Saturday, June 13, 2015

Amon Amarth - The Crusher (2001)

Let us start off this review with the obvious observation. The cover of Amon Amarth's third full length effort "The Crusher" would look better as a Manowar cover. No really, a overly muscular man smashing shit, masculinity all over the place, and the title "The Crusher". All of this screams Manowar more than it does Amon Amarth. Well, nonetheless, the cover in itself does not look too goofy at least, even if it my least favourite cover from the Swedes.

Now that we have gotten that out of the way, let us get deeper into this album. "The Crushers" continues on with what "The Avenger" did, building the foundation on what eventually would become Amon Amarth's signature sound. It is melodic, it is fast, and it is heavy, but it is still rough around the edges, especially thanks to the production. Peter Tägtgren is a awesome man with a lot under his belt, but I really do not understand what he did with all of these album he helped the band mixing. The mud is still there, never leaving your speakers, giving those clean riffs and beats a mud bath they did not need. You can still hear all the hard work the band has put into this record and all of the nice musicality, but it could have been clearer for our listening experience (even if it is a small, small step forward from previous efforts).

But it is not only the production that makes "The Crusher" sound muddy, it is the overall song arrangement. Most of the songs have around the same chorus, speed, and structure, making it hard to separate the tracks from each other. But once you take the surgical knife and start dissecting and inspecting the songs, you can be sure that you will find some quality craftsmanship. Wheter it is the frenetic riffing in the opener "Bastards of A Lying Breed" or the fragile melodies in "As Long As The Raven Flies", the band shows once again that when the pieces are on place, they can create some amazing stuff.

And just like its two predecessors, "The Crusher" is a sign of what to come for the band. The solo of "A Fury Divine" is the perfect example of just that, a beautiful and simple solo that completes a heavy and strong track. This solo reminds of another Amon Amarth song and its solo, but I will not reveal what song it is until I review the album in which it is in.

Anyway, there is no song in this album that is essentially weak. Yes, some songs get lost in the forest, but all of them are enjoyable and helps creating a strong, solid album. "The Crusher" will probably not go to the history as one of the more memorable Amon Amarth albums in history, but it has its solid place in the history of the band, and fans should be proud of it. It is a album that may not shine, but it shows that Amon Amarth is the real deal, that they can deliver strong and powerful melodic death metal. In the end though, there is only two things that will ultimately stick with me from this album, the track "A Fury Divine", and that corny album cover.

Songs worthy of recognition: A Fury Divine, Bastards of A Lying Breed, As Long As The Raven Flies

Rating: 7,5/10 Masters of War

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