Amon Amarth - With Oden on Our Side
Roarrrrrr!!! Yes folks, it's that time again for Amon Amarth and their melodic, Viking death metal attack. This band used to never really grab me at all in the past, but their last two albums, Fate of Norns and this new album have given me hope that this band has reached a higher level with their art. While this isn't the best death metal on the planet, Amon Amarth lay down some pretty brutal and killer stuff here. There are songs that REALLY stick out, like "Asator" and "Runes to My Memory", but then there are times when my mind tends to wonder. It's almost as if this band is better when experienced in quick 2 to 3 song doses. Sometimes a full album's worth of material tends to fade into the realm of monotonous. Kinda depends on my mood at the time I put this disc in.
Musically, the band really shines. The guitars are thick and pummeling, the drums are thunderous with tons of double bass, and the vocals are guttural and very well-done, with some occasional higher pitched, almost shrieking death vocals. While the band excels at all speeds, I really enjoy their faster material the best, like in the song "Asator." Too bad that the majority of the album is more mid-speed and never really matches the aforementioned song's speed throughout the rest of the album.
Lyrically, the band does their typical Viking mythology, gruesome battles, etc. Sometimes the lyrics are well-written, but then sometimes they border on cheese. Like for instance, the opening song "Valhall Awaits Me": My sword cuts through clothes and skin/Like a hot knife cuts through snow. Ummm...guys....doesn't a knife cut through snow pretty easy whether it's hot or not? Anyways...don't want to be too picky with that, but it kinda cracked me up.
The artwork is absolutely fabulous with glossy black pages, great colors, and cool band photos (that thankfully lack any of the guys in sunglasses like I saw on a website somewhere about a month ago. I personally think it looks retarded if heavy metal bands wear sunglasses in their band photos). Anyways...production is superb as well.
All around, a great release by this band that is closing in on 15 years since their inception. If you crave more solid death metal, this would be a fine album to pick up.
Review By: Matt Morrow
Label: Metal Blade Records
Total Songs: 9
Total Time: 42:19
Tracklisting: 1. Valhall Awaits Me, 2. Runes to My Memory, 3. Asator, 4. Hermod's Ride to Hel - Lokes Treachery Part I, 5. Gods of War Arise, 6. With Oden on Our Side, 7. Cry of the Black Birds, 8. Under the Northern Star, 9. Prediction of Warfare.
Best Songs: Tracks 2 & 3.
Band Lineup: Johan Söderberg - Guitars, Fredrik Andersson - Drums, Olavi Mikkonen - Guitars, Ted Lundström - Bass, Johan Hegg - Vocals.
Band Website: http://www.amonamarth.com