Posts Tagged ‘Amon Amarth’

I’m reading Lord of the Rings again. This is probably the 15th time at least that I’ve read it since the first time I picked it up as a kid. I like to read it once a year if I can, not only because it is a masterpiece of storytelling and world/mythology creation, but there is a huge link between Tolkien’s work and heavy metal in general. Bands, song titles, album titles; so many inspired directly or indirectly by the works of J.R.R, so I’ve built a playlist based upon bands that have some link to his works. I don’t normally do this, but each song can get a brief explanation for those who may be a bit confused about some of the links:

1. Blind Guardian – Lord of the Rings: no explanation needed here surely. I couldn’t miss the world’s best power metal bands, especially since their Tolkien obsession led them to write their best album based on Tolkien’s most impenetrable book, The Simarillion.

2. Amon Amarth – Amon Amarth: An alternate name for Mount Doom, the fire that forged the One Ring.

3. Burzum – Ea, Lord of the Depths: Burzum is the word for ‘darkness’ in the Black Speech of Mordor. It is found engraved on the Ruling Ring.

4. Gorgoroth – Gorgoroth: A vast, dead plain within Mordor

5. Cirith Ungol – The Troll: Cirith Ungol is the pass into Mordor where Shelob lives

6. Morgoth – Unreal Imagination: Morgoth is the Great Enemy, Sauron’s boss and the creator of all evil in Middle Earth

7. Led Zeppelin – Misty Mountain Hop: The Misty Mountains are probably the most famous range in the Tolkien works, and this is a rocking song!

8. Isengard – Dark Lord of Gorgoroth: Covers two bases by mentionion Gorgoroth again and Isengard being the home of Saruman the wizard

9. Balrog – Nazgul Warlord: A Balrog was the massive beast of fire and flame that fights Gandalf in Moria

10. Nazgul – In Summis Montibus: The Nazgul were the 9 Ringwraiths sent by Sauron to find the Ring

11. Nightwish – The Elvenpath: Contains samples from the animated Lord of the Rings movie, as well as referencing elves and Bilbo Baggins

12. Orange Goblin – Saruman’s Wish: Saruman being the traitorous white wizard

13. Three Inches of Blood – Destroy the Orcs: A kick ass song about destroying orcs

14. Ephel Duath – Vector, Third Movement: Ephel Duath is a mountain range on the West and South of Mordor. It means ‘Fence of Shadow’

So there we have it, a bit of everything and all mixed in with the heady goodness of dwarves, elves, men and wizards. Oh, and lots of unspeakable evil!

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.