Released: 2002, Metal Blade
Reviewer: Night of the Realm
CRUSHING VIKING DEATH METAL.
That term is synonymous with Amon Amarth, and the Swedes deliver just that with their latest, VERSUS THE WORLD, their best album since their first full-length, ONCE SENT FROM THE GOLDEN HALL.
I have been excited about this album since Metal Blade released the opening track, “Death In Fire” onto the internet several months ago. This track signifies everything Amon Amarth is about: epic lead melodies, a rhythm section that is the hammer of Thor himself, thundering double bass kicks, and of course, lyrical hymns sung high in praise to the mighty Norse warriors and Gods. What else can I say about this album except that it is at the level of excellence that we have come to expect from Amon Amarth?
Two slight musical changes really push this album to the forefront of Amon Amarth’s catalog. First is the guitar tone, downtuned and with the perfect amount of distortion, creating some of the fullest, richest guitar work the band has laid down to date. I find the guitars on VERSUS THE WORLD to have more of the epic, melodic flair shared with ONCE SENT, but still crushingly heavy. Secondly, vocalist Johann Hegg growls deeper and fiercer than ever. Everything else is up to par musically; it amazes me how Amon Amarth can keep the same style over so many albums and yet each one remains fresh and enticing. These guys just know how to write great songs!
While every track on VERSUS THE WORLD is very good, a couple of them especially stand out. First, the opener, “Death In Fire,” which is everything a metalhead could dream for, as well as, “Where Silent Gods Stand Guard,” with its driving chords and pummeling rhythm, as well as some great lead work. Finally “Thousand Years Oppression” is a brooding, angry track sure to get your warrior’s heart pounding.
VERSUS THE WORLD is another example of the great talent that Amon Amarth have carried through all their albums. Fans of the band, new, old, and yet to be will certainly love this album, so grab your sword, your ale, and drink up with several of your best comrades-in-arms, crank this one up, and join Amon Amarth as they usher in the days of Viking glory once more.