There are few things in life that are certain – two positively charged electrons will always repel each other, Lemmy will never die, and AMON AMARTH will always deliver the goods. The level of consistency of these Swedes is downright scary! Of course some will say that this band is stuck in a loop where they keep on repeating themselves album after album, but I say bring it on! These guys have a perfect formula, so repeating that is not a sin in my book.
After the rather underwhelming yet solid affair that was “Fate Of Norns”, AA are back to their very best on this album. This time around the music is a bit faster-paced, but the emotional undertones that came to the fore on the last two albums aren’t sacrificed at all. All of these songs just ooze of power, grit, emotion and energy – essential elements of this band’s sound. “Valhall Awaits Me” is a straightforward opener featuring some choppy riffing at the beginning before settling into a fine mid-paced groove replete with excellent melodic solo. “Runes To My Memory” slows proceedings down a bit with its majestic doomy atmosphere, powerful vocals and very introspective chorus. A track that surely could’ve stood on “Versus The World”. The next song, “Asator”, is a heavy number in the best Death Metal tradition – lots of speed, US style riffing and a very chaotic solo near the end. Fans of the forts album’s aggression will go apeshit to this song! From here the epic songs start to take over, and they are the album’s real winners. I especially like “Hermod’s Ride To Hell” with its sweeping melodies and dark but still epic atmosphere. “Gods Of War Arise” has a riff that is very similar to “Death In Fire”, and not surprisingly it is very good! I’m not going to discuss all, the other tracks as they are all killer and some of the very best this band have penned. Stylistically this album is a perfect marriage between “The Avenger” and “Versus The World”.
So, if you like the music that these gruff Norsmen churn out then you will be floored by “With Oden On Our Side”! It is a majestic album that is as rich in melody as it is heaviness. Johan Hegg is still one of the best vocalists in his field, and I especially like the fact that he utilizes a lot more of those Black Metal-ish screams of the olden days on this album. The guitar duo of Söderberg and Mikkonen still slay, and, thankfully, they solo a lot more on this album. Bass and drums are still excellent although I feel they took a bit of a backseat on this album – to let the guitars and vocals breathe more. The production is crunchy and clear. Overall there is nothing to fault this effort on. It is, quite simply, a superb album from one of the best Metal bands of our time.
As long as they have Oden on their side I will have them in my player!
(Online December 2, 2006)