Friday, June 21, 2013

Amon Amarth - Deceiver of The Gods (2013)

Since the big movie "Thor" was released, everyone today know who Loki is and how evil he is. That is why I think it is a good idea by Swedish viking metallers Amon Amarth to highlight Loki in their ninth album entitled "Deceiver of The Gods", so the public learn more about Loki's deception against Thor, Odin and the rest of the gods in Asgard that ultimately led to Ragnarök. The band knows their Nordic mythology and they also have the writing skills to tell the story in the most amazing way possible. So you could tell that my expectations for this release was high, and they did not get lower since their last album ("Surtur Rising") was, according to me, the best album released in 2011.

"Deceiver of The Gods" is the first album by the band that was recorded outside Sweden and also the first album with Andy Sneap as the producer. But the production is the least important part of the album, it is the music that stands in the front. It is the typical Amon Amarth sound that we all know and love. Heavy death metal with fine musicality that could be linked with folk metal and catchy melodies. The band is truly one of a kind with their music and the fact that they mix power, heaviness and melody in one big cauldron is just very intriguing, and let us not forget the Nordic mythology theme that gives the band its image.

The title track opens up the album with a typical Amon Amarth speed that is only matched by Odin's eighth legged horse Sleipner. This could be an instant classic with the epic chorus and fine riffing, but that little special something is missing to make the song truly shine. Otherwise, there are not that many power packed songs in "Deceiver of The Gods". The band has chosen to focus on the more delicate part of their sound, which means that the melodies and the mood is more important then raw strength. Not a horrible choice, but I wished that they would have done at least one or two more power songs. So do not expect to find a new "A Beast Am I?" or "Where Is Your God?" on this particular record.

So yeah, the structure and lyrics is in the focus, and the song with the most interesting structure and lyrics is "Shape Shifter". A great song that explains Loki's ability to change his appearance to deceive others, but also a song that has a melody that is so groovy that your head just cannot stay still. Another evidence of the bigger focus on the structure is the two last songs "Coming of The Tide" and "Warriors of The North". Two great songs that ends the album in a very elegant way

I have one big problem with "Deceiver of The Gods", and that is the memory factor. No song on this album is really catchy and that makes an album filled with just mediocre tunes. I guess that the most memorable chorus goes to the excellent "Father of The Wolf" , but not even that song stays in my mind after the first couple of listening sessions. That is a shame, since I find the catchiness is one of Amon Amarth's greatest strengths, but luckily, they have many other strength to back this flaw up (like Johan's amazing vocals and the fantastic musicality).

We also get a special guest appearance by Messiah Marcolin (singer of Candlemass) on the eighth track "Hel". It is probably the song that stands out the most in this album, and Messiah does an excellent job together with Johan Hegg on the vocals. I also like the doom like touch of this song, but some parts of the song reminds me of the Primal Rock Rebellion song "White Sheet Robes" which kind of annoys me. Still, it is one of the highlights in this album.

You know what too expect when it comes too Amon Amarth, and "Deceiver of The Gods" is no different story. It is brutal and melodic death metal at its finest. And even though this album is another great, solid piece by the band, it lacks that little extra something that the previous three releases from the band had. But it is still another proof that Amon Amarth is one of the best in their league. So start brewing your mead, put on your viking helmet, grab your axe (or other weapon) and prepare yourself for the assault that is entitled "Deceiver of The Gods"

Songs worthy of recognition: Deceiver of The Gods, Coming of The Tide, Father of The Wolf, Hel

Rating: 8/10 Shape Shifters

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