Review Summary: Amon Amarth is a Melodic Death Viking themed band. With each release their skills are only more enhanced, their latest release With Oden On Our Side shows them going outside their own boundaries while also maintaining the essence which is Amon AmarWith Oden On Our Side
is Amon Amarth's sixth full-length release and by far is their finest work. The change in their music is quite significant, but you will not be disappointed with their efforts.
The album opens with the formidable Valhall Awaits Me
, now for all you Norse mythology uneducated people Valhall is where honourable warriors are sent after they die in battle. The song opens with paced slow heavy guitar chugs, synced with a drum beat. A few seconds go by then the double bass kicks in followed by a drum roll, then WHAM the heavy riff is going, very fast with a hint of melody. Johans vocals have improved since Fate Of Norns
and a good example of this is shown in the chorus, slightly melodic, but don't worry people he doesn't use clean vocals, the chorus ends nicely with "Valhall awaits me, when I die
. A very astonishing solo with the drums backing it up nicely, you can really feel the bass drums. Overall great opener for the album.
Runes To My Memory
comes next, this is one of the more emotional songs, and is also the first one they made a video for. This opens with a quickly paced riff and swiftly goes into the verse with Johans vocals starting straight away backed up by a consistent guitar line which sounds great. The chorus is where you really feel the emotion, very melodic along with the desperation in Johans voice. Now this song tells a story of a warrior who has fallen in battle and wants him to remain in everyone’s memory thus comes the ending lines, which are also in the chorus "When I am dead, Lay me in a mound, Raise a stone for all to see, Runes carved to my memory
". No solo is featured in this song, but this is still very amazing and one of my personal favourites.
The next track, Asator
is pure death metal. As soon as the song begins it’s just a completely insane guitar riff backed up by intense drumming. Johan's vocals ensue which are also fast paced. Now it gets to the chorus quite quickly and damn does it sound awesome. You can feel the angst as "FIRE!
" is screamed at the top of his lungs. My compliments go to Frederik whose drumming skill constantly amazes me throughout this song. Eventually this song gets to a break-down point where things are slowed down, giving you mercy from the intensity. None the less at this point of the song it sounds immensely head bang worthy. Just when you think the song is over WHAM! the insanely fast solo kicks in and trust me, for Amon Amarth it is fast! Well I have no idea what an Asator is, I looked it up everywhere and had no luck, but from what I have gathered from the lyrics I think this song represents Ragnarök which is basically the Norse mythological apocalypse. If you love insane death metal, you'll love this song.
A very interesting, epic song is next, Hermod's Ride To Hel - Lokes Treachery Part 1
. The thing that makes this song so interesting is that it is sung from a persons experiences on his journey, Hermod's to be exact. Now not to get too deep into detail about what this story is, but basically Hermod, son of Oden, is given a mission to go to Hel (Norse Underworld) to retrieve his brother Baldr who was sent there after his death. The song begins with a singular clean guitar doing nice harmonic repeat, after this is done once, the second guitar comes in doing a simple heavy chug, along with the drum and bass. After this is repeated a few times, finally; the epic assortment of all this instruments in harmony is played, and I have to tell you, its completely amazing, one to be remembered. The simple yet intriguing verse starts, along with the tale of the Hermod and Hel. The way Johan takes the role of Hermod lyrically is very well wrote and executed. The thing that I found to be the most great is the part of the song where words are spoken between Hermod and Hel (Hel is also coincidently the name of the Ruler of Hel). The way it is pitched within the song is Hermod pleading for his brother's release in song, and Hel replies (Johan with voice effects, sounds very cool) in agreement and Baldr is set free. Overall this song is epic, amazing, MEGA! to put it simply, very enjoyable and memorable.
We get to the halfway point of the album, which is the track Gods Of War Arise
. The song begins like a normal Amon Amarth one would, a slow guitar fling with a banging drum, then things are sped up forming into a nice sounding riff. I would class the music in this song as repetitive, but that’s not a bad thing, pay attention to the lyrics and it makes the experience a whole lot more worth while. This song tells the story of a small army of Viking soldiers attacking a village, more in depth to the lyrics you soon come to realise it symbolises the relentlessness of Vikings. This song doesn't have a chorus, but at about halfway through it takes a complete change and has some homage to [i]Victorious March[i] with the guitar in this part having similarities to the intro of it. This simple riff is soon backed up by another chugging guitar. The solo is total Amon Amarth, and you know they do it well. Overall good track, nothing too special though.
Next comes the title track [b]With Oden On Our Side[b]. This is the most inspiring song on the album. The introduction is completely awesome, with the mixture of melody and chugging riffs, it just sounds completely amazing. This song tells the story of men outnumbered in battle, but still they stand their ground and fight on, strongly enforcing the message "Never give up", I don't know how they do it, but the music just goes perfectly with the story. You will be head banging throughout this whole song, and you will feel everything that Amon Amarth intend you to, this song will make you feel good.
Now we have my personal overall favourite track Cry Of The Black Birds
. From the introduction of this song you do not expect it to take the direction that it does, so very slow and weak, until it just explodes with Johan yelling "ATTACK!
". Amazing drumming, guitar, hell every instrument is going at full capacity. Then we get to probably the most epic portion of the entire album, the extremely powerful chorus, you will be hooked immediately once you hear it, The guitars are doing insane speeds on single strings, the drums have immense intensity and along Johan's powerful vocals it just makes it all that much better. This song simply tells the story of men charging into battle with no fear. Completely amazing track! and my number one favourite on the album.
We get to the slow track of the album now, Under The Northern Star
. Yes oh yes we have a slow track on this album, and as you all should know, Amon Amarth do it very well, with tracks like Avenger
or Across The Rainbow Bridge
. The song opens with a single string strum which slowly progresses until it gets to the main riff, and it sounds very cool indeed. Something you will notice in the song is Johan's vocals, they're much slower and growlier. The tale told in this melodic piece is that of a Man and his men, and their long painful journey home. The solo is definitely the standout on the album, Johan and Olavi both play it at the same time, but the sound of one is differently pitched, sounds quite beautiful so to speak.
The final track for this phenomenal album, Prediction Of Warfare
. The intro is somewhat similar to that of Hermod's Ride To Hel - Lokes Treachery Part 1
, with the addition of a drum beat. The intro does not progress, it just goes straight into the verse after it is repeated a few times. There's nothing too special about the verse, but still the story that is told is interesting as always, It a tale of a man who has boarded a boat along with his fellow soldiers who are on their way to battle, the night before the battle he sleeps and dreams of the things to come. This track also clocks in as the longest on the album at 6:36.
Valhall Awaits Me - 4.5/5
Runes To My Memory - 5/5
Asator - 5/5
Hermod's Ride To Hel - Lokes Treachery Part 1 - 5/5
Gods Of War Arise - 4/5
With Oden On Our Side - 5/5
Cry Of The Black Birds - 5/5
Under The Northern Star - 4.5/5
Prediction Of Warfare - 4/5
In conclusion this is by far Amon Amarth's best release, and I’m sure that in the future they will only produce better and better albums.