After the decent but somewhat lackluster Fate of Norns, Sweden's masters of Viking Metal, Amon Amarth, come roaring back with the solid With Odin On Our Side a rip snortin' collection of deathly heavy metal that will have you raising your fist in the air and banging your head in no time. While their last album really put the band on the map, it was their previous platter Versus the World that fans really look to as the definitive statement from the band. With Odin On Our Side may not top that classic, but it's a kick ass blast of death metal nontheless.
Most of the tried and true Amon Amarth formula is here, so don't expect any surprises, but the songs seem to be heavier and more epic sounding this time around. Led as always by the gravelly growls of frontman Johan Hegg, who you can always imagine screaming into the microphone, shirt off, sword in one hand and either a pint of lager or leg of mutton in the other, the rest of the band rampaging triumphantly behind him. The guitars of Johan Soderberg and Olavi Mikkonen are brutal yet so melodic on "Gods Of War Arise", as they pummel with crushing riffs and tantalize your sophisticated senses with plenty of harmony parts. Lyrically, you get stories of warriors, sword battles, storms, horses, long journeys, and various other Viking related situations, so it's entertaining to read along while the band gallops through one bombastic piece after another. The title track is a chugging number with lots of intricate yet thunderous drum and guitar parts, plus the lethal yet catchy vocal lines from Hegg. In fact, that's a formula that you can expect for most of the album, and while for some that may be a tad predictable, overall this is quality stuff that draws more on classic early 80's metal like Judas Priest or Iron Maiden that it does from modern day death metal-if you don't believe that listen to the galloping and epic sounds of "Cry Of The Black Birds", especially the super-charged and melodic lead harmony lines and intricate riffs. Heavy, complex, yet very melodic.
So get your axe, sword, and shield ready, hop on your stallion and get ready for battle -as long as you have "Odin on your side", you are sure to be victorious. So sayeth Amon Amarth-hails!
1. Valhall Awaits Me
2. Runes To My Memory
4. Hermod's Ride To Hel-Lokes Treachery Part 1
5. Gods Of War Arise
6. With Oden On Our Side
7. Cry Of The Black Birds
8. Under The Northern Star
9. Prediction Of Warefare