Review Summary: Tits N' Mead m/(>_
To wipe your mind free of pretense or subjectivity before delving into a piece of music is a talent that I value highly in myself. I find that by removing the opinions of others from the equation and just listening to the music at hand gives you a very different, more intimate perspective. “What does this have to do with Amon Amarth though?” you might ask. Well, you see, by shutting out every little pretentious naysayer who equivocates the band to nothing more than predictable “insert-metal-genre-tag-here,” I’ve managed to uncover the unarguable truth.
Amon Amarth is really ***ing good, and not just in a fun, novelty sort of way, though that certainly is a factor to their appeal, but as musicians, their skill and passion is inarguable. Seriously, listen to With Oden On Our Side objectively and tell me that it isn’t brimming with focus and energy. It might not be the most groundbreaking or unpredictable metal album out there, but only someone with a huge stick up their ass would fault them for that. Instead, really pay attention to the inner workings of some of the songs, like Runes to My Memory; you have to be deaf not to notice the interplay between the rhythm and lead melodies and the hyper-intense drum fills of the chorus before it settles back into that banging gallop. If you were completely ignorant to Amon Amarth, their image, their place in metal, and basically their complete existence, and you were made to listen to Under the Northern Star, you wouldn’t possibly say those Agalloch-esque leads weren’t at least somewhat beautiful, or that the drum performance on the title track wasn’t impressive. Those grinding rhythms in Asator? How ‘bout that solo? The chug-chug-squeal riff Hermod’s Ride to Hel-Loke’s Treachery? Those sexy ass melodies in Cry of the Blackbirds? I could name a stand-out moment in every song on here. If that isn’t a sign of good songwriting, I don’t know what is.
If that wasn’t enough, practically every track is chock-full of some of the catchiest riffs in metal, brimming with energy, and driven by a focus that few bands make claim to. There isn’t any huge variation to the songwriting, but you probably won’t care, and if you do, it’s because you’re looking for something to criticize. The only legitimate complaint I could really raise is the bass’ very minimal importance. It’s not totally distinctive, but it is noticeable, and it basically just follows the (excellent) guitar work.
No, I’m not calling the Scandinavian lads with beards genius songwriters or this album a crowning achievement, but I am calling it one of the most consistently awesome records in a consistently awesome discography from a consistently awesome band who gets too much critical *** from people just looking to complain. Seriously, shut up and listen. Maybe you’ll learn a lesson in raping and pillaging. You guys probably won’t shut up though, which is your loss. When Surtur Rising drops I know what I’ll be listening to, and what you’ll be missing out on.