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With Oden on Our Side

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(52 Reviews)

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  • Amon Amarth sure took a different approach when the time came to write their newest album. It was a much more serious approach, as if the band finally decided to come together, concentrate, and gather ideas to make sure they got the exact sound they wanted. They decided to use a producer for the first time ever (the respectable and experienced Jens Bogren) instead of just an engineer, and the band members also quit their day jobs in order to devote all their energy to the new album’s songwriting and take their time when recording it. So did all of this hard work pay off? Oh, yeah! “With Oden On Our Side” is, without a doubt, Amon Amarth `s heaviest and most focused, refined, intense, inspired, epic, and all-around strongest effort to date. This is the release that Amon Amarth have been trying to put out ever since they first started making music well over a decade ago. Indeed, it is definitely safe to say that this Swedish fivesome have officially achieved true greatness.

    “With Oden On Our Side” is filled with all the usual Amon Amarth goodies: superb melodic solos, tasty harmonic leads, and gruff yet intelligible vocals. Great riffs, too. The guitarists never lose sight of the groove, and they create a virtual symphony of guitar licks (melodic, slow and heavy, fast and aggressive, and some that border on brutal) which are utilized for maximum variety. Yes, they might be fairly simplistic, but they are superbly strong and meaty, and they build off each other and flow together really well. The album’s main focus, though, is on good, mature, and powerful songwriting. The result is nine well-crafted, instantly memorable songs that are epic without being overly long, and always include plenty of irresistable hooks (which are frequently among the best you will hear in death metal), dynamics, texture, atmosphere, unexpected twists, tempo variation, and fairly intelligent, war-themed lyrics.

    Frontman Johan Hegg’s trademark growls do battle against strong, memorable, churning riffs and interlocking double bass thumps to create “Valhall Awaits Me,” a very rhythmic and headbangable album opener, and one that should a concert favorite in the near future. “Runes To My Memory” works similarly, with hefty, powerful riffing and a stomping drum beat, and gradually gains quite a bit of speed and momentum. This song is different, though, because it also features well-placed guitar harmonies, effortlessly contagious, melodic choruses, and memorable lyrics. Later on, “Gods of War Arise” and the title track are two classic-sounding Amon Amarth tunes, as is the catchy battlefield march-vibe of the set closer, “Prediction of Warfare.”

    The remainder of the songs, however, find the band stepping out of the box a little, and being a little experimental. For example, on “Asator” and “Cry of the Black Birds,” the Swedish quintet lets it rip with surprisingly thrashy tempos and blistering leads (and, in the case of the latter, pounding, almost blast beat-esque drumming, too.) Elsewhere, “Hermod’s Ride to Hell: Loke’s Treachery Part 1″ is a slowly building, epic hymn with a very dark, restrained and ominous mood. It’s bolstered by chunky, mid-tempo, galloping, and sometimes booming power chords and slow, insidious, spoken word-ish vocals. The song lightens up some, though, because a wealth of wonderful melodic licks are sprinkled into the mix. Finally, track eight, “Under the Northern Star,” is equally as mellow, and just might be the most melodic song this band has ever recorded. It’s highlighted by a gorgeous, soaring solo, chilling lyrics, and deliciously clean guitar leads that carry the song and might very well stick in the listener’s head for days to come.

    It is fairly hard to put one’s finger on exactly what category “With Oden On Our Side” falls under for sure. It is primarily a melodic death metal album, but it could sure be argued that it falls more in line with Viking, epic, folk, and/or traditional death metal. And it also has undeniable traces of black, speed, gothic, and doom metal. But it really doesn’t matter what genre you choose to say it is, just as long as you don’t call it anything besides an excellent record, and Amon Amarth’s masterwork. In short: all killer, no filler.

    Posted on January 2, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • One of the best metal albums of this decade. Second only to Vs The World for this band. Production quality is the best yet, and you can tell the band worked very hard to give us a true metal tour de force. Johan proves once again why he’s one of the best in the business. His delivery is brutal, but somehow clear enough to understand, which is rare for a death vocalist. The Soderberg/Mikkonen guitar duo should get a grammy for this effort. These guys keep putting out pure, crystalline metal, album after album. And the rhythm section of Andersson and Lundstrom could not be tighter, providing the band that classic Amon Amarth “wall of sound.”

    There are no bad tracks on this CD. Highlights are Runes to My Memory, with a great chorus riff that just sticks in your head; Gods of War, where the first 2 minutes alone are just glorious viking metal; Asator, unreal riffs; and With Oden On Our Side, which seems to raise the gods from their slumber by itself!

    Amon Amarth is able to do what many bands cannot- they innovate within their genre. These guys know where their strengths are and keep hammering away at it! Yet, their true gift is that they can give us these great epic metal assaults over and over without sounding stale. Each album is unique, but all are still connected with familiar themes: vikings, norse gods, battle and adventure. Combine this with some of the best riffs ever devised and you get classic metal for the ages.

    Posted on January 2, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • For those looking to corrupt your friends from ‘normal’ Heavy Metal to the darker side of Death Metal, this might be the perfect CD. My background is that I used to like all kinds of music (except Rap and Country), then started liking Queensryche a lot, then got hooked on Metal of all kinds (except Death and Black).

    My friend who hooked me on Metal, likes the heavier stuff, especially Death. I listened to it a few times but it never grabbed me. I didn’t MIND it, as it became basically ‘white noise’ which worked fine as background music, but it wasn’t anything I would have put into the CD player on my own.

    Then I saw this CD in a Borders’. Read a review of it on one of their various computers scattered around. Almost bought it, didn’t, and asked my friend to bring it over sometime. Immediately on hearing it I knew I really liked the music. The vocals, well, they didn’t grab me but the odd thing was I could understand them (the first time that’s really happened).

    So I picked up the CD. I still can’t listen to it over and over, and usually it gets put into a mix, but I _do_ like it. The melody of the guitars and drums workes very nicely, and the voice isn’t too overpowering. Plus, the lyrics, if you read them, are well done and evocative. It only gets a 4 because I’m not very experienced in the genre and it’s NOT one of my top 10 Metal CDs. As a crossover (from normal to Death metal) CD though, it might just rate a 5.

    Posted on January 2, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I noticed that this album is in the 600’s on the best selling amazon list. That’s pretty good for an underground metal band i would say. I’m glad that a good band is finally getting noticed. In case anyone doesn’t know, Amon Amarth is a band that plays a style of death metal dubbed “viking metal”. Their lyrics, their image, their music is based upon the epic soundscapes of vikings, norse mythology, and battles of honor and glory. They are much like their death metal cousins, bolt thrower, in that respect. While bolt thrower pummels us with brutal vocals and riffs everywhere, Amon Amarth throws in deep throat vocals (that can still be understood somehow; what an amazing singer they have!) and a melodic but heavy wall of sound….much like an approaching army! Over the last few releases, AA have gotten a bit more melodic than their earlier stuff but they get their point across just as well as ever.

    Their previous efffort, the fate of norns, was a good release but it was way too melodic and slow, even by AA standards. With this release, they pick up the pace quite a bit and once again find the perfect balance between heavy and melodic, epic and to the point.

    Tracks 3, 5, 6, and 9 are my favorites. 3 is easily the heaviest, fastest song on the album and it pummels you until the exact second it’s over. Track 9 is a slower (but still retardely heavy) track that captures perfect the epic sound of AA. On this sound, you have the melodic guitar, the slower melodic parts, the heavier guitar with the faster, more crunchy parts. The vocals, drums, and bass on this song all come togther with the others and create a very strong song, one of AA’s best. The atompshere on this song is very very dark and full of despair and hoplesness. I love it.

    Posted on January 2, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • This is definately Amon Amarth’s best album to date, and that is saying a lot. I’ve been a fan of these guys’ Viking influenced Death metal for a long time. What really sets Amon Amarth apart from typical Death metal is the fact that they have a lot of melody to their work. There’s a lot of high tremolo picking and whatnot. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still plenty of double bass to go around, there’s just an overall epic feel to their sound. So what makes this album so special? It just seems as if they pushed their song writing up a few notches. You can pretty much understand their singer and everything he’s saying. The solos have gotten alot better. These guys really set it off with this record! This is definately up there for one of the bests of 2006.

    Posted on January 2, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now