Posted on by Oran

On a bright and sunny June evening, something very special is about to take place in the old Viking settlement of Limerick city.

Behind the walls of King John’s castle on the mouth of the river Shannon, the Norsemen of metal, Amon Amarth have returned to reclaim what was once theirs (albeit for 2 hours), and bring a staunchly faithful following with them in the form of black metal godfathers Behemoth.

Despite a religious objection from only one person in Ireland (because of course there would be), this event has been on the tips of Overdrive’s tongues since its announcement. We set sail for Limerick city and took what was ours… which was an absolutely EPIC night!

Striding onstage as though they own the place, Polish black metal gods Behemoth start their darkened tone of their infamous legacy that has been a cornerstone of the metal world.

Frontman Nergal is ethereally placed as he glides from one side of the stage to the next, embodying a true guise of tectonic stage presence. Kicking off with ‘Wolves Ov Siberia’, Behemoth wastes no time on this very special night in bringing the goods to Ireland.

Mega-hits follow from their last released albums; anthems from The Satanist, and from I Loved You at Your Darkest formed most of the setlist, which were all happily received by a sea of devil horns in the sky.

Adding to the atmosphere was a pyrotechnic show that was surprisingly vivid for such a small venue. But Behemoth came here to play another fantastic gig, and as an unexpected bonus, to rub their Satanic-laced songs in the face of one ex-politician who disastrously thought that by whingeing on radio that he could get the gig pulled (yeah dream on, pal).

Defiantly bellowing from the stage, Nergal declares “No political faction, sect or religion can stop us from being who we are: freethinking, music worshipping motherfuckers!” PREACH!!

Dispensing with the pleasantries, the band unleashes wave after wave of fan-melting favourites, such as Bartzabel, God=Dog, Sabbath Mater, and Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel. All in all, this is a mesmerising insight to the up-close-and-personal workings of a band I have only ever seen from hundreds of feet away with thousands of people around me.

In King John’s castle tonight, I’m metres away and can feel the heat of the flames giving my hands a hearty warm up as I hold my easily procured refreshment from the licensed establishment, which is a measly twenty feet away from where I am standing for the entire show. Lucifer starts their encore, and ends with We Are The Next 1000 Years, before all 4 men disappear and return cloaked in black pounding on drums to their outro Coagvla. Behemoth ends their night, and Phase 2 is about to begin. (4.5/5)

1.     Wolves Ov Siberia

2.     Daimonos

3.     Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer

4.     Bartzabel

5.     Ov Fire and the Void

6.     God = Dog

7.     Conquer All

8.     Sabbath Mater

9.     Decade of Therion

10.  Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel

11.  Chant for Eschaton 2000


12.  Lucifer

13.  We Are the Next 1000 Years

14.  Coagvla

Fuelled by Celtic rage, Amon Amarth take to the stage ready for action, kicking into their half of the event with Pursuit of Vikings. The sound is incredible for a castle that dates back to the year 1200, as the acoustics bounce effortlessly off the walls of the enclosure, giving a surround-sound feel to a stage that isn’t even 100 feet long.

Gnarled and weathered frontman Johan Hegg greets us with his raspy charm, and states that the Swedish are back to reclaim Ireland “But just for tonight, ok?”, to cover himself.

To concentrate the vibe of the event, two Vikings come out and fight at the start of Way of Vikings, which is greeted with a bay of photos being taken to capture the spectacle. Hegg’s voice is a little shaken tonight, and he admittedly knocked back a few pints of Guinness and now he’s in flying form to carry on.

As the night progresses, the backdrops behind the Viking-helmet drum riser change with the album that the songs are from, notably Besereker, Twilight of the Thunder God, and Deceiver of the Gods.

There are a few guest appearances from Loki himself, and a few more vikings appear waving flags. The pyro show is off the charts, which adds to the atmosphere of sheer enjoyment  that everyone is having; especially the band, which at one point, all five members line up on stage and swig from their drinking horns, wishing us ‘sláinte!’ (Irish for health). Crack the Sky, Shield Wall and Ravens Flight up the ante and get the blood going.

Amon Amarth bash through the rest of their setlist with unwavering and unfailing ferocity. Hegg at the helm is a worthy sight, backed up by Johan Soderberg on rhythm guitar, Olavi Mikkonen on lead, Ted Lundström on bass and Jocke Wallgren on drums.

A giant inflatable serpent with amber eyes envelops the stage also, as Hegg brings down his hammer on the stage, starting a cascade of sparks descending from the rafters. It’s one massive show-shot after the next with this band, and there isn’t a still body on the grounds. Ending the night with Raise Your Horns, and Twilight Of The Thunder God, we are denied an encore but that’s only because of the local curfew.

The vikings bid us farewell and give us what we came for, which was a truly memorable night and a real ‘I-was-there’ moment. After a night like this, my beard has grown a beard, my dog is now a dragon (with a beard), and my car is a longboat with shields overhanging the bow with a serpent head where the bonnet used to be. RAISE YOUR HORNS!!! (5/5)

Amon Amarth setlist:

1.     The Pursuit of Vikings

2.     Deceiver of the Gods

3.     First Kill

4.     The Way of Vikings

5.     Fafner’s Gold

6.     Crack the Sky

7.     As Loke Falls

8.     Legend of a Banished Man

9.     Death in Fire

10.  Shield Wall

11.  Raven’s Flight

12.  Guardians Of Asgaard

13.  Raise Your Horns

14.  Twilight Of The Thunder God

Shaun Martin 2019

Photos – Down The Barrel Photography © 2019