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“Twilight Of The Thunder God” by Amon Amarth

Artist: Amon Amarth
Title: “Twilight Of The Thunder God”
Label: Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 9/30/2008
Genre: Death Metal
Rating: 4/5

Stand yourself at the ready with attentive eye and sharpened sword for it is time to once again do battle at the side of the Vikings of Death Metal Amon Amarth as they pummel the senses with their latest epic “Twilight Of The Thunder God”. As an album this stands proud and strong as the perfect follower to their previous effort “With Odin On Our Side” and in some cases delivers a bit of a musical upgrade as it finds the band raising their own personal bar in terms of their delivery. “TOTTG” resonates with Metal power as soon as it begins and there is such a driving force behind the albums title track that the listener feels as though he is riding into the fray at the side of Johan Hegg – the bands giant of a front man. To me that is an effective beginning because it draws you in immediately as opposed to waiting for any of the action and intensity to build up. Those who have enjoyed Amon Amarth in the past already know this but those who are new might not realize that while Viking in theme and generally spirit, that their music is still a more conventional Melodic Death Metal that calls to mind some aspects of Thrash as opposed to being anything Folkish which we find more commonly in bands like Ensiferum or Turisas. Despite this, the bands energies on the new album focus on the mythology of Thor, the Norse God of Thunder and many of the songs sing about his majesty and adventures. The guitars of Johan Soderberg and Olavi Mikkonen really shine brightly here as they trade leads and truly crushing riffs in order to drive the bands point home with much more resolve. While the album maintains certain heaviness from beginning to end they wisely don’t make every single tune a Thrash Fest which allows them each to remain interesting individually and not bleed into one another by keeping the same tempo and vibe. Too often do the Death Metal bands have tracks that go from one to the next and often find the listener wondering if a new song had begun. I had to offer up some levels of praise for the bands rhythm section as well for bassist Ted Lundstrom helped to keep it steady while the drumming of Nico Mehra at times made you feel how he was keeping up such a pace. There are points where it seems as though he is running in place as the double kicks roll at break neck speeds. As a fan of drumming in the first place I was very satisfied with the stuff happening here.
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“With Oden On Our Side” by Amon Amarth

Artist: Amon Amarth
Title: “With Oden On Our Side”
Label: Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 10/30/2006
Genre: Death Metal/Viking Metal
Rating: 4/5

We last faced the Wrath of the Norsemen as they defended the Fate Of Norns in the name of Metal with hammers and horns raised high above their enemy’s heads. The crushing blows received by both the CD and DVD bearing those names would not cease and together help bring us to the victory charge that is felt on every track of “With Oden On Our Side”. The album is a pummeling effort to say the least and starts off with a charged up track entitled “Valhall Awaits Me” – it’s a song that makes you feel as though you are riding into glorious battle with the band armed with whatever they feel is necessary to ensure their dominance over their foes. Perhaps there are no real musical surprises on this album as some have said, but that does not mean the group has veered far from the course they travel with certain levels of command. This is probably the most “accessible” of the Amon Amarth records released for while a true Death Metal band, they show levels of respect for the earlier founders of Metal from the eighties on the recording. You hear this especially in the riffing done during “Hermod’s Ride To Hel” while songs like “Gods Of War Arise”’ have sections that just instantly make your fist form and rise to the sky above. In typical Amon Amarth fashion the lyrical content is quite the same as they had delivered in the past and every song is loaded with epic battle tales, and this makes for some interesting following along with the lyrics in the booklet they provide. They do take this very seriously as they cite during “Runes To My Memory” which singer Johan Clegg tells the world how he wants his death to be treated. Clegg himself is an imposing individual and definitely is to be taken at his word.
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