The arrival of a new release, Surtur Rising, from Sweden's Amon Amarth is always worth attention. If not for any reason than the fact that people still aren't sure how to classify the band. Heavily leaning on Norse mythology in their lyrics, many want to call them melodic Viking metal. Or, with Johan Hegg's more traditional death vocals, they're called melodic death metal. While these characteristics are self-evident, you can call their basic foundation heavy and/or power metal in a traditional heavy metal, even NWOBHM, sense. All of it fits, in one way or another, and I've always liked them for these diverse elements, with particular emphasis on the melodic. Yes, I even like Hegg's brand of death vocals. Why? Because they're more the coherent growls of traditional death metal, rather than the screaming kind current to Swedish/Scandi melodic death metal.
With Surtur Rising expect the usual: massive riffage, an often pummeling pace, wrapped up in enough melody and Hegg's foreboding vocals then accented by some ripping fret work. (Was that even a sentence?) War of the Gods, Destroyer of the Universe, Slaves of Fear (my vote for best cut), and Wrath of the Norseman blister with these thrills. Yet, there's a certain familiarity here.
Longtime AA fans, the tried and true, will be pleased: the band keeps getting stronger in their perseverance. But, critics will be simply dismissive: there's nothing new under the sun. I might agree with both camps. But what I think I hear, is a quite heavy, yet equally melodic, combination of death and power metal made exciting by those very things. Again, I like it. Recommended.
With Surtur Rising, longtime Amon Amarth fans, the tried and true, will be pleased: the band keeps getting stronger in their perseverance. But, critics will be simply dismissive: there's nothing new under the sun.
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