|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 14, 2009
Reviewed by: Jason Cominetto
for:Once Sent From the Golden Hall (Re-issue)
Rated 4.22/5 (84.44%) (18 Votes)
In the beginning of their musical career, Amon Amarth were an extremely simple band. At least that's the impression I get when I listen to the re-issue of their first album, Once Sent From the Golden Hall, and as a fan of the band who got in during Twilight of the Thunder God, this sound is both a blessing and a curse.
One of the most attracting aspects of Amon Amarth's music is its epic nature. Each song sounds like it would be used to pump up some sort of primeval army before a battle. This characteristic is due almost entirely to vocalist Johan Hegg, whose signs of being one of the most engrossing and heavy dudes in metal are clearly apparent, even on this, the band's first release. Though I'm not sure exactly what the guy is shouting about, I know it sounds epic as hell and he's doing his job right. The rest of the band back up Hegg fantastically by providing a solid structure and rhythm for every song never does anyone fall behind anyone else. Rarely do the guitarists solo, so it's hard to give them more musical merit than other Melodic Death Metal guitarists, but they do a great job of keeping the tempo, speed, and atmosphere of the songs.
Here is where Amon Amarth's main problem comes in, however. The simplicity of their music is a staple among their work, yet provides for a distinct lack of identity among the songs. If I listened to the whole album, found one riff I liked and wanted to find it again, it would take a decisively long time for me to locate it, since all the songs range from sounding vaguely to almost identically familiar at one point or another. Don't get me wrong; the music is some of the best Viking-themed Melodic Death around, yet I found it hard to really get into any tracks in particular (with the exception of "Abandoned," which is by the far the best song on the album).
This aside, Once Sent From the Golden Hall is a great album to listen to as a whole, but may not be the best when it comes to dissecting each song individually. It is bound to pump you up, but you will hardly find yourself aching to listen to that one song, with a few exceptions. The live tracks really don't do much to add to the collection, since they sound almost exactly like their studio counterparts, yet the band's raw power can be felt there still. This is an album to listen to time and time again, but don't expect the absolute classic it's been hyped up to be.
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