Amon Amarth
With Oden On Our Side

I’ll make no secret of it, I happen to think Amon Amarth have been treading water for the last few albums, and frankly I have not ‘really’ enjoyed an album from these Norse death metal warriors since Once Sent From the Golden Hall. However, with album number six (and a more simple cover more akin to Once Sent…), Amon Amarth have a renewed sense of pillaging, crunchy and epic Viking death metal that sees them atop their game once again.

First of all, a change in studio from Berno to Jens Bogren and Fascination Street Studios has given the band some clarity amid their melodic yet sturdy sound, including Johan Hegg’s stout growls. The guitar tone is less ‘mushy’ and riffs (especially the faster ones) stand out more, but with this album’s focus on slower, more epic tracks, the production is less prominent, but it does serve to highlight the album’s more controlled gait. Fear not though brave Huscarles, Amon Amarth still rage with a Viking fury and understated melodic savagery, but more of the tracks on With Oden On Our Side are more marching, stern anthems of rousing, mid paced glory than blistering death metal.

A few of the tracks are more up-tempo (but still relatively restrained) shield smashers, as opener ‘Vahall Awaits Me’, single ‘Runes To My Memory’ and ‘Asator’ show that Amon Amarth can still hack away with a more brutal, yet precise death metal attack. However, the album’s (many) standouts are the slower, truly epic tracks; the superb canter of ‘Hermod’s Ride to Hell’, rousing crunch ‘Gods of War Arise’, surprisingly somber ‘Cry of the Blackbirds’ and ‘Under A Northern Star’, and personal favorite, the blood pumping war march of ‘Prelude to War’, arguably the band’s most rousing number since ‘Victory March’.

Amon Amarth are a model of consistency, the steady keel of a long ship driving through the churning waves of death metal’s ebbs and flows and With Oden On Our Side is a testament to that consistency that shows the old warriors are still a force to be reckoned with.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
October 3rd, 2006

Comments

  1. Commented by: Old Pick Axe

    An absolute masterpiece. “Valhall Awaits Me,” “Runes To My Memory,” “Asator,” “Hermod’s Ride To Hel” and “Gods Of War Arise” are all slayers. Once I almost caused a 27-car pileup rocking the hell out to “Gods Of War Arise” so that alone should testify to the majesty of this album.


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