Norse Mythology with a flare
The Swedish melodic death metal band’s tenth studio album, Berserker shows that they have more to offer. Overall, their greatest success has been Twilight of the Thunder God which garnered them a lot of attraction across peak charts. 11 years later, and Amon Amarth has an album that rivals this material.
From the beginning, all the albums have been centered on Viking heritage and more closely, Norse Mythology. The channeling Norse Mythology can be seen by just looking at the titles of the songs like “Mjölner, Hammer of Thor,” “Skoll and Hati” and more. Respectively, Valkryia are female spirits who help Odin by choosing who lives and dies in battle while guiding those worthy to Valhalla; Skoll and Hati are wolves who pursue the sun and moon.
Content-wise, they stick with the same inspiration but are still able to come out with new, engaging material. History of any heritage has a lot to pull from so even ten albums of Viking Mythology doesn’t get old.
At first, the beginning of “Fafner’s Gold,” the opening track, throws people off because it starts with 30 seconds of soft acoustic guitar plucking, but then it shifts into electric riffs that are fitting with what people associate with Amon Amarth.
Another jarring aspect of the song is that there is a section of lyrics in which Johan Hegg, the vocalist, is talking as if pronouncing a prophecy. Compared to when the lyrics are sung in screaming vocals, the talking bit slows down the song and makes listeners feel the weight of the words, “insert your Fafner’s gold/ a dragon’s tail/ treachery unfolds/ deceit unveiled.”
Out of the 12 tracks, “Valkryia” stands out because of its powerful beginning and soft close, which seems contradictory, but the song makes it work. Before the impressive guitar riff pierces our eardrums, fans can hear the words “take one” be said and then the song starts. No other song on the album has this, so it’s notable. The last 40 seconds or so is where a beautiful piano sequence lightly flows around the ear canal and brings a piece, as if the female warrior is bringing listeners to Valhalla.
Overall, each song displays amazing guitar skills that could each get their own highlight blurb. While the riffs in “Valkryia” are long and drawn out, the ones in “Skoll and Hati” are swift and fast. But, each has their own merit and contribute to an album that long-time fans of Amon Amarth will enjoy, as well as newcomers checking them out.