Friday, July 31, 2009

Amon Amarth - Twilight Of The Thunder God

Often you come across bands that make albums and go on to become stars in the making and you come across great bands producing albums who go on to become legends in the making.With Twilight of the Thunder God Amon Amarth marches on their path to living legends in the making.

A triumphant exercise in fulfilling expectations, Twilight Of The Thunder God resounds with confidence, strength and a genuine desire to attain glory on this band’s own terms. Amon Amarth have stepped up and delivered, fearless and truly thunderous to the last.

The album is well-balanced and consistently heavy, moving along at a rapid pace through fiery guitar solos and brutal bass lines. Amon Amarth have managed to be both musically tight and genuinely epic in their compositions, as each mammoth track flows steadily into the next, making this an addictive listen that begs repeating. The vocals, while not going far beyond the traditional death metal fare, work terrifically with the music and provides a bestial undercurrent for the soaring melodies.

As soon as you hit play, the title track comes blasting through the speakers like a runaway freight train, it's massive hook dragging you along behind the mighty roar of frontman Johan Hegg, whose massive voice holds sway over all. After the amazing chorus, a mid-paced breakdown segues into a reprise of the main riff, culminating in a grin-inducing techy flourish that launches the scorching olo from guest soloist Roope Latvala of Children Of Bodom.
Anthemic and driving, Twilight of The Thunder God is the perfect metal opener.

The band follows this with
"Free Will Sacrifice", a mid-speed crusher with epic feel, and the sludgy, monolithic riffage of guitarists Olavi Mikkonen and Anders Hansson in "Guardians of Asgard". This song is collossal, with production that leaves the guitars sounding fat and crunchy, and a chorus reinforced by the awesome pipes of The Entombed's LG Petrov.

Sheer speed is next on the agenda, with the careening
"Where is Your God", followed by the thunderous intro from drummer Fredrik Anderrson that heralds "Varyags of Miklagaard"; another righteous battle hymn that begins with a brilliantly melodic opening riff, which soon shifts to a chorus that nods to In Flames as it gallops past towards a huge finish.

"Tattered Banners and Bloody Flags", kicks off with a stuttering riff, which maintains it's deathly feel even as it grafts a New Order-esque chord progression with pure glistening steel. This is followed by the marching chug of "No Fear for the Setting Sun,", and "The Hero", a mercenary tale with a magnificent hook every bit as catchy as the last album's "Runes To My Memory."

"Live for the Kill" ups the crunch factor once more, buffeting the ear with sheets of steel and another epic chorus on a platter full of them, yet where other bands might throw in the cheesy keyboards for atmosphere, Amon Amarth instead employs the cellos of Apocalyptica, another excellent touch. This soon gives way to the grandiose finale "Embrace of the Endless Ocean".

Even if you find giant wolves and white steeds a bit silly, it’s hard to deny the force Amon Amarth can summon. Grant them harbor on your shores, and with their iron axes and well-ironed tunics, they’ll take over.

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