Live Reports

Machine Head and Amon Amarth destroyed Brussels!

Friday 21 October, Brussels have a meeting with some legends of the metal scene: Machine Head and Amon Amarth, both celebrating this year their 30th Anniversary of a successful career! This co-headline show was in the top 10 of shows any metalheads shouldn’t miss this Fall and we were right: here’s why!

This Summer, we wrote an article about 10 sick shows we/you shouldn’t miss this Fall in Belgium. So far, all the shows of this list have been insane: Polaris, Machine Gun Kelly and Sum 41. But tonight, the number 4 is really different from its predecessors. We are in Forest National again but to enjoy some of the best grove and death melodic bands. Amon Amarth released their 12th full-length album called “The Greatest Heathen Army” in June, Machine Head released their 10th “Of Kingdom And Crown”, The Halo Effect is a new band but all their members are already well known in metal scene as they’re all former members of In Flames. A perfect trio signed on Nuclear Blast Records ready to give us the perfect Friday evening!

The Halo Effect are the first band to show up on stage and we can already feel they’re not a debutant band. But know they’re not the stars of the night. They’re just here to prepare us for what’s coming after, which don’t prevent us to deliver us the best show possible! Mikael Stanne, frontman of this new formation, keeps his smile and energy during the all set, giving us some great speeches about feeling misunderstood with songs like Feel What I Believe, his countless love for metal and live music and introducing their debut album “Gothenburg Sound”. Another reminder of their Swedish origins in case you didn’t know yet! Not the show of the year but it was a great start and we hope to see them again in better conditions with a longer set to see what they’re really made of.

The Halo Effect @ Forest National – 21 October 2022 // FreakMikePhotography for Ctrl Alt Music.

For this stop in Belgium of this massive co-headline tour, Amon Amarth are the first to play. We don’t know on what it’s based, if it’s just a turnover or if it depends on the success in the country – which is obviously big for both acts – but it sounds logical for us that Machine Head play at last tonight.

The Vikings warm up their show with a Viking song… well, not really: Run To The Hills from Iron Maiden. More than ever, bands choose the last song to be play before their show to increase the energy of the crown. We saw Bullet For My Valentine playing Europe‘s song, Green Day is known to play Bohemian Rhapsody from Queen, Coheed And Cambria also using an Iron Maiden‘s song, The Trooper. Anyway. This song was a good idea as obviously all the metalheads in the venue tonight know it well!

But the time finally arrive when the doors of Asgaard opened with the song Guardians Of Asgaard. We waited a new song as opening but a classic one is a great choice too! The first thing we notice is obviously the huge decor and scene production. Every details is well thought and we got fire everywhere! We’re glad we were not in the front row the whole night – except for some pictures in the photo pit – because it was for sure hotter than hell! Maybe it’s that hot in Valhalla?! They did everything to see there for sure! Deceiver Of The Gods, The Pursuit Of Vikings, The Way Of Vikings… so many powerful songs from Amon Amarth influences and universe. The band can look cliché sometimes but it definitely work and the whole crowd is on fire, so were the interactions with the audience.

The biggest surprise of the night is that they only play 1 new song: The Great Heathen Arm. The set-list from this tour is more a best-off from their long career than from a new album promotional tour. Is it because it’s a special co-headline tour? Or because the new album is too recent? In any case, we’re glad they made this choice! And this new song sounds perfectly on stage. This album is made for the live: like all Amon Amarth‘s album, this band has so much energy that can’t fit in a small CD, it has to be played live to be alive! And as viking leader – or viking king – Johan Hegg makes sure that every instant of the show keeps the same energy: if not, the gods will punish you.

Best moment of the show? Definitely, see thousands of people – even in the seating area – do the rowing boat!

Set-list: Guardians Of Asgaard, Raven’s Flight, Deceiver Of The Gods, The Pursuit Of Vikings, The Great Heathen Arm, Oden Owns You All, Destroyer Of The Universe, Put Your Back Into The Oar, Cry Of The Black Birds, The Way Of Vikings, First Kill, Shield Wall, Raise Your Horns, Twilight Of The Thunder God.

Amon Amarth @ Forest National – 21 October 2022 // FreakMikePhotography for Ctrl Alt Music.

The Amon Amarth could have been the headliner set of the night without any doubt but tonight is an early Christmas gift. We’ve about 30 minutes to get some beers – don’t abuse of alcohol ! – or some energy drinks maybe more useful at this time, go to the toilets and come back on time on the ground floor for the second headliner of the evening: fuckin’ Machine Head!

The last time the band came in Belgium, they played more than 3 hours! Tonight feels a bit short with only 90 minutes… a usual time for every bands of course, a bit less for them. Another shorter feeling is their stage: compared to the vikings before, the production from Machine feels almost minimalist!

Like Amon Amarth, MH choose the introduction song, which is a Ozzy Osbourne‘s one this time. Just before giving us a massive intro with Imperium. Huge! Nothing more to say! And such as Amon Amarth‘s set-list, the one from Machine Head is more a best-off from their long career than from a new album promotional tour. Is it because it’s a special co-headline tour? Or because the new album is too recent? In any case, we’re glad they made this choice!

Machine Head @ Forest National – 21 October 2022 // FreakMikePhotography for Ctrl Alt Music.

The only new song we’ll get is then Become The Firestorm early in the set which fits very well there. Between all the classics from the band, proof they did well with their new album “Of Kingdom And Crown” released a couple of weeks ago via Nuclear Blast Records. Frontman more than ever, Robb Flynn looks more than happy to be back in Brussels – which was confirmed later with his statement about the show – so are we. The only people maybe not happy in the venue tonight are the security guys… Been a while since we’ve seen so many crowdsurfers, even at the Parkway Drive‘s show in the same venue 5 weeks earlier! Luckily for us, these guys had enough energy to welcome the crowdsurfers safely during the whole night. We usually thank the bands and crowd for the great show but not enough all the people so important around: security, sound and light engineers, bar teams and all the volunteers. You can be the best band in the world: you are nothing if nobody can promote your shows!

During 1h30, Robb and his teammates come through almost their whole career with 10 songs coming from 8 different albums (for 10 albums in total during their career)! And what Robb says, fan do. Circle-pit, mosh-pit, sing-along. And so crowdsuring! Before killing us and using the rest of energy we have with the legendary Halo.

Set-list: Imperium, Ten Ton Hammer, Become The Firestorm, I Am Hell, Aesthetics Of Hate, Locust, Now We Die, From This Day, Davidian, South Of Heaven (Slayer Cover), Halo.

We had no doubt this was gonna be a killing night. But Amon Amarth and Machine Head have exceeded our expectations! It’s 99% sure Amon Amarth will play again at Graspop next Summer. What about Machine Head? It would be sad they don’t deliver such a gig for 50k metalheads at Dessel in June… wait and see. Until then, we need to rest after this double headliner show!

Amon Amarth @ Forest National – 21 October 2022 // FreakMikePhotography for Ctrl Alt Music.

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