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Converting Metalheads the World Over - 90%

demonomania, December 26th, 2006

Yes, Oden is indeed on the side of Amon Amarth. Before the new Amon Amarth, I could only get my Indian girlfriend to listen to Opeth, and newer Opeth at that. But she just needed to hear "Hermod's Ride to Hel" once to become a complete convert to the Norsemen's pounding, epic, stirring barnd of Viking death metal.

Not only that, but I put a few tracks into her MP3 player, which she brought with her on a recent trip to India. Soon enough, her 11 YEAR OLD SISTER and MOM were completely hooked on 'Marth. When even little kids and older women half the world away request double-bass drenched tales of Nordic mythology with harsh vocals, you know the Swedes have done something right this time.

They have really developed their slower, melodic side to the point where guitar lines stick in your head like a double-bladed axe. I saw them live recently, and they can't quite get these melodies out in the forefront - but on the CD it sounds awesome. My only downside would be that there is certainly some repetition, but with Amon Amarth that shouldn't be a surprise.

Highlights include the aforementioned "Hermod's Ride to Hel," a fucking AMAZING track that tells a piece of the mythology that will hopefully have a part II and eventually (I'm assuming) end with Loki bound to a rock, poison dripping into his eyes. The last minute and half is the very definition of epic melody, and I memorized the lines between Hermod and the Hel guy immediately. Also good are "Runes to My Memory," "Gods of War" (take that Christians, again!), the stirring title track (which suffers from some lyrical repetition), the ride-into-battle themed "Cry of the Blackbirds," and the very cool and slow "Under the Northern Star" with a great vocal effect about halfway through.

So really, that's most of the tracks. It is quite easy to put it on from start to finish, and I find myself doing so at least twice a week. The lyrics are still good, though not up to some of their previous efforts. Get back to work on that gang, think more "Hermod" and less "With Oden On Our Side." Nonetheless, I think this will most certainly help to break them big. I wouldn't be surprised to see Amon Amarth in the mainstream someday, though I'm sure these Vikings have the integrity to ride up that mainstream and plunder any monasteries on its banks.