Amon Amarth, Enslaved and Skeletonwitch 2014 Tour: Is it Worth Attending?
Brad Sanders has written a very interesting editorial piece for Invisible Oranges about the recently announced North American tour featuring Amon Amarth, Enslaved and Skeletonwitch. The gist of his argument: he’s not interested in stepping into “a time-tunnel straight to 2007,” arguing that these bands have lost their appeal. I couldn’t disagree more.
I understand where Sanders is coming from: this tour lacks the excitement of newness, and it lacks sexy chic metal buzz. But to get caught up in that is to overlook pretty much everything else about it.
Mainly where I find disagreement with Sanders is his stance that the bands on this tour are somehow less relevant now than they were in 2007. If anything, they’re MORE relevant. It’s not like we’re talking about bands that were in a “scene” that peaked and then dropped off a cliff, like if we were discussing a new tour that featured, for example, Killswitch Engage, Shadows Fall, Unearth and Diecast. None of Amon Amarth, Enslaved and Skeletonwitch were ever part of any larger popular trend (or, if they were, they quickly matured beyond it), and all have reached the level of success they’re currently enjoying on their own merit, not on the backs of the musical flavor of the moment. There is nothing “nostalgiac” at all about this tour — all three bands are still very much relevant in today’s metal landscape, albeit not as groundbreaking as they were when they all first came out.
For this reason Sanders’ argument smacks off “These bands used to be underground and cool but now I don’t like them since they’re more popular.” Not that that’s necessarily how he feels — Amon Amarth’s recent swing towards melodeath and Enslaved adventures into psychedelia are empirical undeniable, so from there it becomes a matter of taste — but that’s how it comes off when someone talks about losing interest in bands simply because they aren’t breaking ground anymore. We’re guilty of it at MetalSucks too, certainly; when bands re-tread the same territory time and time again, or change tack in a direction we don’t like, we lose interest. So do you, and so do all metal fans. But it’s not like we’re talking about bands that are two decades past their primes, here; these three bands are very much still in their prime making good music, and the period Sanders is references is only five years ago.
Also: if a live show is amazing, that’s undeniable, and all three of these bands put on absolutely fantastic live shows. I think Sanders is thinking a little too hard about the career arc of each band’s music and forgetting that live shows are supposed to be fun experiences. For example: even though I wasn’t so hot on Kvelertak’s new album I’ll still move mountains to see their ripping live show any time they come to town. It’s fun!
So, in short: I’m still very much stoked on Amon Amarth, Enslaved and Skeletonwitch’s upcoming tour. Say hi if you see me; let’s have some brews and headbang together and forget about all of the world’s ills.