Surtur Rising review by Amon Amarth

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  • Released: Mar 25, 2011
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.2 (48 votes)
Amon Amarth: Surtur Rising
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Sound — 9
Raise your flagons and pillage a village, Amon Amarth have returned. The 3 years since Twilight of the Thunder God seem to have just run past and this new slab of melodic death metal wants to grind its predecessor into dust. For those new to Amon Amarth, this is the most basic but explosive side of melodeath with a heavy dose of viking-ness and its good to see that they haven't changed their sound. At all. Which is what remains great about Amon Amarth: Always reliable. The first track 'War of the Gods' immediately kicks you in the face with its easy to follow riffing, thrashy drums and impressionable huge melody lines. In a way its much like the opener to TOTTG but with a worse guitar solo (Roop wasn't on load this time, I suspect). However, passing over track 2 'Tocks Taunt' (mostly because it loses the momentum of track 1), track 3 is much much more like it. This one track is what defines the base principles of 'melodic' and 'death' metal: Crushing speed mixed with cathartic harmonies and unrestrained aggression. One thing that a listener notices is the branching out from Amon Amarths 'usual' melodic sensibility: The melodies are noticeably darker, more obscure (if that makes sense, its the only word I can think of that fits) and complex, sometimes having multiple key transitions per song as well as having more higher fret melodies. Another thing is MORE SOLO'S. There were only 3 notable solo's on TOTTG and one of them wasn't even from the band themselves. This time though, there are like, 2 a song and they are so much better. Listen to that, sounds so fanboy-ish.. but whatever, moar solo's. Although it settles down a little halfway through, 'Surtur Rising' is also noticeably faster than TOTTG, which were mostly mid-tempo tracks. Surtur Rising literally does knock the stuffing out of everything else they've done.

Lyrics — 8
Johann Hegg is such a loveable wookie, and his distinctive death growl hasn't lost its power or 'raspy vikingness'. Although sometimes difficult to understand (naturally), few vocalist really put this much effort into their vocals or delivery. His impact musically is never overshadowed by the guitar leads, although its incredibly enriched with reverb such as on 'The Last Stand of Frej' to give it that ballad-like, 'epic' feel. Amon Amarth are always misplaced into that odd category of 'Viking metal' although by definition that's not really the case. Its their lyrics and themes that give them this misrepresentation and its always fascinating to see how many albums Amon Amarth can put out before they run out of lyrical ideas and start doing songs about shopping bags or broken spoons covered in jam. From 'War of the Gods': War, the very first war of our world, When the treacherous witch was killed Three times burned and three times born, By searing flames was Gullveig torn. Death, Odin held his spear up with great force Deep into the great god of fear. battle horns gave off their sound And Asgard was razed to the ground.

Overall Impression — 9
This was expectedly good, but also unexpectedly great (if you follow my idea). There is basically more of everything that s good about Amon Amarth: anthemic song-writing, addictive melodies, aggression and viking-ness (cant forget the viking-ness). That said though, Surtur Rising has raised their bar, so it'll be harder to top next time. Another side note, do check out their 'Aerials' cover (yes, SOAD). Songs to look out for: 'War of the Gods', 'Destroyer of the Universe', 'Slaves of Fear', 'Live without regrets', 'The Last stand of Frej', 'For victory or death', 'A beast am I', 'Doom Over Dead man', 'Aerials' cover, 'Balls to the wall' cover.

27 comments sorted by best / new / date

    OceansBetweenUs
    Amon Amarth is a flagship band for displaying that you don't need to be a virtuoso to play heavy music that doesn't suck. Everything they do is so basic haha but they bring the heavy in A standard.
    maowcat
    OceansBetweenUs wrote: they bring the heavy in A standard.
    b standard
    Snowman388
    Don't like the review, I don't agree on the solo of War of The Gods. You missed the point. The solos are meaningful now, not like in TTOTG (song) where it's just shredding (I like shredding) but the solos carry weight.
    RockRolla
    I just bought this album today,first time hearing this band.I have one thing to say,I am now a fan!!!
    soadhusky
    oh i love the latest two albums, its actually like oldschool heavy metal but with downtuned guitars and growls, it kicks asses
    glowingjowel
    I'm much satisfied with Amon Amarth 's new kickass album than Children of Bodom with theirs who deceived me a lot, I think they lost their sound with this last one. Great job Amon amarth !My thirst for new metal albums as been quencht
    thrashmonkey
    JC13 wrote: Great album. Horrible review.
    Let's see you write a better one. Sounds like a great album, I'll definitely be getting this soon.
    Iced Earth9
    The best songs: Tck's Taunt, Doom Over Dead Man, War Of The Gods, Slaves Of Fear, Last Stand Of Frej.....\m/
    metallica144
    maowcat wrote: the outro to A Beast Am I is pure beauty,
    isn't that clean outro the intro for Doom over Dead Man?
    maowcat
    there best album yet, i enjoyed every single song, had the production quality of twilight but was most like their older albums, For Victory Or Death is a great song, the outro to A Beast Am I is pure beauty, i liked the small amounts of string ensemble, a good change, hope these guys come to canada this year
    metallica144
    best solo on the album: a beast am i. damn, that solo is great. it fits so perfectly in the song. bought the album today. i already had the album ( download, yes) but i love these guys to much
    Cantplay4penuts
    WHEN I LISTENED TO THE COVER OF AERIALS I WAS LIKE HHHHHOOOOOLLLLLYYYYY SHHHHIIIITTTTT . I THEN BECAME A MAN AND AM BUYING THE ALBUM.
    Rabje1234
    Yeaah, Melodeath is my fav genre and since Amon Amarth is the king of melodeath -> I find 'em goddamn amazin (:
    Deathmethod
    I'm really excited for my copy to come in the mail sometime next week. This is one of my most anticipated releases of the year...
    mr_kroon
    got my copy (digibook) today just listened through it, and its awesome i love this band
    EpiExplorer
    GS LEAD 5 wrote: Love this band. SOAD? Seriously?
    Super cerealy, its a good take on the song. Only one line of actual singing though, I think its the first AA song to have the whole band singing..
    HoddiDarko
    The name of this album is so funny. I know who Surtur was in old the old sagas, but it also kinda has the same meaning as a Nigger (in icelandic). But their music has never really grown on my. I'm not really a fan of such simple melodeath, I like my melodic music Black/death.
    Lion_Slicer
    I usually get on bands' case when they don't try much to experiment or expand their sound, but when a band is so consistently brilliant I really can't complain. I feel that Hegg is actually very intelligible, and I rarely even have to look up the lyrics. The death growl isn't an affectation for him, it's his actual voice. Greatly looking forward to seeing them again in May.
    krvolok
    Instrumentally fairly fresh melodeath,for a change since over these two or three last years I've seen a whole horde of just tacky and uninspired melodeath.Lyrically, the greatest act of regal grave defiling since the adventure in Aachen.The Franks are running for their lives,lol.
    Skuzzmo
    This band are first class. And I love listening to them right up to the point when the singer starts..... I just can't get past his atrocious vox.... oh well my problem I suppose.... good luck to them anyway.