Thursday, October 19, 2006

With Oden on Our Side

Posted on Thu, Oct 19, 2006 at 4:00 AM

With Oden on Our Side
Label: Metal Blade
Length: LP
Rated: NONE
Media: CD
Format: Album
WorkNameSort: With Oden on Our Side
One of the strongest and most effective melodic death metal bands on the planet, the thing that most commonly identifies Amon Amarth is also the thing that makes them seem completely ridiculous. Namely, that this Swedish powerhouse is not just a melodic death metal band, but a Viking death metal band. (No, they don't dress up like Vikings; they just sing about them a lot.) For their first few albums, this was a charming conceit; with 2004's Fate of Norns it became redundant. Their new album has them proclaiming to have Oden ' Oden ' on their side. It's a shame that the group's lyrics are thick with lines like 'The Irish fought us wellâ?� or 'Thunder rolls across the plains/Thor rides in pouring rain,â?� because Amon Amarth's music evokes a soaring power that's more threatening than a fleet of ax-wielding Norsemen. The group's sturdy, propulsive percussion and epic, chunky riffage is at peak effectiveness on Oden, but the facility with which vocalist Johan Hegg switches between a guttural (but intelligible) death growl and throaty, melodic aggression is what makes them so impressive. Too bad he's not singing about something besides Vikings.

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