Trivium & Amon Amarth – Gig Review 28th March @ Eatons Hill Hotel, Bris QLD

Trivium & Amon Amarth
Eaton’s Hill Hotel, Brisbane, QLD
March 28th, 2023
Support: Malevolence

On the final night of the Knotfest sideshows, the black-shirted masses have turned out to Eatons Hill Hotel in their droves to witness this evening’s international metal smorgasbord. With a massive line snaking it’s way out of the carpark and down the street, tonight’s co-headlining modern metal heavyweights Trivium and Amon Amarth, with hotly rising British metalcore act Malevolence, will surely wring out the last bit of energy from the Brisbane heavy music fanatics.

Having spent their entire Knotfest run opening the day, Malevolence have worked hard to win over new fans with their Hatebreed-meets-Crowbar hardcore stylings. Recently being in the country supporting Thy Art Is Murder, the Sheffield bruisers get a warm welcome from the filing room. There’s a little bit of action during their first couple of tunes, but the intensity gets cranked up during the awesome ‘Self Supremacy’. The Eatons Hill Hotel’s dancefloor gleefully answers wide-smiling frontman Alex Taylor’s calls for a circle pit, with a swarm of people opening up the crowd. It’s all one-way traffic for Malevolence from here on out, even slowing the pace with semi-ballad ‘Higher Place’ isn’t enough to disrupt momentum. You could argue that they’re a tad out of place on the bill – maybe they could have shared the stage with Knocked Loose on Monday at the Princess Theatre? However, with the tail end of the set being an endless wave of moshing, riffs, circle pits, breakdowns and even a wall of death, Malevolence have delivered the near-perfect opening slot.

Becoming regulars to our distant shores, the Viking-obsessed Swedish five-piece Amon Amarth’s reputation as a tremendous live band is once again on display here in Brisbane. Receiving the biggest ovation of the gig, the Swede’s hour-long showing plays like a ‘greatest hits’, serving up almost every classic Amon Amarth song, bookended with Twilight of the Thunder God’s ‘Guardians of Asgaard’ and it’s rampaging title track. Vocalist Johan Hegg is as affable and genuine as always, playing the frontman role perfectly whilst clearly loving every minute of the well-oiled set.

Amon Amarth are fast becoming the Iron Maiden of melodic death metal, with their tales of Viking mythology and ear-grabbing guitar melodies pure escapist metal fun. The packed venue happily goes along every chant, sing-along, headbang-moment, circle-pit-call and – of course – the now famous row-pit during ‘Put Your Back Into The Oar’. Admittedly the band have been underwhelming on record for a few years now, but with their best numbers handpicked for maximum energy – including ‘Deceiver of the Gods’ and the earlier gem ‘Pursuit of Vikings’ – highlights are hard to pick as the entire set is so strong. Applauded off stage like departing gods, Amon Amarth have seriously thrown down the gauntlet for this evening’s final act Trivium.

Trivium, of course though, are no slouches in the live department. Reported by many as one of the best acts at the Brisbane Knotfest date, Australia has had a long-running relationship with the Floridians – frontman Matt Heafy quipping that it’s the 14th (!) time the band have toured the country. Those endless years of touring have turned them into one of the most reliable metal groups in the world, and as the opening strains of ‘Kirisute Gomen’ pluck through the PA, the four-piece roar onstage to the Shogun album opener. It does take until the following ‘Catastrophist’ for the floor to match their energy, with Trivium’s first circle pit of their set kicking off. Cleverly changing up their setlist from the one they’ve been featuring on the Knotfest shows – and with ten LPs to choose from – Trivium play up to the diehards with the thrash inspired ‘To The Rats’ and Ascendancy deep cut ‘The Deceived’.

While the sound for tonight’s first two acts was excellent, there seems to be a little more mud in Trivium’s sound, with vocalist Matt Heafy getting a little buried in the mix throughout their set. The constant singing from the heaving pit certainly helps rectify this issue, with the frontman gleefully racing around the stage, tongue-out, trading finger-twisting solos with fellow guitarist Corey Beaulieu. Kudos for the overheating Eatons Hill Hotel crowd for keeping up the passion levels for Trivium’s entire set, with the audience expending their last morsels of energy during the one-two closer of ‘In Waves’ and ‘Pull Harder On The Strings Of Your Martyr’.

There is a real positive air of success and triumph to tonight’s show, with all three artists openly expressing their gratitude for both the packed house and the Knotfest tour as a whole. If you had to make a choice, Amon Amarth probably beat Trivium at the post for best showing of this event, but ultimately the real winners are the sweat-soaked Brisbane metal public. Let’s go Knotfest 2024!

Review by Andrew Kapper