© David Bell
Photos by David Bell
Live Gig Review by Mark Dean (Journalist/Writer/Contributor) Myglobalmind Webzine
The Vikings of Amon Amarth were back in town and ready like their ancestors to kill and destroy.No axes and swords this time around as the weapons of choice on this outing were guitars drums and extreme vocals.
First up however are N.Ireland band Darkest Era..Severence is the bands second release and has not long been in the public domain. As such it is therefore more representative of the bands true identity and sound. Their debut “Last Caress of Light” on Metal Blade was like most bands debut; a case of the band seeking to find their musical feet in a studio environment. The songs on this release have been forged primarily by regular live work around the world on various major support tours and world festivals.
The bands sound is unique – sure there are clear influences like Thin Lizzy and Iron Maiden purely from the twin lead guitar work – but they have created their own style. Lyrically ancient mythology and legends close to the bands Irish roots appear to be an ongoing theme. The touring over the last few years has soldered a tightness which is apparent both on the studio and live versions of the songs. Complex time changes through out the tracks – not just a predictable song format for this band. Despite an early doors slot the band delivered a powerful set winning over a relatively large proportion of the audience. A slot as support to Amon Amarth with quite a partisan fan base is certainly no easy task. The fact that they successfully managed to win and conquer it is an accomplishment in itself. It is here that the bands strength lies in their ability and various musical talents to appeal to a wide and varied fan base.
They have served their apprenticeship through several EPs and the aforementioned debut release. In the current strong and extremely popular local scene their new album stands up well in comparison with the many releases of their peers. I feel that their recently announced headlining tour which includes dates both North and South of Ireland will only serve to accentuate the bands already rising star.
Onto the main band of the evening. With an elaborate stage set up which has the drums placed high atop a mountain set and runes of varying coloured lights on either side of stage-its not quite the fire, longboats and brimstone of their recent Bloodstock set. Over the bands lengthy twenty plus year legacy, I have not been too familiar with their large release catalog. Familiarizing myself only with their latest release” Deceiver of the gods” several weeks before the Belfast show as an introduction.Certainly the band have attained quite a ribald and hardcore/passionate following of die hards. Their lyrics of a former age and time certainly leaves them open to criticism. However in terms of entertainment they certainly seem to deliver and the worshiping multitudes seemed to lap up every note. They sang along passionately, made horns and drank beer-For me personally there was just something missing. Unfortunately I didn’t feel entertained,and the music itself seemed to be a touch one dimensional and predictable. I was however in the minority. Takes all sorts I guess,just because I didn’t succumb to the hymns of battle -I mean haven’t Manowar already carved that path in the eighties?? No doubt however regarding the technical abilities of the Amon musicians…Cant love it all I guess-that’s what makes us individuals…I did enjoy some of the finer technical and crafted melodies in some of the bands songs. Guess there is a glimmer of hope for me then-and I would never say never to venturing along to give Amon Amarth a second chance.