Founded by the Vikings in the tenth century, Dublin was once again host to the Scandinavian marauders on Wednesday night (2nd November), as Amon Amarth laid waste to the city’s Vicar Street venue. Touring in support of latest album ‘Jomsviking’, the Swedish band put on a lavish show that featured lights, risers, and a gigantic horned Viking helmet that dwarfed the theatre’s sizable stage.
Ably supported by thrash legends Testament and respected metallers Grand Magus, fans were treated to a three band bill that featured some of the finest acts in the genre, providing something to suit fans of most vintages.
Following a well-received set by Grand Magus, it was California’s Testament who were the first to really ignite the Dublin crowd. Opening with a punishing ‘Brotherhood Of The Snake’ – the title track from their just released eleventh studio set, the band were in fierce form from the off.
With singer Chuck Billy growling, gurning, and air guitaring throughout, the animated front man commanded the crowd’s attention, as Testament made their way through tracks culled mostly from the polar ends of their career. Concentrating on songs from their last few studio albums, including the title tracks from comeback disc ‘The Formation Of Damnation’ and its follow-up ‘Dark Roots Of Earth’, the band also pleased early fans with the "old school thrash metal" of ‘Into The Pit’ and ‘Over The Wall’.
Revealing a political conscience, Billy – a Native American himself, dedicated the track ‘Stronghold’ to the Standing Rock protesters currently demonstrating at North Dakota, telling the audience; “this song is for all the Native Americans standing strong for what they believe in”.
On any other night Testament would have been a tough act to follow, however with the sold out venue bursting to capacity, and a dedicated following waiting in anticipation, the atmosphere was palpable as Amon Amarth’s impressive stage set-up was revealed.
Centred around a huge Viking helmet complete with customary horns, that doubled as a drum riser, it was Amon Amarth’s sense of theatrics and other-worldly production that took centre stage. Kicking off, fittingly, with ‘The Persuit Of Vikings’, with a spectacular light show and myriad platforms, not to mention a highly energetic musical prowess, the five-piece proved a treat for the both the eyes, and the ears.
Greeting the crow, singer Johan Hegg said; “Good evening Dublin. How the fuck are you guys doing tonight?”, before asking; “Are you going to have some fun?”. Going on to reference the capital’s Norse history, the singer revealed; “we love coming to play in Dublin, because you guys are crazy Vikings”.
Playing a healthy smattering of tracks from their critically acclaimed latest album ‘Jomsviking’, as well as fan favourites like ‘Twilight Of The Thunder God’ and a rousing ‘Deceiver Of The Gods’, Dublin was treated to a Viking raid the likes of which hadn’t been seen in the city for over a millennium.
Ending the evening with a trio of tracks that included a celebratory ‘Raise Your Horns’, Amon Amarth proved exactly why they have been steadily climbing into the bigger leagues.
Amon Amarth’s ‘Viking Crusade’ continues with dates in London on Friday night (4th October) and Birmingham on Saturday (5th November), before making its way to the continent for an extended run.
Stay tuned for eonmusic’s exclusive interview with Amon Amarth’s Johan Söderberg.
Amon Amarth with Testament and Grand Magus U.K. 2016 Dates.
4 Nov – London, Roundhouse
5 Nov – Birmingham, O2 Academy