This is without a doubt the best band i’ve ever heard! dark, dark emotion and extremely insightfull themes. I STRONGLY urge anyone out their to get this and every other amon amarth CD out. (arivial of the fimbul winter, sorrow throughout the nine world, once sent from the golden hall)
Metal Album Reviews[RSS]
Pagans, don’t you just love them? Some bands claim to be of the pagan religion but are just fakes who want to have an original image. AMON AMARTH is a band consisting of real pagans so you know that what they sing is directly related to their beliefs. With that out of the way, I’d just like to say that this album features my favorite lineup. It’s not the same as on SORROW… which was a really good release. I find that this lineup has a better chemistry together. If you aren’t of the same opinion as me, just listen to FRIENDS OF THE SUNCROSS and it will change. Long live the mighty AMON AMARTH!
The remastered studio album offered here is louder and fuller sounding than the original–no surprise. This is a ferocious album by a band that would maintain its edge but add catchier and more engaging elements over time. But forget all of that: the second disc, a live beginning-to-end run through of Once Sent…, demonstrates how great this band has become. The authority and confidence with which they play these older tunes (during a 2008 performance) is astonishing, and the live disc just blows away the studio recordings, regardless of remastering. This package is good news for fans… if the plan at Metal Blade is to continue these two-disc rereleases and accompany the remastered tracks with live versions of the albums. Even those who already own these albums should consider the new versions–not only are the bonuses worth the investment, but Amon Amarth and their record company believe in value for your dollar: you get, essentially, two discs for the price of one from this band. Cool, right?
This is the Amon Amarth album out their for the purists. Its their most raw work of all their albums. Once Sent From The Golden Hall is mostly the sound of their demo/ep days but more matured, talented, and structured. If your looking for a release by Amon Amarth in the likes of The Crusher and Versus The World, this release is definatly not for you. Some consider this to be their best work, I considerate it to be on par with The Crusher, but hard to compare it to that album because they both have sounds different from each other.
A noticable differance on this album as compared to newer Amon Amarth releases, is that Yohan sings with a much deeper voice. On The Crusher and Versus The World Mr. Hegg sings in a more coherant voice that sounds more gargled or that is coming from the back of his throat. On Once Sent From The Golden hall Yohan singing seems to origonate from deep within his throat or stomach. Its a very deep singing style filled with volume. You’ll notice upon listening to this album that he doesn’t limit himself to this style. At times where the music requires a more screaming style vocal, Yohan will sing more from the back of his throat with a sound that is not as deep. It sounds more like he is grasping for air and letting the emotion of the song take him over. As if the lyrics were what was happening to him at this moment and he was singing them to you, showing his heart to you. These moments are few and far between but when they happen its quite amazing and will make for a memorable moment for the listening. I know they give me goosebumps. The majority of the vocals are a more stabble singing style like I desribed before, very deep vocals that have a little rhyrhym to them. They serve very well to deliver the interesting, intense, and enjoyable lyrical themes. The singing can get very emotion at times, usually at the climax of the songs, somewhere in the middle or end. The most noticable vocal work on this album Is done on Ride For Vengeance and Without Fear, perhaps the two most memorable songs on the album. Ride For Vengence starts off fast and strong with the vocals, they deliver alot of intensity and rage. Without Fear has some moments of pure energy and passion when Yohan screams portraying a man dying. Very passionate and moving, he sings as though he is becoming the person in the song, especially in without fear. Vocal work is amazing, bottom line.
The guitar work is equally amazing, with tons of fast complex riffs and great solo’s. The guitars work in an unusual way, the songs on Once Sent From The Golden Hall are not very centralized, so many guitar riffs are not repeated. This makes the songs interesting for that the guitars are ever changing throughout them, riffs are hardly repeated. There will be an attention grabing opening riff in a song, some more riffs throughout it that stand out while there is no singing, and a solo to top it off, all well done. The riffs sometimes take on an apocalyptic feel when they are slow, especially the opening riff of Amon Amarth (track 7). The general guitar work and riffs are heavy and fast. They drums play well with the guitars so the riffs have some added volume. Like I said the guitars don’t carry the songs, they change alot and don’t dictate how a song will sound. Most songs on here are have two main focuses, guitars and riffs, and the vocals. Each do something very interesting and can be apprieciated at the same time, they don’t take a backseat to eachother. The range of the guitars is also to be noted, they can be choppy, heavy, and brutal, and also rhythmic and melodic, or a combination of these adjectives. Most of the time they are heavy or melodic, but they always sound great.
These songs have some very memorable moments, like the Ending of The Dragons’ Flight Across The Waves has an intense and angry vocal chorus. Ride For Vengence will have a very fast a brutal intro that you will never forget and want more of. The middle to end of Amon Amarth becomes very passionate and emotional, the big draw of this song. Without fear has few great and memorable lines about halfway through the song. I would say each song on this album has something you will remember and make you want to listen to it time and time again. More specifically Ride For Vegeance and Without fear will stick in your heads as songs that you will come to this album for. The album starts out strong and goes out fighting (literally). This is for any straight foward death metal fan that likes a more heavy style of death metal. Its not brutal like some bands, but in its own way shows its brutality, mostly through lyrical themes. This album is flawless and timeless.
Intelligent music is a good thing. Music which appreciates the purpose of music as an art form, with thought provoking lyrics and ingenius song structures made to stimulate the mind. But sometimes all that thinking gets boring and you just want a big slab of huge riffs and crushing drums to blow your head off. And as of yet, there is no band out there who accomplish this to the same standard as Amon Amarth. So sit back, relax, and let the titanic wall of sound that is “Once Sent From The Golden Hall” blow you off your feet, and 99.9% of other metal bands out of the water.
Despite the fact that this is Amon Amarth’s oldest and rawest release, it is also, strangely, more infectious (I don’t want to say “catchy”) than most of their later work. The rhythm guitar sound on here is big, fast and crunchy, exactly what the modern day headbanger wants washing over their ears. What comes as more of a surprise though, is that the lead guitar is mostly made up of fast, tremolo picking, somewhat similar to “The Gallery” era Dark Tranquillity. A brave, yet wise move on Amon Amarth’s part as the alternation between monsterous, crushing riffs and the more atmospheric lead guitar helps build a nice balance between power and atmosphere, appropriate for a Viking metal album
The drumming on offer here is very worthy of mention. The drummer knows exactly what he is doing. The style is open, yet still satisfyingly powerful. It’s excellently in pace with the rest of the music, and the double bass pedal evokes all the power and brutality you could ask for.
Johan Hegg’s vocal performance is also astonishing. In general he alternates between a very deep, low growl, evoking the same thick, dense power of the instruments, and a more throaty rasp. Similarly to the guitars, this union of opposites helps blend the power and emotion essential to a Viking metal album. On “Once sent…” he belts out what I consider to be some of the best executed lines in all of metal, a particular favourite being his roar of “THE BATTLE RAGES!!!/BUT I HEAR ONLY RAINDROPS FALLING!!!” on “Without Fear,” the third track.
If any fault is to be found with “Once Sent…” it would be a meager one with the production. Considering the overall quality of the recording here, which correctly emphasises the thick, organic air of dense power present, it is a minor gripe. But in general, I found the guitars were too loud, often stifling the excelent double bass drumming and thereby costing “Once Sent…” some of the brutality it potentially had.
But, all things considered, this is a fantastic composition, combining raw power, sublime brutality and melodic harmonies in a way that few bands have ever accomplished. For anyone who just wants to thrash, this is an integral part of your collection. What are you waiting for?