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I don't know why, but sometimes, I have bad feelings about songs or albums, even before having listened to it. I saw the cover art, and I didn't like it. I saw the song titles, and I didn't have a good feeling about those either. I really don't know why, but anyway, I'm being very negative towards this album (for a self-proclaimed AA-fanboy, that is), while I haven't said a word about how the album actually is.
So, the album kicks off with An Ancient Sign of Coming Storm. The riffs are pretty solid, and the drumming is pretty heavy and stuff but still the song is kinda mid paced. That's o.k., its still pretty sweet, but there's something missing. I don't know, it doesn't sound familiar, while it's definitely recognisable as Amon Amarth stuff. This is something which is bugging me throughout the entire album; the sound is just way different. I'm not sure, but I think I've read somewhere that they've moved to another studio. Anyway, I'm not a big fan of the sound, but, back to An Ancient Sign of Coming Storm: this song does kick ass. I gave it a couple more chances and I've already started to like it more. Moreover, the breakdown-thingy at 3:30 is actually really really cool.
I know that this site isn't very fond of song-by-song reviews, but personally, I find them very useful, and I guess I'll just implement it anyway.
Where Death Seems To Dwell, is slightly comparable to Where Silent Gods Stand Guard, only it doesn't kick as much ass, not by a long shot. It's a bit more dramatic (like the entire album, actually. It gets you depressed, really), but it feels...bland...like its missing a magic AA ingredient. It doesn't have that viking feeling to it, they don't succeed in imagery through lyrics and music as good as they do in the older albums. I guess that pretty much sums up what I don't like about this album.
It doesn't make you (me, anyway) feel like a viking. Like I'm actually at the place which the song is about. Anyway back to the songs. Next in line is Fate of Norns, the title track, and the intro kicks-ass. Too bad the chorus doesn't. Its all just too dramatic. It doesn't fit the intro, which (in my ears) suggests a song about those annoying christians (or something similar), but then it breaks down to a lame-kinda riff in the chorus. Sadly. The songs topic is the same as Ride For Vengeance, but in Ride For Vengeance he kicks the murderers asses; in Fate of Norns he moarns and cries about the Norns' sad fate. Which isn't nearly as interesting as Ride For Vengeance.
Pursuit of Vikings also doesn't really feel "complete". Just like the rest of the songs, it doesn't feel good. I don't know how to explain it, but anyway, the moment where he shouts "ODIN, GUIDE OUR SHIPS" does kick major ass though.
The Valkyries Ride starts out...odd. Then it slows down, but the double-bass sounds generic and lame, and the entire song doesn't kick as much ass as they intended it to.
It's a shame, but I don't even feel like reviewing the rest of the songs individually. The drumming part before Beheading of a King is kinda cool, and overall, all of the songs are pretty much O.K., but none of them are really...great!
Except for the last one. Once sealed in blood has really really cool verses. The main riff is cool, the chorus is ok; this is how all songs on this album should be. And oh, the song is about revenge and getting some guys back for burning his friends alive (as described in Arson), and "He will learn the meaning of pain", stuff like this just kicks plain ass.
The album is good, but nothing special, which is too bad. I'd recommend older stuff from AA; the older the album, the better.
"One man down 29 to go
Consider yourselves warned
I'm coming for the rest of you
And will have no remorse"