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Amon Amarth: Jomsviking

It's time to venture back to Norse mythology once again with Amon Amarth and their latest album Jomsviking. Now while their style of melodic death metal hasn't altered greatly this isn't your usual Amon Amarth recording as Jomsviking is the band's first concept release. Amon Amarth have written an epic tale of love and revenge with the central character being a deadly Viking mercenary which were know as the Jomsviking. As you can actually understand what their vocalist is singing which isn't always the case with this kind of metal group at least you can follow the lyrics of this tale.

Long time drummer Fredrick Andersson departed the Swedish metal group in 2015, so Tobias Gustafsson (Vomitory) slotted into the role for the recording of Jomsviking and he sure gets the job done. Amon Amarth really got the tempo balance right on Jomsviking the album flows so impressively. They ramp up the pace for the melodic death metal of "First Kill" and once again they unleash those engaging dual guitar harmonies. "Wanderer" is a slower track and with quite a heavy groove and some more lively passages, Amon Amarth's metal wrath returns for the rampaging "On A Sea Of Blood" the tempo shifts on this one are so effective. The spirited metal continues as it's "One Against All" when the central character of this tale disposes of his enemies, then its time to "Raise Your Horns" and drink for those that have passed, with a chorus that gets stuck in your head this is Jomsviking's sing along tune which should be a big hit live.

As steel meets steel "The Way Of Vikings" features more of that mid-paced catchy Amarth style metal , "At Dawn's First Light" is a great track as guitarist's Johan Soderberg and Olavi Mikkonen turn it on and they do it again on the excellent "One Thousand Burning Arrows" an album highlight. "Vengeance Is My Name" and "A Dream That Cannot Be" which has guest vocals from Doro Pesch(Doro, Warlock) are both enjoyable tracks though I'm not totally sold on how well suited the female vocals on that second track actually are. Which leads us to "Back On Northern Shores", and the band gets somewhat adventurous on the final number that is also the longest song on Jomsviking.

Amon Amarth's tenth studio album is another rock solid slab of their addictive blend of melodic death metal featuring some of their catchiest tunes to date.

Track Listing
1. First Kill
2. Wanderer
3. On A Sea Of Blood
4. One Against All
5. Raise Your Horns
6. The Way Of Vikings
7. At Dawn's First Light
8. One Thousand Burning Arrows
9. Vengeance Is My Name (bonus track)
10. A Dream That Cannot Be (feat. Doro Pesch)
11. Back On Northern Shores

Added: March 30th 2016
Reviewer: Scott Jessup
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 1652
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Amon Amarth: Jomsviking
Posted by Simon Bray, SoT Staff Writer on 2016-03-30 09:02:14
My Score:

The press release for Jomsviking asserts, "Heavy metal is a way of life, but it is not for the faint of heart. The history of metal is strewn with fading memories of bands that fell apart when times were tough. But history is written by the victors, and Amon Amarth have been marching purposefully from triumph to greater triumph for the last two decades." Given the success of the tremendous Deceiver of the Gods (home of the unfeasibly epic "Warriors of the North") which made the top twenty in the USA and even climbed into the UK charts it is not inconceivable that now, quite late in their career, is the commercial high point for Amon Amarth.

I have a theory that the band have been edging ever so slightly towards the mainstream over recent releases. In no way have they turned into Adele or Justin Bieber but their brand of death metal whilst still being brutal and pounding has become more of a traditional type of metal with, as Scott notes above, vocals which are actually decipherable. There is so much to get your teeth into on Jomsviking such as the ultra-melodic "Raise Your Horns" which definitely will be a crowd pleaser in a live situation, the wonderful opening one-two punch of "First Kill" and "Wanderer". Where I differ slightly from Scott is that I like the contrast of Doro's voice on "A Dream That Cannot Be" with that of Johan Hegg although I could accept that it would possibly have fitted better on a Doro album. Jomsviking continues Amon Amarth's remarkable run of form and possibly, just possibly, world domination awaits the Vikings once more.

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