Wednesday 26 June 2013

Amon Amarth - Deceiver of the Gods (Album Review)

Album Type : Full Length
Date Released : 25/6/2013
Label : Metal Blade Records

Deceiver of the Gods, track listing:
01. Deceiver of the Gods
02. As Loke Falls
03. Father of the Wolf
04. Shape Shifter
05. Under Siege
06. Blood Eagle
07. We Shall Destroy
08. Hel
09. Coming of the Tide
10. Warriors of the North

Johan Hegg: Vocals
Ted Lundström: Bass
Johan Söderberg: Guitar
Olavi Mikkonen: Guitar
Fredrik Andersson: Drums

Honesty is always the best policy, I find: and I’m not familiar with Amon Amarth.  ‘Deceiver of the Gods’, their brand new album, has only just come out and I’ve been given the task of reviewing it.  Here goes…

[5 minutes later]

… well, I have to go do my Viking death metal homework.  Just, gimme a sec…

[Quite a bit later]

So this is the ninth studio album from the Swedish metallers, following on from – and building upon – the shredding terror that is 2010’s ‘Surtur Rising’.  If it’s music that makes you want to swing an axe or terrorize an unsuspecting coastal village this summer, then I think you’ve found the perfect soundtrack for your pillaging. 

Firstly, the twin guitar attacks of Johan Söderberg and Olavi Mikkonen are simply majestic and destructive, twin swords wielded by a berserker warrior bent on raising all Hellfire and brimstone.  Perfect examples of this are title track ‘Deceiver of the Gods’, ‘Shape Shifter’ and ‘Coming of the Tide’.  These guys remind me of the classic Gorham/Robertson combo in Thin Lizzy… if they’d grown up on a mountain and only ate what they killed. 

This is an album of great scope, immense talent and seething rage.  These ten tracks are yet another set of skull-splitting, shield-smashing classics that will stand proudly alongside Amon Amarth’s frothing back catalogue.  Personal highlights for me include the title track, ‘Hel’ (which features Messiah Marcolin from Candlemass adding his vocal darkness to proceedings) and ‘Warriors of the North’.  This latter offering is also over eight minutes long, and I do love my epics.  This is the Beowulf of songs: full of lyrical adventure, riffs built like longboats and passion seeping through every note played and word uttered. 

Amon Amarth is a band any lover of myths and metal would cherish: ‘Deceiver of the Gods’ is simply a brilliant record, vital and timeless like the Viking legends of which they sing.  If it’s high adventure and head-banging action you’re after this summer, don’t look for it in your local cinema.  Instead, grow your beard long, paint your face, and play this mighty album at top volume, screaming ‘VALHALLA!’ as you do.  It’s the only choice to make, really. 

Words by: Chris Markwell

As ever, show your support to the band by checking them out at the various links.  You can buy this release in Europe here and N. America here. This record is available now. Thanks to Andy@ Metal Blade Records for the hook up