Normally when I review albums I like to keep them playing in the background, as this gives me a point of reference and keeps everything fresh in my mind, however this is hard with Amon Amarth’s ‘Surtur Rising’ as I constantly find myself head banging and playing air guitar (Especially to the save the world type solo in opening track ‘War Of The Gods’). The strange thing is Amon Amarth should have by now become boring and repetitive as let’s be honest they haven’t changed their formula from the day they started, it leaves my wondering why i keep listening then i remember the reason I do is because they are fun, they make great metal songs and combine that with Viking mythology and how can you possibly go wrong doing that?
The album opens with ‘War of the Gods’ which is an absolute battering ram of a song, stupendously heavy, brilliantly melodic and everything you come to expect from Amon Amarth, a classic track that combines huge battle ready riffs, quick trem picking and a proper full on save the world solo, a great way to start the album. Track three ‘Destroyer of the Universe’ is the soundtrack to the apocalypse I’m sure… had the rapture predictions been true this is the track that would have been playing, it is a massively aggressive song that will no doubt leave a lot of sore necks in it’s wake from the compulsory head banging and wind milling, despite the hard and fast nature it still manages to feature some good shred and even some old school guitar duelling shenanigans. Midway through the album we get the slower but undeniably epic ‘The Last Stand of Frej’ this song has a really doomy feel and just when you think your neck will recover due to the slower nature it unleashes some pure guitar chugging that shows you (and your neck) no mercy. Track eight ‘Wrath of the Norsemen’ comes along with another dose of pure chuggability that leaves your fist pumping and head on the verge of falling off from all that has preceded it, this song culminates in the distinctly sing along (or should that be growl along) ‘Somebody save me, no one can save me’ ending chorus. Finally the version that I have also includes the bonus track cover of System of a Down’s ‘Aerials’, despite the differences in the bands sounds they do the song justice and put their own twist on the song, making it ferocious and savage in a way only Amon Amarth can.
So if you are looking for a fun Viking inspired, heavy melodic death metal album then look no further than Amon Amarth’s latest offering. I’m almost certain that the sole purpose of Amon Amarth is to make the world realise that Vikings are cool, and lets be honest they are.. and that’s part of what makes them a great band, despite their sound remaining basically the same, with little progress from album to album. Amon Amarth have aligned themselves in a certain niche in the market and are adamant about staying there and lets face it the fans wouldn’t have it any other way! Welcome back Amon Amarth.
1. War of the Gods
2. Tock’s Taunt – Loke’s Treachery Part II
3. Destroyer of the Universe
4. Slaves of Fear
5. Live Without Regrets
6. The Last Stand of Frej
7. For Victory or Death
8. Wrath of the Norsemen
9. A Beast Am I
10. Doom Over Dead Man
‘War of the Gods’, ‘Destroyer of the Universe’, ‘The Last Stand of Frej’, ‘Wrath of the Norsemen’