Amon Amarth
Twilight of the Thunder God

On first listen I thought Twilight of the Thunder God sounds good but not as good as the last one, by the tenth listen I am anticipating the music, nice catchy riffs, cool melodies, tremendous power, you know the formula, by the twentieth listen it felt like an old friend, a classic and I’ve only had it a week. I’m sitting here on a Wednesday, the disk is being released in Sweden and Finland today, and in the rest of Europe on Friday and Monday. North America gets it the following Tuesday. It is only fitting it should have been released on a Thursday, and that is my only gripe with this album. Seriously.

The main thing I look for in Amon Amarth is consistency. They know what works in the studio and they stick with it, so sound quality is always spot on. They also know what image they want the songs to fit within, and they always do. Pick any release and any song would fit on any other release. Overall this is a diverse album, as long as you describe diverse as fitting within the confines of the predetermined Amon Amarth sound. Not only is there fast powerful riffing and high tempo drumming, but also somber melodies and heartfelt sorrow expressed with grace. “Embrace of the Endless Ocean” is an album closer that makes you pause in what you are doing and take notice. It also makes you hesitate in starting up another disc as you devote some time to reflection.

“Tattered Banners and Bloody Flags” grabs your attention with the drum rolls to start and keeps it with the guitar leads. “Where is your God?” has repeating riffs that will haunt your dreams they are so memorable. No need to mention the growls of Johan, as dynamic and powerful as ever and once again they dominate in the mix. And, as always he has a story to tell and he relates it beautifully. A few years back Johan told me his favorite passage from the Eddas is Ragnarok, and now he has successfully scripted the story for this album, a continuation of “The Arrival of the Fimbul Winter”, “Burning Creation” and “…and Soon the World Will Cease to Be,” the title track is Thor’s battle with Jormungandr, as magnificently rendered on the album cover. The song is a frenzy befitting this monumental battle that decides the fate of the world, easily one of the most powerful songs that band has ever written. Olavi Mikkonen is in top form.

About two years ago I started loading all my CDs and records into my computer in anticipation of getting an ipod. According to itunes I have 2148 bands represented and only one band has received more airplay in the last two years than Amon Amarth; Enslaved. There is something to be said about the company you keep… In addition to the cd release there will be a 2CD & DVD digipack, a double etched LP (1500 copies), a picture disc LP (500 copies) and a ‘Bubblehead’ edition (2000 copies). Does Twilight of the Thunder God measure up to the damn near perfect With Oden On Our Side? Damn straight it does.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Grimulfr
September 18th, 2008

Comments

  1. Commented by: axiom

    Smashing review Grimulfr. I was hoping this would be as good as “With Oden…”. The CD/DVD edition sounds like a birthday request for me.


  2. Commented by: Staylow

    I’m a relative newbie to the AA camp, first discovering and taking notice of them when I first “The Pursuit of Vikings” – that melody is incredible. WOOOS was the first album that I truly got acquainted and spent time with, and I love it. I think I may like this one even more. Every song is killer, but my faves have got to be the first three and “Live for the Kill”. Great stuff.


  3. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    Not quite as good as WOOOS, but certainly a fine record, and better than the likes of The Crusher, Fate or Norns, and The Avenger


  4. Commented by: Belgarath

    I really can’t wait to get this one. Great review.


  5. Commented by: Erik

    Great review. I will be picking this up. Enslaved is also my first choice when looking for something to spin. They continue to grow not just change like some other bands looking for new listeners. Hasta!


  6. Commented by: Cynicgods

    I’d buy that blindly just for the magnificent depiction of the thunder god and the world serpent, but I’m really glad it comes from one of my favorite death/viking bands. I NEED THIS!!!!


  7. Commented by: Vance

    Amon Amarth rule!!! but thought I would revive this from the past:

    Do Not Like Amon Amarth
    by “Infernal” Keith Bergman

    Once, in the land of Zimble-boo,
    Where honkweed grew and brimbles flew,
    There lived two fans of heavy metal
    Who had a great big score to settle.

    One, named Nod, was into stuff
    That could never be True enough
    He always said to his friend Barth,
    “I do not like Amon Amarth.”

    Barth, instead, was just the kind
    To try and have an open mind
    He worshiped metal in all its forms
    And any music outside the norm.

    At the Frizz-Frazz Works, all day they worked
    And Barth thought Nod a tiresome jerk
    For from his truck, he would go get
    Graveland, Darkthrone and Negurã Bunget.

    “I have here bootleg tapes of Mayhem,
    I will not hesitate to play them.
    They feature both Dead and Euronymous
    You don’t like these? Ha! You wuss!

    Their freezing grimness frightens thee
    And flays your soul and sanity.
    Thou art untrue, my weak friend Barth.
    That’s why you like Amon Amarth.”

    “But Nod,” Barth said, his voice a-quiver
    “I have catalogs from Spinefarm and Shiver,
    Necropolis and House of Kicks
    Some bands have learned a few new tricks.

    And while it’s true these newer bands
    Have killed no one by their own hands
    There is no law in Zimble-boo
    That says all metal must be true.”

    “Fuck off, you poser!” Nod exclaimed.
    “May thy weak ass perish in flames!
    The corporate labels are your friends,
    To them you look for mindless trends.

    “I will not like your Borknagar,
    So please don’t play it in your car,
    I’d sooner hacksaw off my ear
    Than listen to Dimmu Borgir

    “God Dethroned just makes me laugh
    Cradle of Filth incurs my wrath
    And most of all, my lame friend Barth,
    I do not like Amon Amarth.”

    “But would you like them, Nod, if soon
    They did a record for Full Moon?”
    “Not e’en on vinyl, you buffoon;
    I would not like them on Full Moon.”

    “But would you like them, Nod my friend,
    If they did a record for The End?”
    “Those corporate followers of trend?
    Not on your life. I will not bend!”

    “Well, how about Necropolis?”
    “On them I take a healthy piss!”
    “Surely you like Misanthropy.”
    “You Christian tool, begone from me!

    “Please do not mention Hammerheart
    Those thieves of diabolic art
    Your head is so far up your ass
    You might as well say Nuclear Blast

    “And mention not Century Media
    Or else I will be forced to beat-y ya
    Please, Metal Blade? Have you no balls?
    Those bastards signed the Goo Goo Dolls!!”

    “But Nod,” Barth cried, “this band is good
    They hate the Lord, just as they should
    Their sound is great, which is what you get when
    It’s engineered by Peter Tagtgren

    And though it’s all been done before
    It kicks much ass, you can be sure
    So take it from your old friend Barth,
    You’d really like Amon Amarth.”

    At this, Nod flew into a fit
    And tore poor Barth to little bits
    He murdered him with Satan’s might
    Then went to jail without a fight

    And there, he only got to hear
    What people taped for his imprisoned ear
    He could not buy from catalogs
    From Breath of Night or from Moonfog

    No compact discs could he possess
    Only dubbed tapes, to his distress
    But then one day, he got a mix
    From some homely Goth pen-pal chick

    She taped him Emperor and Dawn
    Dark Funeral and ApollyoN
    She even filled all of side two
    With bands like Opeth and Lilitu.

    And when our Nod was forced to hear
    These different bands, his pagan ear
    Was startled, and his beady eyes
    Did widen in complete surprise

    He liked these bands! Yes, quite a bit!
    It made old Darkthrone sound like shit!
    It wasn’t kvlt, to be quite fair
    But, he realized, he didn’t care!

    And on the end of this cassette
    One more surprise waited yet
    Amon Amarth, the very band
    That made Nod kill his bestest friend

    The final song that was in store,
    “God, His Son, and Holy Whore,”
    From The Avenger, their new CD,
    Came blasting out of Cell Block Three.

    Why, Nod was startled and perturbed:
    “Where is this place called Gothenburg?
    That buzzsaw sound, these catchy songs
    I could enjoy this all day long!

    “I’ve seen the error of my ways
    But who is this right now that plays?”
    He checked the listing on the tape,
    Then laughed and said “For goodness sake!

    “Barth, had I but listened to thee
    You’d be alive, and I’d be free
    So hey, I owe ya one, ol Barth
    I do so like Amon Amarth!”


  8. Commented by: axiom

    HAAA! EPIC Amon Seuss!


  9. Commented by: Juan Manuel Pinto

    Infernal combustion used to be the best! Hail “Infernal” Keith!


  10. Commented by: vegard

    “It also makes you hesitate in starting up another disc as you devote some time to reflection”

    wtf, isn’t this fucking amon amarth we are talking about? reflection???


  11. Commented by: Deepsend Records

    This album was spoiled only by the fact that I received the new Enslaved “Vertebrae” album at the same time. By default, Enslaved trumps any other metal band in my opinion. At any rate, I agree with Erik, not as good as WOOOS, but still leaps and bounds above most metal albums this year.


  12. Commented by: Grimulfr

    “It also makes you hesitate in starting up another disc as you devote some time to reflection”
    wtf, isn’t this fucking amon amarth we are talking about? reflection???

    I didn’t say consult the Dali Lama for spiritual awakening


  13. Commented by: Chris

    Amazing as expected. The title track is easily in their top 5 songs ever, I’ve decided.


  14. Commented by: fightingmike

    I love this record! I think I might like some of the songs on VS The World better, but i love the recording and catchiness of every song on here. AWesome and consistent band.


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