Friday, September 25, 2015

Amon Amarth - Twilight of The Thunder God (2008)

Following up a ground breaking masterpiece is not an easy task. Trying to reach the same, cosmic heights that you have already reached and meet the expectations from fans and critics, it is quite daunting. But if you have the skills, and the right momentum, it could be a walk in the park, especially if you are in a tight, well forged group that seems to have one single goal, divide and conquer.

Yeah, there is absolutely no doubt that "Twilight of The Thunder God", the follow up to the amazing "With Oden On Our Side", is just as good as its predecessor, taking all of the things that made it so incredible and implement it into 10 astounding songs. The Swedes was really at the top of their game back then, just crushing their opposition with the mighty Mjölner at their disposal (and some instruments of course).

My first encounter with this album was the same as so many other great songs and albums, through video games. The title track was released as DLC for one of the Guitar Hero games, and once I saw the chart and heard the song, I was stunned. I had never heard such a mash up between brutality and hair raising epicness, it was literally unreal for a teenager like me. I still love the song to death, but not as much as I used to, mostly because I think there are better Amon Amarth songs out there, but also because I have listened to it so much that it has wore out on me. Still, it is one of the best songs in a album that contains no weakness.

All of the songs are so vibrant, displaying strong personalities, from the heavy groove in "Guardians of Asgaard" and sadness in "The Hero", to the Earth shattering brutality in "Where Is Your God?". It is just mind boggling that a band can fit so many emotions and feelings into a death metal album. I really cannot comprehend it all, and I freaking love it.

The band has also taken care of giving every song a big, catchy, epic chorus so that everyone can join Johan Hegg and make quite a mighty viking choir. And when the singing portion of the song is not meant to be catchy, Olavi Mikkonen makes the riffs being so instead, which is obviously displayed in songs like "Live For The Kill" and "Varyags of Miklagaard", two songs were the riffing is just unbelievably memorable.

A thing I have never noticed until I read about it in the album booklet is that this album has guest artists. It does not take anything away from the band and its performance, but it is a little surprising that these guests does not make too big of an impression to be recognized in the album. Anyway, the guests are Roope Latvala (ex. Children of Bodom, ex. Sinergy) in the title track, Lars Göran Petrov (Entombed A.D., ex. Entombed) in "Guardians of Asgaard", and Apocalyptica in "Live For The Kill". Now that I know of them, I can certainly hear them, especially Apocalyptica and their violins, but it does not change my view over the songs nor the album in general.

So how do you follow up a masterpiece? By doing another masterpiece of course! "Twilight of The Thunder God" is among my top albums of all time thanks to its extremely high standard, catchy riffs and tunes, and perfect band chemistry. And to think of that the band made this only two years after the release of "With Oden On Our Side" is just incredible, you really have to have something truly special to come up with two such perfect albums in this short amount of time. I will tell you this, Amon Amarth is certainly special, because there is no other band like them, not now, and possibly not never.

Songs worthy of recognition: The Hero, Twilight of The Thunder God, Guardians of Asgaard, Where Is Your God?, Live For The Kill

Rating: 10/10 Tattered Banners

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