Type: CD Company: Metal Blade Release: 2013 Genre: Death Reviewer: Greg Watson Published: 7/19/2013
Melody and malicious riffing
Those of us metal heads that are a fan of all things death metal are well acquainted with Amon Amarth, the warriors of Sweden. For years, these Nordic metallers have been pummeling skulls and causing ears to bleed with their brand of sonic, melodic death metal. "Deceiver of the Gods", their latest release, delivers the band's best album yet to date.
From the outset, "Deceiver" brings the goods and then some. Drawing their lyrical inspiration from the history of the Vikings and their mythology, Amon Amarth tells a story on each album that encapsulates the listener and transports them straight to the interior of Valhalla. Melodic and anthemic, the title track immediately goes straight for the jugular. With incredibly heavy riffs, melodic guitar choruses and vocalist Johan Hegg's black/death vocals assaulting your ears, it's a hell of a way to start off the album.
And just when you think there's no way they can top that, "As Loke Falls" begins and renews the aural assault. Track for track, there isn't a bad song on this album. Guitarists Olavi Mikkonen and Johan Soderberg combine melody and malicious riffing to give you some of the best melodic death metal guitar work that is out there currently. Drummer Fredrik Andersson and bassist Ted Lundstrom bring up the rhythm section and equal the brutality and tempo of the guitar duo, giving you the perfect balance and accompaniment to the guitars.
The thing that's always fascinated me with Amon Amarth is their use of Norse Mythology to use in their songwriting process and bringing those legends back into the mainstream as ways of tying their songs together into a giant, epic adventure. Listening to an Amon Amarth album is akin to watching a Lord of the Rings movie or any mythologically based film. It really is an experience reading the lyrics and listening to the album. You at times feel as though you are by Odin's side or lurking in the shadows in the presence of gods.
The production on the album is some of the clearest and tightest that I've heard on a death metal album in quite a while. There are so many producers who focus on the vocals and guitars and don't even bother to try and tie everything together. But when you use producer extraordinaire Andy Sneap, this is exactly the production that you get. And with that perfect production and the quality of the album, this is the band's best work to date. If you're unsure of this, check out the songs "Deceiver of the Gods", "Blood Eagle" and "Hel".
Failing to pick up this album would be a grave mistake and one that will leave you kicking yourself for not picking up the best death metal album so far from this year. "Deceiver of the Gods" is going to be hard to top as far as death metal releases go and will definitely be in my Top 5 of the year. So do yourself a favor and go pick this one up.
About this Writer: Greg Watson // Greg Watson has been hooked on the loud and heavy sounds since the summer of 1994 when he first heard the opening notes of "Operation: Mindcrime" by Queensryche. Since then his tastes have expanded and grown like the ever evolving heavy metal tree of genres. He has been an active member of Maximum Metal off and on for 10 years. In his spare time, Greg enjoys deciding the fate of his loyal subjects in the realm of Skyrim and secretly playing air keyboard to "Separate Ways" by Journey when no one is watching. He currently resides in Roanoke, VA with his wife and his metal wannabe beagle.
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