(9/10) Swedish death metal command Amon Amarth hase been in the studio for working on the bands tenth studio abum. "Jomsviking" is the name of the game and it is the first time that the vikings from Stockholm did a record that comes with a conceptual approach.
Amon Amarth tells a tragic story without any happy end, that includes love and revenge as the basic theme. The story line is based on the jomsvikings which has been a mercenary viking troop that was known for their mercilessness and ruthless. The myth around this gang is the background for the actual story which is about love and death of a young man, falling in love with a girl that is already promised to somebody else. All this leads to love, hate, murder and revenge ... with no happy end.
"First Kill" is the opener and it's a typical Amon Marth song. Hegg's vocals are great, as we know it from the predecessors. The same goes for the furious guitars that are another trademark of the Swedes.
It's a melodic guitar riff that kicks-off "Wanderer". The tune is kept in a more moderate pace, which doesn't mean that it isn't another heavy strike. This slow moving beast slowly creeps into your mind and you don't get rid of it anymore.
The third chapter of this yarn is called "On a Blood of Sea". Amon Amarth gears up again which makes the number to grooving melodic death metal anthem with some more classic guitarslines.
In general each of the eleven tracks on "Jomsviking" is on a very high level and it is hard to pick out some highlights. However, "Raise Your Horns" is another heyday moment since the track has a quite catchy chorus and a well placed sing-a-long part in the middle. This tune can becme a constant factor on Amon Amarth's setlists.
The following "The Way of Vikings" starts dramatic, almost like the start of a movie, before the Swedish storytellers add another heavy chapter to the book of "Jomsviking".
"At Dawns First Light" combines traditional Maiden-melody lines with the harsh vocals from Hegg, while the next real smasher is entitled "A Dream That Cannot Be". It is German metal queen Doro Pesch, that added some vocals to this special song. It's amazing how good the two voices fit together. Doro's voice sounds much darker and evil than what we know from the iconic singer. "A Dream That Cannot Be" might inspire Doro Pesch to add some of those more aggressive moments to her next longplayer. Let's wait and see.
In the end it is the seven minutes long "Back on Northern Shores" that rounds off one of the best, no, the best Amon Amarth album.
As you may expect, the sound of "Jomsviking" is outstanding. Andy Sneap was in control of the production and gave Amon Amarth a differenciated and dynamic sound that support the band's melodic death metal as well as it creates an atmosphere that supports transfering the story in itself.
The vikings of Amon Amarth embarks on some thrilling new adventures with their new concept album that lifts the band to a next level by still respecting their roots, their trademarks and their sound. Well done and a successful next step.
- First Kill
- A Sea of Blood
- One Against All
- Raise Your Horns
- The Way of Vikings
- At Dawns First Light
- One Thousand Burning Arrows
- Vengeance is My Name (bonus track)
- A Dream That Cannot Be (feat. Doro Pesch)
- Back on Northern Shores
Label: Sony Music
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Release Date EU: March 25th, 2016