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Amon Amarth - Surtur Rising Award winner

Amon Amarth
Surtur Rising
by Fotis Giakoub at 30 March 2011, 3:13 AM

When I was attending early middle school I wanted to be an archeologist fascinated by the Greek (and not only) mythology. That was way pre-Indiana Jones and to be honest I never realized while watching “Temple of Doom” that he was an archeologist! Mythology, whether that’s ancient tales of godly sodomy and endless sex with pretty much everything or urban legends about dudes with pointy teeth that suck your blood and giving you an orgasm, was pretty much a dominant lyric source for music since the early stages of civilization.

AMON AMARTH is one of those bands that REALLY dedicate themselves to a theme, loving it and making it their own Norse mythology and Viking legends are their bread and butter, combined with a brutal yet melodic and epic approach! They are also known for their unique style that pretty much stands out once you’ve listened to them for a while but rarely ventures into something different. Regardless this “repetition” they haven’t yet failed to deliver with their last sever releases and their –almost- twenty years of history… So here is the big question for “Surtur Rising”; will it bore or will it score?

Like true Vikings, grabbing their enemy from the throat and cutting his head off the rest of the body, they leave no doubt about the quality of the release, with the first track “War Of The Gods”. The start of this song is so AMON AMARTH yet again it feels so fresh and the solo three minutes into the song just make you wonder, when will they get “old”! Fast and with great rhythm and a Death’n’Roll feel! Amazing start! Next up is “Tock’s Taunt”, a way darker song and with slightly slower tempo. The screams in the chorus-“You come to me…” -really sounds like a taunt and we have yet another solid solo. “Destroyer Of The Universe” is really meant to be destroyer of your spine!  Full speed, relentless drumming, a bass line that bleeds your ear and a fucking awesome rhythm change (AGAIN) while growling “And everything  shall die….”.  The tempo goes back into slower paths with “Slaves Of Fear” and a song talking about fears in the modern life, fears and their “use” to the religions of the world. Good song, more straight forward metal approach, like having a breather from the first three songs; or maybe getting ready for the next one. “Live Without Regrets” steps back into the battlefield, feels like thousands marching towards their certain death, showing no fear! Epic feeling, the drumming is again excellent and that’s what really stands out in the song.  Nothing more to ask from the Swedes. Especially the last verse, “We’ll meet again in Valhall…when we die!”, make you want to charge to whatever enemy!

Probably the most epic song of the album, “The Last Stand of Frej”, is an elegy for Frej’s death from Surtur. The mid tempo rhythm and the pompous lyrics leaves you with a “sad” yet of this song and the “For Victory Or Death” gets you back on track; almost as fast as “Destroyer…” - more epic and less brutal. In my humble opinion this is the weakest moment of the album but it is still a good song. Distorted guitars, with a heavy-as-hell riff and “Wrath Of The Norsemen” kicks off. Another classic AMON AMARTH song, mid-tempo and singing (or screaming if you’d like) bout the “horror” and the “destruction” the Norsemen did under their path. Another proof that in “Sultur Rising” the band tried to venture a bit into the traditional melodic death metal (Gothenburg sound) is “A Beast Am I”. Endless beating of your ear drum, switching melodies like switching weapons during battle, fast, dark and has an amazing second solo! Could be easily mistaken for a song from <insert your favorite melodic death metal band name>! Last song for the album is their “ballad” (if you can excuse me for saying that), something that they keep doing it almost since “Versus The World” with the AMAZING “And Soon The World Will Cease To Be…”. “Doom Over Dead Man” is following the same “pattern”; gloomy, slow, somehow “redeeming” and above all epic! A final judgment of one’s life in battle, fighting for fame and fortune, nothing worth remembering for…

Can AMON AMARTH do wrong? Forgive the blasphemy but it is like they are becoming the MOTORHEAD of death metal. Yeah sure, they are almost playing the “same” thing but they are so good at it, that no one cares! “Sultur Rising” is easily their most mature album since their “breakthrough” with “Versus The World” and it is so fucking massive that’s like a two handed hammer pulverizing your brain! I don’t really know when or if they are going to release a bad album but if the fact that they keep making good music is a “coincidence” we can all pretty much agree that it stopped being one a decade ago! I just can’t get these lyrics out of my head…“The rage that burns within my heart is uncontrolled and wild…And now everything shall die…” OK, now I want to pillage something…

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. War of the Gods
2. Töck's Taunt - Loke's Treachery Part II
3. Destroyer of the Universe
4. Slaves of Fear
5. Live Without Regrets
6. The Last Stand of Frej
7. For Victory or Death
8. Wrath of the Norsemen
9. A Beast Am I
10. Doom Over Dead Man
Lineup:
Johan Hegg - lead Vocals
Johan Söderberg - Guitar
Olavi Mikkonen - Guitar
Ted Lundström - Bass
Fredrik Andersson - Drums
Record Label: Metal Blade Records
     


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Edited 17 October 2021
 

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