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Amon Amarth + Sabaton + Vallenfyre

Critics' pick
Photograph: John McMurtrie
Amon Amarth
It's hardly news that metal has gone all arty in recent years. Experimentation and genre-splicing are so commonplace these days—check out Deafheaven's wildly acclaimed 2013 LP, Sunbather, for a handy example—that it's easy to forget about the other end of the spectrum: acts whose chief objective is to rattle your skull in classically bombastic fashion. This bill of bearded, burly road dogs serves as a timely refresher. Sweden's Amon Amarth—the globe's foremost purveyor of hard-charging, Viking-themed death metal—headlines behind 2013's mighty Deceiver of the Gods. Give your brain a break, put away that iPhone, and let the raging commence.