Monday, July 6, 2015
Amon Amarth - Versus The World (2002)
The first thing that strikes you instantly is the production, that is beating the crap out of its predecessors. Peter Tägtgren and the rest of the gang finally got it right to make Amon Amarth stand out as much as possible in the disc format. It is as clean as it could ever be without losing the much needed edge to give the music its toughness, and finally, you can really hear how talented the guys really are. The slamming beats of Fredrik Andersson, the beautiful and technical effort from Olavi Mikkonen and Johan Söderberg's guitars, the steadfast bass by Ted Lundström, and last, but certainly not least, Johan Hegg and his amazing viking voice. OH, THE SHIVERS!
And together with these fantastic performers, "Versus The World" displays some high quality tunes to make it a really powerful record. Starting off with "Death In Fire" and its heavy double bass, the album instantly takes command over your ears, blasting them with all their power. "Death In Fire" certainly sets the bar high for the remaining 8 songs of the album, and fortunately, it is not overly high that it seems like the highlight of the album already has been passed. However, since the album is so even throughout, I cannot simply point at one song and say that it is the absolute highlight of the album, so I rather look at the entire album as one humongous highlight of its own.
But there are some songs that do stand out a little more than the others (although the difference between the best and the least best song is very slim). "Across The Rainbow Bridge" stands out a lot thanks to its more beautiful approach, focusing more on creating a sort of sad, but still hopeful mood instead of pounding heavily. A real beaut of a song. Then we have the title track that uses the patented Amon Amarth riffing so perfectly that it makes me drool floods, and the same can be said in "Where Silent Gods Stand Guard" and "Thousand Years of Oppression". I also have to mention the final track of the album, called "...And The World Will Cease To Be", a track that has great, memorable riff, and an overall structure and mood to perfectly close this show so the listener leaves as happy as possible. What and amazing end to "Versus The World".
Sadly, I do find some flaws with "Versus The World", not any big flaws, but noticeable enough to scratch its silky smooth surface. I said earlier that the album is incredibly even in its performance, and that is like an double edged sword. While it does make it a great album, it does have slight tendencies to becoming stale when you are listening at it for too long, especially since the songs are pretty similar to each other. I also miss some catchy choruses, or something else that does make the memorability factor higher in this album.
No matter what, this is where Amon Amarth's journey truly takes off into infinity, finalizing their transformation to a world class act. "Versus The World" has the quality, the power, the width, and the intensity that all of the other Amon Amarth albums have strived for, but never really reached. With 9 fantastic songs, and five band members who are at the top of their game, this album delivers the goods in such a way that it would make Odin fall off from his throne in Asgard. Amon Amarth 1 - The World 0.
Songs worthy of recognition: Across The Rainbow Bridge, Death In Fire, Down The Slopes of Death, ...And The World Will Cease To Be
Rating: 9,5/10 Bloodsheds