My friends and allies, it is about time to put on the helmets and unwrap the swords and shields for the winds are in favour of our dragonships cutting through the icy sea and embark on a new journey. And we shall return victorious – with Oden on our side…
For the sixth time the war horns sound and fear is painted into the eyes of the enemies upon setting eye on the gruff, bearded men coming their way. AMON AMARTH are back and "With Oden On Our Side" is the title of their new fare against Christendom and into Nordic mythology. After their previous effort "Fate Of Norns" had not been received favourably everywhere (I still like it a lot), I had been very keen on finding out what one of my absolute favourite bands sounds like in the year 2006. With a new studio (Fascination Street Studios) and new producer (Jens Bogren) our fave Vikings once more try to take the Metal world by storm and I can only say that they manage to do so!
Who had feared that the Swedes would stay in mid-paced waters will be proven wrong with the mighty thunderclap of an opener "Valhall Awaits Me", for this song stands very high up in the list of the already well-filled history of AMON AMARTH! Driving, with very strong riffing, Hegg’s usual powerful bellow, tremendous power and great melodies, everything fits on this one!
Fast "Asator" then has a pretty big influence by traditional Swedish Death Metal, especially in the riffing, so it is a good bit more aggressive and Hegg’s vocals, too, take on a darker hue, before "Hermod's Ride To Hel (Lokes Treachery Part 1)" is a prime example for an AMON AMARTH hymn, slow and very melodic, with the typically majestic lead guitars. "Cry Of The Black Birds", too, is pretty fast, with strong riffing, but also a few slower passages, while "Under The Northern Star" is the undoubtedly most melodic song AMON AMARTH have ever done, unusually, hm, “light” in its melody, yet still with this epic feeling, which together with Hegg’s gruff voice guarantees that it does not turn sweet and in the middle the whole thing gets heavier, too, so no worries that the Swedes have softened up.
Basically we get all trademarks of the AMON AMARTH sound, the majestic, but still heavy riffs and leads of Olavi Mikkonen and Johan Söderberg, the powerful drumming of Fredrik Andersson together with Ted Lundström’s pumping bass and, of course, Johan Hegg’s roar, everything packed into altogether faster compositions again, which still do not drift off into one-dimensionality and should satisfy every AMON AMARTH fan!
Up the horns! (Online August 29, 2006)