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Odin, again, be praised - 90%

doomknocker, January 14th, 2010

I'll admit to have been rather late in the entry of the AMON AMARTHy Viking ship. Nothing against them…I knew who they were, and at the risk of seeming out of the loop, for what it's worth I just didn't become too interested in their works until their name became large and in charge within the American touring circuit. By then I just had to find out what the hell the deal was with these guys. And in doing so, spotting these swarthy Swedes on stage, tearing through their well-to-do method of melodic death metal, struck a Nordic chord in my blackened heart like a well-aimed sword tip so intensely that over time I craved more, more, more. And more I got...they kept at it, appearing time and again, to my increasing delight, until the hunger for all things Viking and deathly bled into the procurement of their recorded works, which turned out to be just as satisfying.

And so we've come to their latest Valhallic offering...

What makes the AMON AMARTH machine work so well is their "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" take on metal. Time and again their platter of fist-pumping death metal musicality and Fimbulvetr-evoking lyrical content always quenches nicely with each successive listen and album. There’s something infectious with the way the material is presented, more so than many others of their ilk who were left in the dust years ago; sure, the performance and overall compositions are taken seriously, but not TOO seriously and still a fun factor is noticed the more continuous listens increase. The entire band channels this focus acutely with their combined performances, where awe-inspiring riffs, melodic guitar tandems, pitter-patter percussion abuses and unearthly growls come together in a morass of metallic masterment that puts them in an echelon populated by few others, at thankful lengths (it would‘ve been easy for the band to totally overstay their welcome with such material present, but 4 or so minutes is a perfect serving to this listener). Whether the monstrous heaviness of “Twilight of the Thunder God” and “Free Will Sacrifice” or the epic atmosphere of “Guardians of Aasgard” and “Embrace of the Endless Ocean”, this recording helps solidify AMON AMARTH among the elite of metaldom, cleaving a path for heathen banners to fly and Mjolners to be held high. With good reason, too.

So in the end, this album helps prove the awesome factor of AMON AMARTH that much more. The burning horizon is theirs to conquer, and by Thor, they’ve earned this victory. FUCKING HAILS!