|Review: Amon Amarth - Versus The World|
|Versus The World|
Label: Metal Blade Records
Year released: 2002
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Review online: April 7, 2003
Reviewed by: Scott Murray
for:Versus The World
There’s something about this band that really irritates me. They have a huge amount of potential yet cannot break their streak of mediocre melodic-death metal releases. Aside from the lyrical content based on Norse mythology, there isn’t much that differentiates Amon Amarth from the rest of the popular Swedish crowd. Their latest effort "Versus the World" is an attempt at slower, "epic" songwriting, but really just manages to be another "Crusher" or "Avenger", disguised in slow motion. This obviously does more harm than good, since derivative Swedish metal is dull enough, but inhibiting itself to a snail’s pace only takes this time stealer to a new level of frustration. Even the hoarse growls of the powerful vocalist Johan Hegg have been watered down under lame vocal effects and the undeniable feeling that he really held back on this album. I mean, how can you take this guy seriously when he sounds like the monster from Disney’s "Beauty and the Beast" during his little spoken word intro on "Thousand Years of Oppression"? "Versus the World" just made me so damn impatient waiting for something that I knew wasn’t going to be delivered.
The opening track "Death in Fire" is a good set-up to what should have been an interesting gearshift for the band. Mid-paced and heavy with some catchy guitar work you can really shake your first to. This comes as no surprise to me, as this band is great at making track ones that rule. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that you can never judge an album by the first track.
I don’t understand what these guys are waiting for because I know very well that they can do much better than this. Maybe next time they’ll get it right.
Fans most likely won’t be disappointed by "Versus the World", or the fact that this album comes with a 14-track bonus disc containing "Sorrow Throughout the Nine Worlds" and the band’s demo "Thor Arise".
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