Amon Amarth are arguably the most popular Extreme Metal band currently. They got huge over the past couple of years because of their ever quality output.
When people talk about metal bands and their albums, it’s usually the first one or two albums they released that get all the praise. That’s not the case with Amon Amarth. They just seem to get better with each release or at least public opinion (as in reviews) is that they put out high quality releases all the time. Take Metal Archives for example. Every release, except ‘Fate of Norns’ (79%), has an overall rating of over 80%.
So what’s the case with their new offering ‘Surtur Rising’? Is it as good as their previous works or even better? Is it their first crap album? Make the jump to read what I think of Amon Amarth’s ‘Surtur Rising’.
Amon Amarth – Surtur Rising
1. War of the Gods – 4:33
2. Töck’s Taunt – Loke’s Treachery Part II – 5:58
3. Destroyer of the Universe – 3:41
4. Slaves of Fear – 4:25
5. Live Without Regrets – 5:03
6. The Last Stand of Frej – 5:37
7. For Victory or Death – 4:30
8. Wrath of the Norsemen – 3:44
9. A Beast Am I – 5:14
10. Doom Over Dead Man – 5:55
Fire? Check. Vikings fighting? Check. Sword-wielding Giant? Check. Badass artwork? Check. What you see above is a classic Amon Amarth album cover, it just reeks of badassery and works perfectly with the album at hand. If you buy the Limited Edition of ‘Surtur Rising,’ you’re getting a huge flag of the artwork above with the album. But you want to read about the actual album, not the goodies you get with a limited edition, right? Right, let’s get it on then.
So, the album starts off with ‘War Of The Gods,’ a typical Amon Amarth banger, in the vein of ‘Valhall Awaits Me’ and ‘Twilight Of The Thunder God’. No experiments, you get what you expect of this band. Is that a good or a bad thing? I’d say it’s a good thing because it works like a leitmotif that runs through all of their latest albums. It picks up where ‘Twilight Of The Thunder God’ left off and gets you into the right mood for the album.
Here’s the tricky part though. With their 8th album, people expect a lot from this band which doesn’t leave much room for experimentation. Amon Amarth do the right thing though, they let influences from pretty much all of their albums flow into the songwriting of this album. Be it faster songs, in the vein of crowd favorites like ‘Asator’ (off ‘With Oden On Our Side’), like ‘Destroyer Of The Universe,’ ‘Slaves Of Fear,’ which could have been on ‘The Crusher’ or ‘The Last Stand Of Frej,’ which sounds like a song off ‘Fate Of Norns’. These songs may sound like they could fit on earlier releases but it works perfectly with this album as it pretty much showcases Amon Amarth’s strenghts and flows just fine.
Fans don’t want all rehashes of old sounds though, so what is new and different on this album? The production. The album sounds clearer than all of their previous releases and may I say softer? ‘The Last Stand Of Frej,’ my personal favorite song of the album, and ‘Doom Over Dead Man’ are the softest songs this band ever released. Don’t get me wrong, this is not Bon Jovi but in comparison to earlier work, it’s softer and also captures the melancholy that I’ve missed since ‘Fate Of Norns’ perfectly.
So overall, I’m pretty satisfied with this album. It closes the circle that started with ‘With Oden On Our Side’ perfectly. At times, it sounds like ‘Twilight Of The Thunder God II’ but I don’t mean that in a bad way because ‘Twilight…’ killed. I do hope that they try new things in the future though. Two albums in the same vein are fine but we don’t need three in the same vein. I’ll worry about that when the time comes though and until then I’ll blast ‘Surtur Rising,’ an album that will cement Amon Amarth’s place in valhalla.