Review Summary: The third album by Amon Amarth, and their last to feature their orginal thrashier, faster elemnts.
Amon Amarth are a viking death metal band from where else? Sweden. Much like many power metal bands, their lyrics tend to be very cheesy and fantasy-ish, a little strange for a death metal band. However, they replace knights in shining armor with...you guessed it...kickass vikings! One look at the album cover of their third album, The Crusher
displays cheesiness at it’s highest. The artwork displays a viking with a long mustache rearing back to pummel what looks like a gravestone to pieces, while surrounded by hoards of flames. This may b a little off putting at first, but look past the album artwork. The lyrics on this album actually aren’t as cheesy as some later albums (but still undeniably are.) Here we have a very brutal, yet melodic piece of speed/death metal at it’s finest.
This is Amon Amarth’s third and last album to feature a thrashier, faster sound, as their later albums took on a slower, heavier sound. This album is very similar to it’s predecessor, The Avenger
in sound, lyrics, and hell, even the artwork is very similar. In fact, Amon Amarth isn’t really all that original as a band. I haven’t heard their debut, but Avenger and This album could be a double album, and their three newest albums have very little differences between them. Once again though, i don’t find this to be too huge as the music is still very good. The guitar work is fast and aggressive, as is the drumming. John Hegg also proves to be a very good death metal vocalist, and though his stylings only vary from high pitched screeches to low death grunts, i’d have to say that he’s one of my favorite vocalists in the genre. The bass ins virtually inaudible, and is drowned out by the guitars, but close listening will reveal it.
I also find that this album seems to often be considered as the band’s weakest album, or at least among them, but i find that not true at all. I own all four albums by Amon Amarth from this album on, and i have four of the seven songs off avenger. Out of those five albums, i’d have to say that this album is my second favorite from Amon Amarth, behind the spectacular Versus the World
, which is the band’s fourth album. Also, this album isn’t an album to fall in love with immediately, I found it quite bland till my fourth or fifth listen, so keep listening to it, you will most likely enjoy it eventually. Here’s an analysis on the nine tracks:
Bastards of a Lying Breed
: This song’s lyrics are very different from most of the band’s lyrics. It actually is about all the problems the U.S. has been going through, and it actually curses quite a few times unlike the rest of the album (probably the only reason that this album is labeled “explicit”) To the music, it starts with fantastic start stop riffing and crashes from the crash cymbal. After about 20 seconds, some incredibly fast double peddling comes in with fast guitars to accompany it, and Johan Hegg belts out a powerful scream. This may be the most aggressive song on the album, and definitely showcases what the rest of the album will be like. The verses are very fast and aggressive as would be expected of an album opener. About four minutes into the song, the intro repeats again, only instead of resuming to the intensity, some slower riffage is played till the end of the song. This song doesn’t change too much, but it really doesn’t need to. A definite highlight. 9.5/10
Masters of War
: The aggression doesn’t stop after the first track, and a pummeling riff emits from the speakers, the start of the second track on the album. This song isn’t as fast or aggressive as the previous, but it has a heavier overall sound to it. There isn’t much else to say about this song except that at about 3:45, a solo comes in for about 30 seconds. The song ends with a ferocious scream of the name of the song. One of the weaker tracks on the album i’d have to say, but none the less very good. 8.5/10
The Sound of Eight Hooves
: This song has an extremely kickass intro. The listener is immediately hit head on by all instruments in an aggressive assault. Extremely fast drumming and awesome guitars. The verse maintains the same riff and Hegg switches between death grunts and higher pitched screams. A cool instrumental bridge starts at 2:47 lasting to 3:16, where the song seems to get even more aggressive. The intro/verse riff is played in a different, higher key and the crash cymbals are being smashed upon. At around four minutes into the song, it slows down a bit and becomes more melodic, this is most likely where the main character in the song is being hung. (there is a concept to this song, but i won’t explain it as the other review of the album does) A very good track, my fifth favorite on he album. 9/10
Risen From the Sea
: This is a rerecorded version of one of the songs off Amon Amarth’s first demo, which was actually unreleased till Versus the World came out. This song is very fast, and features lots of more melodic guitar playing than most of the others. The riffing in this song is very tasty, but there’s nothing else about this song that stands out. A good song, but i’d have to say it’s the weakest on the album. 7/10
As Long as the Raven Flies
: The slowest and maybe most melodic song on the album. Much like the last song, the riffs on this song are just....kickass. Very melodic with some nice drumming to boot. There aren’t many vocals in this song, most of the song is built around the riffing. The last minute of the song is the same riff being repeated. This is the shortest song on the album at 4:04 also. Another one of the weaker tracks imo, but still very likable. 7.5/10
A Fury Divine
: This song is simply put, amazing. The intro is similar to that of the album opener, and the two tracks are actually pretty similar. All fast, all aggression, and the two are actually the longest songs on the album (bastards being 5:33 and this being the longest song on the album at 6:35) At 1:59, a very aggressive, yet still melodic bridge is played, followed by a short drum fill, propelling us back into the fury (pardon the pun) of the song.
At 3:25, a solo erupts, and damn...what an amazing solo. The two guitarist of Amon Amarth don’t solo much, but this song proves that they should more. From 3:25 to 4:07 melody meets power for an incredible outcome. The main solo is pretty majestic actually, but it’s being played over a very aggressive and speedy riff. The rest of the song is like the beginning fast, aggressive, and spectacular. The best song on the album. 10/10
Annihilation of Hammerfest
: For some reason I really love the name of this song, but that’s beside the point. This is probably the second slowest song on the album, and the first of three in a small concept of the album. (once again explained in the other review) This is perhaps the most epic song on the album. The opening riff is a very slow build up, and would be a perfect set up for the song to explode into pure aggression. But instead of that, the tempo remains the same and a very nice melodic riff is played over relatively slow double bass pedaling. The vocals join in. At 1:19, another cool mid paced bridge is played for about 15 seconds. The riff remains and Hegg screams in his higher voice again, before returning to the original verse. The opening riff resumes and is joined once again by Hegg’s deep growls. From then on, the song basically repeats what it did before. However at #;40, a very melodic solo comes in. Not quite as good as the previous track, but still damn awesome. This lasts for about thirty seconds before the main riff ensures yet again and the song ends. This is one of my personal favorites on the album. 9.25/10
The Fall Through Ginnungagap
: Starts relatively slow, but still faster than the last track. The verse starts about a minute into the song with the same riff. At about two minutes into the song, it slows down and becomes incredibly dark, and then some mob chanting is heard before what seems to be the chorus of the song. This song is actually quite catchy in some points, and wow, another solo at 2:55, though not as great as the previous two tracks. The verse comes back at 3:22, followed by the chanting/chorus section. The song ends a little more furious and aggressive than it started. This song may take a bit to grow on you, but I really enjoy this song now. 9/10
Releasing Surtur’s Fire
: Starts very fast and aggressive, this is a very, very speedy song throughout, a great song to headbang to. Verse starts at 10 seconds, with Hegg’s higher pitched screaming. An awesomely powerful riff comes in at 0:53 and becomes the riff to the next verse, before a breakneck bridge at 1:22, which is joined by Hegg at 1:41. he first riff o the song returns at 2:03, and is then played at 2:20 with only one note held down for each stoke. Holy crap, at @;43, another guitar solo emerges, and this one may be even better than the one on A Fury Divine
. This one is extremely speedy, like the song, ***ing awesome. At 3:23, the opening riff comes in before the next verse. The song slows down at 4:05, and that same riffs is repeated for the rest of the song until it fades out. A brilliant song, nearly as good as A Fury Divine
Thus ends the masterful album The Crusher
. Songs like A Fury Divine
and Releasing Surtur’s Fire
are classic Amon Amarth that can’t be missed. I’d suggest this album to be for Amon Amarth listeners to want to experience their older stylings of speed/death metal. Do not overlook this album, it will grow on you with time.
Final rating: 4.5/5