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                                 Twilight of the Thunder God

AMON AMARTH – Twilight of the Thunder God

  Metal Blade 2008

Review 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.

        The band follows this with "Free Will Sacrifice", a mid-speed crusher with epic feel, and the sludgy, monolithic riffage of guitarists Olavi Mikkonen and
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 Endless Ocean". 

        While it is true that Amon Amarth presents little new on this release, a fact some critics seem to be hanging their helms on, what is presented is an
example of perfectly executed epic death metal, resplendent with monster riffs and huge, cinematic choruses. Twilight of the Thunder God is a concise
statement of power, filled with undeniably catchy, crushing melodies that lodge in your brain, only to be unearthed once more when you awaken a few days
from now. And if that's not enough, it's wrapped in the most sublimely metal cover ever, as Thor bitch-slaps the World Serpent with Mjolnir in full glorious color. 

        The more I listen to Twilight of the Thunder God, the more I love it.  I bow before the might of Amon Amarth. 9/10

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

  Copyright  2008 S J Holetz

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