Review Summary: Do I think this album is awful ? No, it just lacks a lot of the emotion and intensity that the band is known for. Do I think this album is amazing? No, there are only a few standout tracks and nothing that seems to push the folk/Viking metal genre forward
Amon Amarth, a band that has always seemed incapable of releasing a mediocre album since their creation is about to take their next big step, to see if they can stand tall in the midst of finally realizing commercial success in the United States. “With Odin on Our Side” showed that they have the ability to keep their brutal and unique take on folk metal and create something that metal fans across the world could enjoy. Now that they have all that success in their grasp what do they do ?
Do they continue down their balls out path and try to satisfy fans both old and new ?
Or do they become what so many true metal fans loath and destroy everything that they have created in favor of more commercial fame and perhaps finally a mediocre record ?
Thankfully, for most fans, they do keep a lot of their original sound but all the fame has had a noticeable effect on their songwriting.
I couldn’t help but wonder while listening to songs like Guardians of Asgard, where’s the emotion ?
Where is the brutality and the epic scope that the song title should represent ?
Instead we get an obvious filler track with a boring, repetitive song structure and probably some of the worst lyrics that the band has ever written. This song sounds like something an average melodic death band would come up with rather than the band known for such classics as Versus The World and Death in Fire.
It’s nice to hear that there are at least a few standout tracks on this album. The title track "Twilight of the Thunder God", which is ironically the first track on the album, get’s your hopes up and makes you pray that the great riffs and the awesome solo, courtesy of Roope Latvala from Children of Bodom, live on in some form on the rest of the album. It starts with a single guitar riff and the bursts into an assault on all of your senses and builds that epic momentum that the band is known for hopefully making for an awesome music video in the future. You get everything that makes Amon Amarth special in this song, drums, riffs, lyrics, song structure, and the epic atmosphere.
It makes me wonder why the rest of the album couldn’t follow in its footsteps so easily.
The other standout tracks on the album, in my opinion, are "The Hero", "Live for The Kill" and "Embrace the Endless Ocean".
All of which are trademark Amon Amarth minus a few points for lyrics on "The Hero". None of them though, ever build back up to the momentum that TOTTG created, which is very depressing seeing as Thor is one of the more well known Norse gods and it would have been nice to hear a full album that could have stood as a monument to his folk tales. Most of the other songs are pretty average for the band and kind of represent everything that they have become up to this point. In fact, you could almost call this a kind of Sequel to "With Odin on Our Side" because of how much their sound tends to stick with the mold on that album. A lot of them are not bad songs and are easily enjoyable, they just aren’t anything new. The bad songs on the album do stick out like an Axe in your skull to those who are frequent death metal listeners. You could probably spot them by their song titles alone.
The one big problem that I think this album has all together is its tempo. The beat seems to stick around mid to slow and, most of the time, stays there on all of the songs. This can make listening to the album the entire way through a chore for some since everything will start to blend together to those who don’t tend to notice those little differences in tone and structure. How is a band supposed to be brutal with all of these taps to the cheek? When I think brutal, I want my head continually battered, my teeth and blood scattered across the floor. The song structure for a lot of the songs is usually the same : slow drums with first verse with slow guitar, fast drums and fast riffing during the chorus, then back again... That accounts for approximately 70 percent of the songs on the CD. So, if you are a real metal fan, this is a good CD to mellow out and relax with, but it’s nothing that’s going to keep your blood boiling and fist pumping like brutal music should !
Do I think this album is awful ? No, it just lacks a lot of the emotion and intensity that the band is known for. Do I think this album is amazing? No, there are only a few standout tracks and nothing that seems to push the folk/Viking metal genre forward. The redundant song structure and overall lack of innovation are what really keep it from rising to the Halls of Valhalla. The album is really a mixed bag filled with equal parts bad and good. The band is struggling with what I call Post-Fame syndrome, trying to find some sure footing with all of their new fans while also trying to keep all of their old fans happy as well. They have found some here and hopefully with the next release they can release something truly amazing.