|Review: Amon Amarth - The Avenger|
Label: Metal Blade Records
Year released: 1999
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Review online: March 24, 2003
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Nowadays Amon Amarth seem determined to turn themselves into a kind of death metal Manowar, but this isn’t the silly new CD "Vs the World", this is "The Avenger", the heaviest fucking album Amon Amarth have yet produced. A lot of people didn’t think they could follow up their stellar "Once Sent From the Golden Hall", but with this, their second full-length release, the Viking metallers proved everybody wrong.
"Avenger" does not vary stylistically from "Once Sent..", but the production is stronger and the vocals more vicious. There is not quite as much variety in the songwriting, and the songs are not, perhaps, as strong individually. But "Avenger" has a brutal, snarling edge to it, and at its best hits like a steel ax. The furious "Bleed For Ancient Gods", the rumbling attack of "North Sea Storm" and the eight-minute epic title track carry Amon Amarth to a new level of aggression.
Amon Amarth are not a chunky, riff-pounding band, nor do they subscribe to the standard school of melo-death. They rely on rolling guitar harmonies and a complex songwriting style that builds layers of sound. There are similarities to Dissection and even Runemagick, but really they have their own style. Those who like their death hyperfast will be disappointed, as Amon Amarth rarely speed up past midpace, and Morbid Angel or Nile-style double-bass drum kicks are almost nonexistent here. Amon Amarth songs roll along like thunderstorms, engulfing you completely and destroying everything in their path.
It’s a toss-up for me whether I like this album or "Once Sent From the Golden Hall" better, but they both kick major ass, so you can’t go wrong with either one. Don your war-helm, gird on your ax, and raise your battle-blade to the heavens. All hail Amon Amarth!
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