I love Amon Amarth and there is pretty much very little of their albums I haven't liked so far. Although the themes are like Pagan Metal the sound of Amon Amarth is much heavier and less folky. This album again didn't fail to impress me.
Immideiatly 'The Avenger' kicks off with a sound not very different from Hipocrisy's sound, those good old buzz saw riffs with a nice fast drum beat to co-encide the guttural roars and screams very simmilar to Calenish Circle's vocalists (also on the Metal Blade label). The music itself has a very heavy Pagan theme, and if you like the sound of a horde of blood thirsty Vikikings charging through your speakers intent on shedding blood in the name of Oden to the sweet sounds of Scandanavian Death Metal hammering forth, then this is certainly a cd you'd appreciate. The cover design and sleeve both hold enough of that bloodlust and war filled majesty that's enough to raise the sound of the oars of the long boats churning forward towards a small costal village near you. I for one thoroughly reccomend this cd.
Five hundred norseman invade my thoughts, hardened steel clashes upon battered armour, crimson sprays forth, and the battle is begun. No band can bring forth emotion like this. It's incredible, i mean it, beyond credibility, you cannot believe me until you buy the album. Rolling riffs combine with buzzsaw sound to produce such a full soundstage, while hoarse throating and crashing symbols give an incredibly mellow and pleasing noise. My mum likes this album.
As an avid Amon Amarth fan, you could say this review is a bit biased. I wasn't sure what to expect when buying this album, despite having several of their others, and having heard all the songs at least once. However, my doubts were resolved once I had had time to get used to the flow of the album, which a lot different to their more recent albums, indeed, some fans who aren't totally mad about AA might not buy this if they feel the change is to different. But I think its good that a band has shown a variety of playing styles, and not just rehashed the same over and over again. The albumk has a very harsh thrashy sound and is very fast paced, but Hegg's voice is suited accordingly and the guitarists do a brilliant job of keeping a rhythm despite the insane pace which they have to go. The sound quality is the same as Versus the World, The Crusher, and Once Sent from the Golden Hall. so not up to scratch with their modern stuff, but as I have heard pointed out, this just helps distinguish the album from the others as it has a live feel to it but with all the extra help of a recording studio to improve the guitar sounds.
All in all a very strong album. It will not stand up as well as Twilight of the Thunder God, Versus the World, or With Oden on our Side, but it is important to remeber, that in AA's case they are almost playing a different genre in their earlier albums, and when it is viewed from that standpoint, it is brilliant. You will be wanting the rave about after only a few seconds of 'Bleed for Ancient Gods', and the ending to 'The Last with Pagan Blood' is simply epic. 'North Sea Storm' and 'Legend of a Banished Man' are my other favourites, but overall this album is a brilliant example of how, despite being over nearly 15 years old, AA have always had the talent to produce brilliant music, regardless of stylistic finalities.
This is the definition of metal. Powerful riffs tear through your soul and grasp your very heart, squeezing the power through your body, your lifeblood seeps away to be replaced by the power of amon amarth. Pure metal, check amonamarth.com for more. Highly reccomended