At the forefront of Viking themed melodic death metal, Sweden’s windmill masters Amon Amarth have transitioned their sound through their career. Beginning very much in a raw blackened death metal style, they eventually made their big melodeath breakthrough on 2004’s Twilight of the Thunder God. Turning up the melody, this allowed them to break through to being amongst the bigger names on the heavy metal scene today.
Đang xem: Amon amarth best album
Your serving of BBQ Audience is ready
Since then, their blackened roots have faded away and Amon Amarth have released slightly more radio friendly material as of late. They have remained remarkably stable as a band throughout their career. Switching rhythm guitarist and drummer shortly after their debut LP in 1998, this lineup remained unchanged up to today, save for another drummer change in 2015. Why always the drummers?
So gather round mighty Yggdrasil, and listen to the tale of ranking all Amon Amarth albums.
Unfortunately Jomsviking resides at the bottom end of the Amon Amarth albums. Not a bad one by any means, but is comfortably the most radio friendly of all their albums. May just be the long time listener in me, but not really what I want to hear from the seafaring folks. Technically this is their first concept album. But I think singing from a Viking ship on stage pretty much settles the concept already!
In isolation a very good album. However doesn’t really offer a huge amount of variance from their first 2 albums. As a result it feels a little stale and I don’t find myself coming back to this album a huge amount given the quality of The Avenger and Once Sent From The Golden Hall. This would also be the last album in the first phase of the Amon Amarth sound.
After the breakout success of Twilight of the Thunder God, Amon Amarth turned the heavy back up on Surtur Rising. There are some terrific songs on this album, War of the Gods and Destroyer of the Universe are killer tracks. Overall however there are some less interesting tracks on this album and feels like a slight step down from their barnstorming previous album. So this one unfortunately suffers as a result.
After the commercially focussed Jomsviking, Amon Amarth got the vessel back on course with Berserker. Hitting harder and faster as a result. There are plenty of obvious standouts at the front end of the album, Shield Wall being the peak. However at the latter end Skoll and Hati and Wings and Eagles pick up the pace. Broody closer Into the Dark harks back to albums of old. The variety on offer make Berserker a muscular pillar amongst Amon Amarth albums.
Deceiver of the Gods
The best album of phase 3 outside of Twilight of the Thunder God. Deceiver of the Gods put more focus on melody and makes it a significantly more well rounded and interesting album than previous album Surtur Rising. As a result its a much better album to listen through front to back. Rather than picking a couple of killer tracks for your ‘Conquering the Northern Shores’ playlist and moving on.
Continuing the theme of their mighty debut album, The Avenger continues the fast paced blackened death metal theme. The shortest Amon Amarth album at just 7 tracks and 36 minutes, it wastes no time in tickling those death metal fancies on opener Bleed For Ancient Gods. Whilst the variation and individual song writing prowess on the modern instalment of Amon Amarth is absent, there is something diabolically magical about the creepy melody of black metal entwined with a death metal underpinning that gives an unmatched feel.
With Oden On Our Side
In hindsight you can clearly see their musical evolution on With Oden On Our Side that would eventually see through onto their next album Twilight of the Thunder God. The strangled sound of Johan Hegg‘s voice here first evolved to a cleaner, throatier sound commonly associated with their later releases. The variety however keeps this up with the best of Amon Amarth albums. The up tempo Asator and album opener Valhall Awaits Me contrasting with the broody tale of Runes To My Memory – a live favourite.
Once Sent From The Golden Hall
As far a debut albums go, they don’t get a huge amount better than this. Raw, high tempo, uncompromising blackened death metal. Amon Amarth have evolved throughout the years and have largely left this brand of death metal behind. But there is no denying the brutal onslaught Once Sent From The Golden Hall delivers. Little did we know back in 1997 that these bearded fellows would 20 years later be one of the biggest bands in heavy metal.
Fate Of Norns
If you don’t know the mid tempo march of The Pursuit of Vikings then I can safely say you don’t know much about Amon Amarth albums. The perennial live set closer. Judge this album as containing only a single hit at your peril. Continuing the theme set on Versus the World with the mid tempo assault. Johan Hegg‘s voice is at its best when it sounds like he is being brutally murdered.
When the tracks slow down markedly, on Where Death Seems To Dwell and Arson, it adds extra texture to the sound. The strong storytelling feel to these slow songs is a particular Amon Amarth strength which sadly faded away as their career moved along.
Twilight of the Thunder God
If their debut album was phase 1 of their career, and the step into melodeath with Versus the World was phase 2, then Twilight of the Thunder God is firmly the step into phase 3 of Amon Amarth‘s musical style shifting. Turning the melody up, vocalist Johan Hegg ‘cleaning’ up his voice a wee bit and firmly placing a focus on song writing and audience participation made this their breakthrough album.
Breaking through on the international scene, the reason Amon Amarth are the one of the biggest bands in metal today can be pinpointed to the success of this album. The title track and Guardians of Asgaard are on every live set. Varyags of Miklagaard even brings the bouncy dance vibes! Above all though, the pure focus on great song writing makes this one of heavy metal’s greatest albums.
Versus the World
After the breakneck speed of their first 3 albums, Amon Amarth matured on Versus the World. Taking a heavier, mid tempo feel, the songs are much more dynamic and interesting and for me this is when they reached their peak. Allowing the tracks to routinely slow down makes the heavier parts stand out so much more. The tremolo picking is used more sparely too, adding to the dynamic quality.
It also gives a much more dark and broody feel to the album. Opening track Death In Fire was the first Amon Amarth track I ever heard and is still my favourite of their entire catalogue today. They have gone on to produce more career defining work, but they will never quite reach the peak of this death metal masterpiece.
For a review of metal in 2020 see the best metal albums and best metal songs.
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