– Twilight of the Thunder God
by S J Holetz
Horns of warning sound
along the coastline, as Amon Amarth [Link], [MySpace] storm the shore
once more with
bloody steel and fire in their eyes,
to deliver another huge slab of Swedish Vi-Kingly death metal. The latest in a long line of strong releases, Twilight of The Thunder God is increasingly
becoming my favorite of the bunch.
As soon as you hit play, the title track comes blasting through the speakers like a runaway freight train, it's massive hook dragging you along behind
the mighty roar of frontman Johan Hegg, whose massive voice holds sway over all. After the amazing chorus, a mid-paced breakdown segues into a reprise
of the main riff, culminating in a grin-inducing techy flourish that launches the scorching olo from guest soloist Roope Latvala of Children Of Bodom.
Anthemic and driving, Twilight of The Thunder God is the perfect metal opener.
band follows this with
"Free Will Sacrifice", a mid-speed crusher with epic feel, and
the sludgy, monolithic riffage of guitarists Olavi Mikkonen
Anders Hansson in "Guardians of Asgard". This song is collossal, with production that leaves the guitars sounding fat and crunchy, and a chorus reinforced
by the awesome pipes of The Entombed's LG Petrov.
Sheer speed is next on
the agenda, with the careening "Where is Your God", followed by
the thunderous intro from drummer Fredrik Anderrson that
heralds "Varyags of Miklagaard"; another righteous battle hymn that begins with a brilliantly melodic opening riff, which soon shifts to a chorus that nods to
In Flames as it gallops past towards a huge finish.
"Tattered Banners and Bloody Flags", kicks off with a stuttering riff, which maintains it's deathly feel even as it grafts a New Order-esque chord
progression with pure glistening steel. This is followed by the marching chug of "No Fear for the Setting Sun,", and "The Hero", a mercenary tale with a
magnificent hook every bit as catchy as the last album's "Runes To My Memory."
"Live for the Kill" ups the crunch factor once more, buffeting the ear with sheets of steel and another epic chorus on a platter full of them, yet where
other bands might throw in the cheesy keyboards for atmosphere, Amon Amarth instead employs the cellos of Apocalyptica, another excellent touch.
This soon gives way to the grandiose finale "Embrace of the
1. Twilight Of The Thunder God
2. Free Will Sacrifice
3. Guardians Of Asgard
4. Where Is Your God?
5. Varyags Of Miklagaard
6. Tattered Banners And Bloody Flags
7. No Fear For The Setting Sun
8. The Hero
9. Live For The Kill
10. Embrace Of The Endless Ocean