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The Invasion Is Upon Us - 90%

OzzyApu, April 30th, 2007

From all the previous years of solid, albeit redundant, melodic death these guys have put out since they shattered the nine worlds, no one can debate the layer of intricate musicianship the group has stepped up. One thing to notice is the production, and by that I mean hear every instrument. With Fate Of Norns you had mediocre songs full of inconsistency which led to a less appealing sound all over. However, WOOOS achieves stand-out tracks with memorable tunes that are individually backed up with a prestigious presentation.

Popular tracks are usually not the best tracks on most albums and here is no exception. Do not take it the wrong way though. “Runes To My Memory” and “Cry Of The Black Birds,” the two hits on this album that garnish music videos, both incorporate and improve all of the previous tactics – traditional Norse riffs, lyrics of old, and a persuasive attitude – to outperform any previous hits these Swedes have unleashed on us. This only gets better though, as Amon Amarth conceived original plans in creating more catchy (though not sold-out) and laid back tunes like “Under The Northern Star” and the mid-paced “Gods Of War Arise,” which shares it’s closest qualities with “Death In Fire” off of Versus The World (though it still retains its own addicting sound).

No doubt Amon Amarth was aiming at a more riff-mesmerizing album, hence the accessibility in all the songs. Like I brought up earlier, the production allows the album to have a greater impact on the individual. All the instruments can clearly be heard without any serious distortion from the guitars – riffs or solos -, the drums – still in some cases tribal sounding - , and the bass – the sole reason why this album has a hotter, heavier, and tighter feeling that the others. You sure played hooky in school to play bass, Ted. A huge improvement lies in Johan’s vocal leadership, as his voice delves deeper to a signature growl (one that was lost on Fate Of Norns). Of all the Melodic Death bands, Johan is really the only one retaining the traditional growl to an extent with success. By in large, he isn’t embarrassed to sound like a beast on here.

Lyrically, Amon continues to cite strict influences to Scandinavia’s past. Pillaging, religion, and nature are the norm once again. One usually doesn’t get tired after such a repeated approach because the music each one is armed with becomes a new adventure or mission to the ears. Such a lyrical bounty is worth your time, as each one is a story to tell. Put down any book you’re reading and listen to a tale Amon tell. “Gods Of War Arise” and the title track, although already musically superior to the others, are my recommended listen.

Regardless of preference, all listeners of melodic death metal will find something enjoyable on this release. All the tactics Amon have implemented are found on here and are refined so well that many have concluded the integrity the album holds. Under any circumstance, come in contact with this record to see Amon’s refined style and you’re sure to have Odin on your side soon enough.