Review: Amon Amarth – Deceiver of the Gods

Posted: December 21, 2013 in Reviews
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Continuing my coverage of my favourite records from 2013, ‘Deceiver of the Gods’ was always going to be pretty high up the list. I’m a huge Amon Amarth fan, and have been since I saw them support Dimmu Borgir all the way back in 2006/7 (can’t quite remember). At that time they were supporting their ‘With Oden on Our Side’ record, which contains some of my favourite metal tracks (the thunderous ‘Valhalla Awaits Us’ and the epic ‘Cry of the Black Birds’). Since then they have released two critically acclaimed records of power Viking themed melodic death metal and become a huge band. I have since seen them repeatedly live and they’ve solidified themselves as one of my all time favourite bands.

So, onto their new record. ‘Deceiver of the Gods’ is another 45 minutes ride through the icy tales of Vikings old, complete with all the memorable guitar lines, catchy lyrics and Viking heroism you could need. It doesn’t quite measure up to the stunning ‘Twilight of the Thunder God’ but it is still a triumphant album. The title track and ‘As Loke Falls’ start the album off with a bang, the former being a standard Amon Amarth stomper and the latter featuring a galloping opening complete with some fantastic guitarwork. One thing I’ve always enjoyed about Amon Amarth is vocalist Johan Hegg. His voice is always brutal yet the clarity of his vocals is great. My girlfriend knows all the words to the chorus of ‘Twilight of the Thunder God’, yet generally cannot pick out most other lyrics from a lot of other metal bands.

What Amon Amarth are particularly good at is taking melodic death metal, a genre which is rapidly becoming stale due to a lack of bands that still have the ability to make it interesting, injecting a healthy dose of epic into it and fashioning songs that sound unique, all without losing the ‘death metal’ part of it. ‘Father of the Wolf’ is equal parts brutal, catchy, melodic and epic. Hegg’s voice is deep (like a more melodic Glen Benton), which I think helps a lot. ‘Blood Eagle’ is one of the fiercer tracks that the band have put down in a while, where ‘We Shall Destroy’ has a dark feeling running through it. I enjoyed the contribution of Messiah Marcolin on ‘Hel’, I think he adds something special to the chorus lines, and titanic closer ‘Warriors of the North’ is full of great guitar work. My only faults with the record is there is nothing that jumps out as being an outstanding track, that one song that you’ll be humming for days, ala ‘Pursuit of Vikings’, ‘War of the Gods’ or ‘Guardians of Asgard’.

‘Deceiver of the Gods’ is more of the same. Amon Amarth will probably never write a bad record, as their style is endlessly enjoyable and Metal. As. Fuck. Maybe this is a poorer record than the preceding ones, but it still blows every other melodeath record out of the water in 2013. Grab a drinking horn and turn that fucker up.

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