Released: 2011, Metal Blade
We at the darkened Fortress of Steel that is Metal-Rules HQ, kinda dropped the ball on this album. We all loved it (mostly) and half a dozen of us rated it back in April for our Aggravated Assault series with an average score of 3.5 out of five. The thing is, we forgot to actually review it! Until now. I’ll jump on the grenade for the team this time and jot down a few thoughts.
Consistent, solid, predictable, reliable; all these adjectives apply to Amon Amarth. You can set your watch by it…every two years we get an Amon Amarth album on Metal Blade with some sort of kick-ass Viking dude on the front cover doing what he does, namely kicking ass. Pretty much everything is intact with the Amon Amarth dare I say it…formula. The formula is an 8-10 track album clocking in at 45 minutes or so, with most of the songs in the 3-5 minute range. The line-up has been the same for the last seven albums. They have the same producer for the third album in a row. They used the same studio for the third time in a row. Lyrics? Same old, same old Viking stuff. All good. And of course for the collectors there are multiple versions with various bonus tracks, DVD’s and region specific stuff.
Some might suggest that all that consistency might breed complacency. I don’t believe that to be true. When a band of Viking brothers are all together, firing on all cylinders with no distractions of line-up changes, member changes, producers trying to rework the bands sound, etc, a band can really thrive and get into a killer groove. That is where Amon Amarth are right now. It’s a good place to be because you can great some great quality Metal.
SURTUR RISING truth be told offers very little that’s different from previous outputs. Great, full bodied production with Hegg’s vocals loud and upfront most of the time. The tempos are mostly mid-tempo to fast but they do slow it down a bit for the cut ‘The Last Stand of Frej’. When you deal with some (very subtle) changes in songs from album to album it becomes difficult to pick favorite songs, let alone to be able to adequately describe them. This is better than the last couple albums in my opinion but I’ve read a few reviews that say exactly the opposite. These ten songs stick to my ribs and make me happy that Amon Amarth is among those leading the global charge in melodic Death Metal.