Review Summary: Amon Amarth comes up with an excellent album, without changing much. Sticking to their melodic self, this should make a really enjoyable listen...
Viking metal has always been associated with bands like Bathory, Enslaved, Ensiferum
. Another one of those bands is Amon Amarth
. Argubly the most well known viking themed metal band in this century. Viking metal is used to describe a band's lyrical content rather than on the music itself. Thus, viking metal bands may also technically be trash, black, death, folk or any metal in general.
Back to Amon Amarth
...this band has recieved attention based on their previous few albums, some of which being well recieved by metal fans world wide. Albums like the Fate of Norns
and Versus the world
to name a few. Amon Amarth
is more of a melodic death metal band, with the lyrics being viking themed, and their new release, With Oden On Our Side
being more than an enjoyable listen.
Amon Amarth is:
Fredrik Andersson - drums
Johan Hegg - vocals
Johan Söderberg - guitar
Olavi Mikkonen - guitar
Ted Lundström - bass
With Oden On Our Side
is straight out melodic stuff. The album starts off with Valhall awaits me
, which in itself is a pretty good opener. The vocals on this album are the death grunts that you get in death metal. Although not as extreme as a traditional death metal growl. Hegg
uses the grunt all throughout this album, and although sometimes it may become repetitive and boring after a few listens, im pretty sure his voice suits the music. There are basically no standouts from Hegg
as he does nearly the same thing for every song.
Most of the songs on this album has tremolo picked riffs (if im not wrong). Again, too much of it may not be really good, but it does give the songs that melodic edge that this band is known for. I dig it. But of course, Soderberg and Mikkonen
do come up with some non-tremolo but yet still outstanding riffs, like the one in Cry of the black birds
and With Oden on our side
...the title track. Like what you'd expect from a melodic death band, there are some solos here and there, but not on every song. There is a good solo in the opening track Valhall awaits me
and another on the less melodic but more brutal Asator
. The guitarists do not really shred on here, but they still solo well, concentrating more on melody and emotion. The guitar has a good tone to it, and they've done what they intended to well - that is to craft good melodic riffs. Every song is memorable in itself because of the ever-present melody.
The bass is generally not heard most of the time...(like well, duh?). Or it maybe due to my headphones, i dont really know. But anyway, Lundstrom
may not be the best bassist in the world. Heck, he may not even be one of the top 30, but he still contributes to the band. Plays well in co-operation with the drums and guitars. But then again, i would have loved to have him had more exposure and show off some of his skills. The drums, courtesy of Andersson
is good, if not excellent. Double bass drumming can be heard virtually on most of the songs, and there are some odd but awesome fills here and there. The fact that he is also consistent as well, just does more good to the album. Again, he may not be the most technically skilled of the drummers, but unlike Andersson
, he sometimes showcases his talent with some blast beats? and quick-fire like double bass.
The production on this album is crisp and clean. The guitars, drums and vocals can all be heard really clearly, and although the bass is sometimes drowned out, the production is still pretty kick-ass.
Overall, this album is a strong one. Comprising of the more melodic side of death metal and sometimes even, i dare say emotional, which you can find in songs like Runes to my memory
...which btw sounds really epic when it reaches that 1:40 mark and that awesome melodic, yet simple riff is played. Another "emotional" song on here would obviously be the slower paced song of the album, Under the northern star
and maybe even Cry of the black birds
Some recommended songs would be the title track, cry of the black birds, valhall awaits me and gods of war arise. but then again, you really need the whole thing.
Good melodic stuff!
riffs are melodic, sometimes emotional
drumming is up to standard
May get repetive after a few listens
Bass drowned out
Not much vocal variation
Overall...this gets a 4 from me. Excellent work done by the Amon Amarth guys. This should be in every melodic death, or just melodic metal in general's CD shelf.