Saturday, June 8, 2013

Amon Amarth: Deceiver of the Gods

This is the Swedish band's 9th album and I can there appeal just as I can see they might be viewed as too commercial by those who are trying to stay brutal with their death metal as there are a fair amount of power metal influences sprinkled in a this isn't what gets considered pagan metal or viking metal despite all their lyrical references and well.. their beards, it has more in common with Dethklok or Arch Enemy, though they are rolled 20's to notch the epic factor up.

I  have always heard these guys in passing I think there last album was  the first I loaded on the Ipod to play all the way through and I remember then doing a god awful cover of a System of a Down song.  They take a little getting use to out the gate with the opening title track because you almost forget the days when metal didn't have a blackened something to it so with out any dissonance , darkness , tremolo picking of blast beats , it sound joyfully triumphant which depending on your taste can be a good thing or a bleh... thing. It keeps at a very thrash pace. When it comes to finding common ground with fellow countrymen  and these guys come closer to At the Gates than Dissection.

"As Loke Falls" is for better or worse your average thrash affair with some harmony guitar flourishes, sure there a good chug here and there in between it all but does that make for cool riff or good songwriting?

 The opening riff of "Father of the Wolf" is pretty much classic metal dialed in from 1987 with the only big difference being the vocals, if they were sung in the operatic yodel it could be Armoured Saint or somebody like Helloween  though at several points in the album I am reminded of Unleashed,  The riffs are melodic and hooky enough for most not saying they have really drawn me in until I am like "Oh there's an Iron Maiden riff"

"Shapeshifter" the riffage sounds darker , has more of a death metal feel, more powerful and less power metal gallop to this one, call and response chorus is a little different in the vocal panning than other songs. His voice over all seems to have two modes of growl mid to low.

 The chug to"Under Siege" is one of the few songs where I am won over by the power of the riff alone, though the arrangment certainly helps the placement of it have more impact , as I am seldom won over by chug alone. The guitar sounds on this album are very big and everything here is highly orchestrated in the mix, which gives it the slickness that causes some people to be turned off.  One of the other solid riff in your face songs is " We Shall Destroy" . This one invokes that Unleashed field and is more legitimate death metal.

" Blood Eagle" cranks up some Slayer like riffage this one is much thrashier, the chorus riff in particular and the chorus benefits from the slick production in how the vocals, the guitar could cut through more in places some times it seems to take on an obtuse wall of volume and it seems like a mix issue, should have taken some of the effects of and given every thing a more in your face sound like "Reign in Blood".  " Coming of the Tide" follows a similar trajectory. It's pretty straightforward the riffs charge ahead , fans of Skeleton Witch are probably already listening to these guys but if not they are missing out. The double bass switches up it's pattern here but they use that really straight ahead snare hit which ruins it for me though the riff in the last two minutes steers the song in a better direction.  

"Hel" is a treat for me as I had  been waiting for former Candlemass singer Messiah Marcolin to make his appearance , it's a pretty straightforward not heavier than any thing off "Nightfall" .Messiah is a little low in the mix for me layered underneath the lead growler. Messiah does sound as if his pipes have held up fairly well.

There's a pretty effective riff at the two and a half minute mark of "Coming of the Tide"  the song it self becomes a little bland in its momentum and some times default to what would sound good to solo over. There is a slight mosh waltz to a riff here and there in "Warriors of  the North". This album sounds great , the song writing well... this sound has been time tested but also overdone leaving it feeling a little bland , I generally prefer stuff that's darker and more experimental, so it's not really my thing as it's presented here, still they are good at what they do and fans of the band could even round this up an entire point as I'm giving it a 6.5

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