|Review: Amon Amarth - Once Sent From the Golden Hall (Re-issue)|
|Once Sent From the Golden Hall (Re-issue)|
Label: Metal Blade Records
Year released: 2009
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Review online: March 12, 2009
Reviewed by: Christopher Foley
for:Once Sent From the Golden Hall (Re-issue)
Rated 4.22/5 (84.44%) (18 Votes)
My first taste of Sweden's mighty Amon Amarth was with last year's superlative Twilight of the Thunder God. After hearing that album, I was curious to hear what led Sweden's own Viking warriors to that awesome sound they have now. What better way to start than the re-issue of their debut album Once Sent From The Golden Hall. Surprisingly enough, their sound has changed very little over the years. Sure singer Johan Hegg's vocals have become a lot deeper, and their sound has become a little more streamlined though really there's nothing much different here. What I really like about Amon Amarth is that they manage to evoke brilliant Viking imagery purely through their lyrics and instruments. No samples, choirs or keyboards are needed here, just pure smoldering musicianship. I get some pretty vivid imagery in my mind listening to this, a grand image of stoic Vikings with a sheer look of grim determination painted over their faces, riding through raging seas in their dragon boats ready to hit the shore. That's pretty damn Heavy Metal in my eyes.
Sargon pretty much hit the nail on the head with his review of this album, therefore I feel I have little to add in this review. There are some absolutely mind blowing tracks on offer: "The Dragons' Flight Across The Waves" is pretty damn punishing, a track I would show people who had previously heard nothing from Amon Amarth. Certainly one of the few acts around that manages to walk the thin line between melody and aggression. Where a lot of Swedish acts rely on clean vocals and guitar passages to add melody, Amon Amarth show this through skull-crushing riffs with a melodic accent to them, and sublime guitar harmonies give a great melodic feel too. Few bands manage to achieve this - Arch Enemy and Dark Tranquility being two pretty good examples. "Victorious March" is like the ultimate foot stomper; it's hard not to appreciate and again a great example of everything good Amon Amarth have to show the world. As a bonus track we have another version of "Victorious March" entirely in German. I'm not sure as to when this was recorded but it sounds a little more modern, not really necessary but still a pretty nice bonus.
With the re-issue, we are treated to a second disc consisting of Once Sent From The Golden Hall in its entirety live, recorded in 2008 in Bochum, Germany. Certainly a nice bonus for the fans and it's interesting to hear the band playing the album in its entirety 10 years after its initial release. If you're an Amon Amarth fan you probably already own this, otherwise pick this up because it's absolutely fantastic. Easily one of the finest Melodic Death Metal bands on the scene to day.
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