Nowadays, to reach a 25-year milestone is a long time in the music industry. Though this used to be commonplace for bands, alterations within the music business have meant that artists band together for shorter periods of time, and that success — if it comes — can appear and swiftly disappear. Nowhere is this truer than in metal, where standing out from your peers can be extremely difficult, and the road to triumph extremely bumpy. Fans can fall out of love if you get too big, the mainstream can tire of you, or the type of music you make can simply fall foul of changing times. Sticking to your guns, both thematically and musically, can be your saving grace or your albatross. It does help if you’re a decent bunch of people, and so it is with Amon Amarth.
It’s incredible to think that a band who were known as Scum in their earliest days are now two and a half decades deep, with a live show that perfectly encapsulates what they’re about and seemingly unstoppable work ethic. This documentary lets the band and their close associates tell their story unflinchingly in their own words, from the discovery of Johan Hegg’s ultra-bear growl in a bar one night to the full Viking longboat that now graces their live performances. Everything, from the crappy delivery job that Hegg got fired from (reason: he had a beard… in Sweden), to the constant problems with their production and the huge unlucky rock that cursed them, is presented in such a way that the hour and 42 minutes hurtle past in a heartfelt chat.
Check out “Raise Your Horns (Live At Summer Breeze)” off of The Pursuit of Vikings: 25 Years in the Eye of the Storm.
That’s the thing about Amon Amarth; for all their faults, everyone they’ve come into contact with thinks they’re lovely people. After watching this documentary and the typically mad-tight additional live shows (the sound is incredible), you’d have to be a truly hard-nosed no-fun-nik to shun spending time with them — a hard-working band who’ve earned their stripes by anyone’s measure. The band makes sure that they devote decent chunks of time to everyone that’s been important to their progress, from booking agents and studio engineers to the living-history Vikings who battle for honour during their stage shows. Credit where credit’s due is a principle that’s fundamentally honoured, and that in itself is an admirable trait.
Even if you’re not the least bit interested in the adventures of the world’s premiere Viking-themed melodic death metal band, 25 Years In The Eye Of The Storm (pre-order here) is a rockumentary the way it’s meant to be done, because it’s truly representative of the group it’s covering. There’s no drug orgies or exploding breasts, no hotel destruction or bouts of inter-band violence, just the story of some friends who worked really bloody hard to become the band they are today. Deftly shot and not without some charming comedy, The Pursuit Of Vikings is a great watch for longboaters and casual vikings alike.
Documentary Run Time: 01:42:11
Live at Summer Breeze: T-Stage Show: August 16th, 2017: 01:19:54
Live at Summer Breeze: Main Stage Show: August 17th, 2017: 01:28:05
Release Date: November 16, 2018
Record Label: Metal Blade Records