Review Summary: Status-quo for Amon Amarth, but is that really a bad thing?
For the past 20 years Amon Amarth has pummeled us with their signature brand of Viking inspired melodic death metal. Formed under the name scum in 1988, Amon Amarth has since then released 7 studio albums and has become a staple in the extreme metal world. Their debut album, Once Sent from the Golden Hall started a legacy that has continued for years and will continue for years to come. However, there is a piece missing. A certain album not given the recognition it deserves. This album is The Avenger.
Amon Amarth is:
Johan Hegg – Vocals
Johan Soderburg – Guitar
Olavi Mikkonen – Guitar
Ted Lundstrom – Bass
Fredrick Andersson – Drums
Typically, Amon Amarth albums follow a specific formula. This includes simple, catchy, and melodic riffs, harsh growled vocals and screams, and fast, furious drums with simple bass along with their signature Viking metal edge. The Avenger is no exception, featuring all the reasons why Amon Amarth is so loved in the first place.
To begin with, Johan Hegg is an amazing vocalist. His growls are among the finest in metal today. His tone matches perfectly with the music and he has quite a range. Going from incredibly low growling to high pitch screaming, this man has it all. He is easily among the finest in death metal and worthy of recognition. Plus the guy is freaking huge I’ll give him that.
Riff wise Amon Amarth has two guitarists. One provides the catchy lead guitar roles while the other blasts away with a heavy undertone, giving a layer of brutality. To put it quite simply, Amon Amarth’s guitar work is simple, catchy, and works perfectly for what they are going for. There is nothing mind bogglingly technical. There really are no insane shred battles. However, they do change it up a lot, keeping their music from getting boring.
You can not deny Amon Amarth's knack for writing incredibly catchy, melodic songs. The song North Sea Storm is a prime example of that. Full of melody, brutality, and and oozing with viking love, it is easily the best song on the album. Avenger is a 7 minute long epic that has a huge amount of atmosphere, even though it eventually gets boring.
Atmospherically, this is no different from any other Amon Amarth album. When you close your eyes it is easy to imagine yourself in the middle of a viking battlefield. Corpses strewn across the field and the sound of blades colliding ringing in your ears. Uplifting melodies and unrelenting brutality combine together to make you feel as though vikings were raiding your neighborhood and are just outside your backyard.
Unfortunately, this album has its share of flaws. For one, it only has 7 songs. Not all of them are good as well. Its short and not as consistent as With Oden On Our Side. Do not let that deter you though because there are some great songs to dig your teeth into.
Amon Amarth’s sophomore album is by no means a slouch. It contains the definitive elements that make Amon Amarth a staple in the metal world, but it is no different from anything else they have done. This is not a bad thing though, as The Avenger has some great songs. Catchy, surprising melodies, blasting drums, and an amazing vocalist all make this a worthwhile listen. It is by no means as good as their later work such as Versus the World or With Oden on Our Side, but it is still a great album. If you are trying to get into Amon Amarth, look elsewhere. However, die hard fans will enjoy this to the fullest extent. Its an Amon Amarth album. No more, no less. There is not much more to say that has not already been said.
The Last with Pagan Blood
North Sea Storm
Legend of a Banished Man