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Excellent...But They've Done Better - 90%

ict1523, August 20th, 2006

I heard a lot of good things about this band and being a fan of viking and melodic death metal I decided to check them out. I am glad I did. I liked the album, which is the first I've listened to them, but I was a tad disappointed because even though I liked it a lot, I was expecting more based on how everyone praised this band. I listened to some more songs then from earlier albums, and it is true that while the style didn't change much over the course of the past few albums, this album does indeed sound weaker than what they have done in the past.

There are a lot of factors that make Amon Amarth as great as they are. One is great riffs, which they definitely do have. They also have some very memorable melodies which give the songs more atmosphere. The drumming is also very good, and it sounds right in the mix, giving the song a more full feeling. The vocals here are very good. The vocalist has a very strong, deep, and wet growl, meaning it sounds as if he has a lot of saliva in his throat. Another great thing about Amon Amarth has always been the lyrics. They are always a Viking theme, and usually tell some kind of tale. Amon Amarth's albums are usually the ones you listen to with the booklet in your hand to get the true emotion and feeling of the song. On this album however, while the lyrics are still very good, they don't seem to be as strong as on previous albums. Another good thing on this album is it seems Amon Amarth sacrificed the speed, but instead made the songs a bit heavier and more melodic which does add more atmosphere to the album which in my opinion is a good thing.

There are a lot of highlights on this album. The opener, "An Ancient Sign of Coming Storm" is a very strong and solid opener. While it is not very fast, it does have quite a bit of melody. "The Fate of Norns" is also good because of the awesome melodies, and the fact that it is a long song, meaning I get to enjoy it more. "Pursuit of Vikings" is probably the heaviest song on here, but it also has a lot of melody and great vocals which makes it one of the best on the album. The best song on this album though would have to be "Arson". It is the only epic song on the album and it is awesome. It isn't as heavy and it is slower paced, but the atmosphere and melodies on this song are simply amazing. The drumming on this song is also awesome, as it almost feels like its emphasizing the point of the guitars. The vocals are great, and the lyrics here are awesome as well, which tell about a battle. The solo towards the end of the song is also pretty well done and it is appreciated because we don't often hear Amon Amarth play solos.

Even if this album doesn't seem to live up to its predecesors, its still worth the buy for any fan of viking of melodic death metal, and I will go ahead and purchase the rest of their discography. I also see they are due out with their next album soon so I am looking forward to that as well.