When: Fri., Feb. 7, 8 p.m. 2014
You can’t fault Amon Amarth’s timing—they’re coming to Chicago with the live show for their ninth album, Deceiver of the Gods (Metal Blade), right in the depths of our Fimbulwinter. Like most of the band’s work, Deceiver revolves around themes from Viking culture and Norse lore, this time taking on Ragnarok and the role of trickster Loki (definitely not played by Tom Hiddleston). The record has attracted some criticism for failing to take risks, but would you really want a group that’s perfected its sound to jump right into demolishing it? Amon Amarth has delivered 47 solid minutes of flawlessly crafted, windmill-inspiring melodic death metal, with a sweet, silvery ice-cold sound in the dual guitar leads and a grim determination in Johan Hegg’s vocals—“Blood Eagle” absolutely convinces me that chopping open rib cages is something he does as part of his daily morning-affirmation routine. Former Candlemass vocalist Messiah Marcolin guests on “Hel,” and yes, you do want the version of the album with the bonus EP. Is it too much to hope that the band will bring its Viking-longboat stage set on this tour? —Monica Kendrick Enslaved and Skeletonwitch open.
Price: $28, $25 in advance