latter a 30-year veteran of the funniest piss-take metal around. Despite their differences, last night’s Sidewave at the Factory Theatre in Sydney proved that a love of metal can bring anyone together. Both acts stole the show, with opinions divided as to who came out on top.
Amon Amarth played like they were leading us all into battle – that’s if battle is drinking, partying and headbanging. Opening with the king-sized Father Of The Wolf, their take-no-prisoners performance was inspired, and the unholy metal fury of Death In Fire proved they weren’t here to gently canoodle us with toe-tapping grooves. This was a celebration of heavy metal.
In a surging 8-song set Amon Amarth laid waste like few heavy metal bands can. The ballistic supercharged insanity of Destroyer Of The Universe contrasted nicely with the afterburners-on-overdrive blast of Twilight Of The Thunder Gods. Guardians Of Asgaard was equally inspired, its growling brutality almost beautiful in execution.
A good old-fashioned sing-along of The Pursuit Of Vikings capped a stellar performance from one of the hottest metal acts on the planet right now. Amon Amarth delivered a wall of sound that was impossible not to appreciate, and their skill and dexterity was brilliant.
Gwar are far removed from Amon Amarth’s technical death metal brilliance, but under the silly get-ups and wacky stage show, they’ve got the chops to be called an outstanding metal band. Their satirical brand of heavy metal suits the Aussie piss-take mentality perfect. Think TISM crossed with Slipknot and Rob Zombie and you’re halfway there.
While the crowd had thinned a little for Gwar, they were just as vocal in their appreciation. Opening with the galloping Madness At The Core Of Time, Gwar pulled out all the cheesy metal clichés and the crowd loved them for it. Frontman Oderus Urungus led the charge as guitarists Pustulus Maximus and Balsac The Jaws Of Death veered manically around the stage. Beefcake The Mighty on bass was a sight to behold, though we could barely glimpse Jizmak Da Gusha on drums.
As expected, Tony Abbott tried to stop the show (albeit in effigy form) only to suffer a beheading, and Queen Elizabeth similarly came under attack. There were a few characters on stage at various times during the show, and all met the same fate – various body parts were hacked or stomped and blood spurted, with some velocity, all over the moshpit.
Gwar are most aware of the silliness of it all and they revelled in it, as did the fans. The catchiness of their songs is undeniable – Bring Back The Bomb and Let Us Slay both fine examples of thrash metal mixed with comedic schlock horror – and if there was any questions about their self-awareness, covering Billy Ocean’s Getta Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car left no room for doubt.
Gwar and Amon Amarth threw a party in honour of heavy metal, celebrating its virtuosity, hilarity, and quality in equal measure. What more could fans have asked for?
Photo by Ashley Mar
Father Of The Wolf
Deceiver Of The Gods
Death In Fire
Destroyer Of The Universe
Guardians of Asgaard
Twilight Of The Thunder Gods
The Pursuit of Vikings
Madness At The Core Of Time
Bring Back The Bomb
Hate Love Songs
Metal Metal Land
Ham On The Bone
Saddam A Go-Go
They Swallowed The Sun
The Private Pain Of Sawborg Destructo
Let Us Slay
Sick Of You
Getta Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car (Billie Ocean)