On September 18th, 2022, MACHINE HEAD, along with their Swedish Viking friends AMON AMARTH and THE HALO EFFECT hit Tauron Arena in Krakow as part of their Vikings and Lionhearts Tour. The show was organized by the Knockout Productions booking agency.
THE HALO EFFECT was the first band to kick off the show. Gothenburg’s newly-formed band features five pioneers of the Swedish melodic death metal scene, with Mikael Stanne (DARK TRANQUILITY) on vocals alongside a strong collection of ex-IN FLAMES members. They opened with “Days of the Lost,” the title track from their new album, and the sound was so familiar and reminiscent of early IN FLAMES, while still having something fresh to offer. The band offered a 7-track setlist from their debut album. The riffs were melodic and Swedish, all musicians were enjoying themselves on stage, and Mikael Stanne was always smiling and thankful to the crowd. They closed with “Shadowminds.”
AMON AMARTH kicked off their set with “Guardians of Asgaard” and massive flames. The stage looked like an ancient Viking temple, with huge statues of warriors, horns, and other props. The AMON AMARTH setlist flew by with heavy hitters like “The Great Heathen Army,” “Deceiver of the Gods,” and “Raise Your Horns” – all getting the exploding reception one would expect from the army of Vikings in the arena. It felt like a journey through an epic saga, having staged fights between medieval-armored stuntman, costumed Loki, and Johan Hegg waving Thor’s hammer and drinking from a big horn. During “Shield Wall,” the crowd went into a violent moshpit. They closed out with “Twilight of the Thunder God.”
MACHINE HEAD needs no introduction, since they have been around since 1991. When the curtain dropped, the band slammed into “BECØME THE FIRESTØRM” from their fresh album “ØF KINGDØM AND CRØWN.” The technicality and speed of this track pumped the adrenaline levels to the max. They continued with “Imperium” and “Ten Ton Hammer.” MACHINE HEAD had some pyro stored as well; other than that, visually the stage was minimalist, yet the band’s raw power is what filled in the gaps. What made the show even more special is that their guitarist, Wacław “Vogg” Kiełtyka (DECAPITATED), was performing in front of a home audience. Before playing “Darkness Within,” Robb Flynn gave a profound speech about mental health. The set was too short, playing only 10 tracks, but packed with heavy bangers from “NØ GØDS, NØ MASTERS,” “Aesthetics Of Hate,” “Darkness Within,” “From This Day,” “Davidian,” and more, closing with “Halo.”
Overall, the show is a must-see as it’s one of the most interesting this year. The stage pieces and raw power of the bands were a treat for the eye, ears, and soul.