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Album Reviews : Amon Amarth – Twilight Of The Thunder God

By on November 6, 2008

A 7th studio album, publicity galore, excess marketing…even bobble heads. I guess that normally for this situation the term ‘sell-out’ would come to mind quite easily. I’ll admit, as a diehard listener of Swedish band Amon Amarth for years and years, the sell-out bug did enter my mind for moments in the lead up to obtaining my shiny new digipack version of Twilight of the Thunder God, released 2008 through Metal Blade (Stomp in Australia). Thankfully, I can gladly and proudly report that this is no sell out! In fact, it is a stellar record worthy of immediate addition to your library of cds!

With what diehard fans would possibly call ‘more commercial sounding’, Amon Amarth have kept their integrity through their last couple of albums by using a modern approach to music that is fundamentally set in their early years – progressive ideas, and powerful death metal. What we see in ‘Twilight of the Thunder God’ is a mix of progressive-tinged songs (Live for the Kill, Embrace of the Endless Ocean), and faster death metal songs (Twilight of the Thunder God, Where Is Your God?)

Hegg’s vocal delivery is a lot rawer and deeper than on the previous two albums. I like this small step back to the early days, as in the past his booming voice often acted as the driving force in the songs making them quite memorable. On the last two albums clarity and sing along choruses dominated, whereas now he has found the perfect balance.

There is only one track that lets the album down a little bit in my opinion, that being Guardians of Asgaard. With its chunky riffs and simple chorus lyrics, I think the band slotted this track onto the album so they can play it in a live setting. While I’m sure I’ll be in opposition to other fans concerning this song, it just sounds too much like a ‘Pursuit of Vikings’ attempt, referring to the hit song off 2004’s Fate of Norns album.

However, I shouldn’t dwell too much on the rare negative that I see. Comparatively to Guardians of Asgaard, the lyrics in other songs are positively inspiring. For example when you hear this: “Thor! Oden’s son, protector of mankind. Ride to meet your fate, your destiny awaits!” – how can you not get excited!? They just raise your adrenalin levels that somewhere approaching a berserker with a coat of wolf skin on his back!

There are a few guest appearance made on the album, something that is new for an Amon Amarth record, with Roope Latvala (Children of Bodom) shredding it up on the title track, and Apocalyptica providing compositions for ‘Live For the Kill’, fantastic additions to the album I must say. We also see another step up in the artwork department for the band. For a band whose artwork has always been awesome, with detailed topical illustrations of the lyrical content on each album, I’m glad to see they have returned to this after the interesting decision on ‘With Oden On Our Side’ to go with a simple design.

There are so many of those classic Amon Amarth moments on this album that the public has come to expect from the band. Honestly, they are too hard to explain in text so you will just have listen to the the cd to understand! The crash cymbals sound like lightening, and that lightening will strike you down if you don’t buy this album. 9/10

Band: Amon Amarth
Album: Twilight of the Thunder God
Year: 2008
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Label: Metal Blade
Origin: Stockholm, Sweden
http://www.myspace.com/amonamarth

Track listing:
1. Twilight of the Thunder God
2. Free Will Sacrifice
3. Guardians of Asgaard
4. Where Is Your God?
5. Varyags of Miklagaard <– Reviewers Choice
6. Tattered Banners and Bloody Flags
7. No Fear for the Setting Sun
8. The Hero
9. Live For the Kill
10. Embrace of the Endless Ocean

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