Review Summary: When Ragnarok does eventually hit us one day, Amon Amarth will be there to provide the soundtrack to the destruction of our world.
Amon Amarth is a band that really does not need a long introduction. For close to twenty years these long haired Swedes have been pulverizing metalheads worldwide with their brand of melodic death metal. It wasn’t until 1998 that they finally caught a break and released their first full length album Once Sent From The Golden Hall
. The blend of brutality to go with the catchiness factor made it one of my favorite metal albums ever released. Six albums and twelve years later, Amon Amarth’s style had pretty much stayed the same. How would their much anticipated Surtur Rising
be compared to the rest of the discography?
opens up with one of the best songs of the year in “War of the Gods.” Dealing with the Æsir-Vanir War of Norse Mythology, this fist pumping and synchronized headbanging of a tune continues the style of music Amon Amarth has presented to fans since the band’s inception. The ever brilliant vocals of Johan Hegg team up with the guitars and drums to present a grand picture of the lyrics being said. Overall this is a stereotypically strong opening song by the group. Hegg and the rest of his cohorts decide to continue this not just in “War of the Gods,” but throughout the remaining forty-five minutes of the album.
One problem that I have had with Amon Amarth in the past is the methodically slow paced songs present. For me, their best is when they go balls to the wall: relentless double bass, melodic as hell guitars, and emotional growls to the point that Johan sounds like he is dying. Luckily Surtur Rising
is almost completely void of my gripes. Songs like “A Beast Am I” “Wrath of the Norseman” and “Loki’s Treachery Pt. II” have slowed down parts, but they are able to pick themselves up; the first song being the only one on the album that I consider completely boring. “Slaves of Fear” and “The Last Stand of Frej” could actually be considered the songs that I always grip about, but they just work; everything from lyrics to vocals fit the pacing of the song perfectly.
As for the rest of Surtur Rising
….well it’s brilliant. The middle portion of the album: “Destroyer of the Universe” to “For Victory or Death” is the strongest on an album in some time. Closer “Doom Over Dead Man” is Amon Amarth’s definition of changing styles as orchestral passages are present and the pacing of the song is a bit odd, but that guitar riff around the minute mark along with the pre-solo passage is just amazing.
Aside from “A Beast Am I” and a few other parts of songs, Surtur Rising
proves itself to be one of Amon Amarth’s best. The version I have came with a cover of System of a Down’s “Aerials” and the band shows they can take a legendary nu-metal song and make it into a legendary melodic death metal one. Amon Amarth has kept its formula for the past fifteen years and has stayed eerily consistent. Someone going into any album from the band should expect emotional growls, melodic riffs, and solid drumming. This album is no different aside from the fact that it wants to rip your limbs off and then precede to kill you with them. Here the band has brought the most memorable moments and most brutal album since their debut.