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The usual. - 80%

Idrownfish, May 9th, 2010

Amon Amarth is an interesting band. Even if death metal is their clearest influence, their music is more riff-oriented than the music delivered to us by a lot of thrash metal bands. Their vocals rock in the album and during the concerts, being Johan Hegg capable of delivering some of the most intense growls I have ever seen. Yet, those vocals are melodically interesting, and it doesn't feel like Hegg is showing off, even if it must be hard as hell to sing like that. The drums are regular at best, but they don't need to be spectacular or to deliver blast beats because the two guitars and the bass are always there, throwing riff after riff and never letting the listener get bored.

If you are reading this review you probably know at least a little about Amon Amarth, so why am I bothering to describe the band? It's because in Twilight of The Thunder God the band works with all the elements mentioned above, with little to no variation. While it sounds amazing most of the time, the lack of different stuff exposes the only clear problem present here, which is also present in most of Amon Amarth's work: the music is not actually diverse. There isn't a song that is more epic than the other (except for the title track), one that focuses more on the solo or one that focuses more on the drums: the whole recording is composed of riff-based songs with predictable drums and vocals that manage to be brutal and melodic at the same time. Sometimes solos kick in, but they are average and barely manage to be a decent background to the amazing riffs.

The title track, however, made me forgive almost all the flaws present in this full-length. "Twilight of The Thunder God" is the best song Amon Amarth has delivered so far, and may be the best they will ever deliver. The riffs are perfect, the vocals are even more brutal than usual, the drums are very good although not necessarily creative and even the guitar solo (which starts jumping an unknown number of octaves and ends up using almost the whole guitar neck) is extremely creative.

The epic feeling is always there. The lyrics are kind of silly (although I recognize that writing about Vikings is not the easiest thing to do) but they don't ruin the mood: while listening to the album it is impossible not to imagine the scenes that the lyrics describe, characteristic somehow unique to Amon Amarth that is created by using emotional yet heavy riffs.

This album will hardly surprise anyone, but if you like Amon Amarth's melodeath I recommend it. It is not the most complex or the best metal recording ever, but it does provide 43 minutes of solid headbanging and awe-inspiring vocals. If you choose not to buy it, though, make sure to listen to the title track, it rocks.