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Album Reviews : Amon Amarth – Deceiver of the Gods

By on July 2, 2013

373351Amon Amarth is back! It’s still surreal to think it’s already been two years since the band released Surtur Rising. Marking the 20th anniversary of their 1993 demo Thor Arise, and the 15th anniversary of their debut full-length Once Sent from the Golden Hall, Amon Amarth have returned with another crushing opus of Viking-themed melodic death metal in Deceiver of the Gods.

While I’m sure this is probably nothing more than a coincidence, it is nevertheless still interesting to note. With the popularity of the Norse god Loki currently at an all time high thanks to his Marvel Comics equivalent, the band have released an entire album dedicated to him. Focusing all around the trickster god, his “children”, and the events surrounding his role in Ragnarok, while anything the band has done here isn’t all that different from what they’ve done before, listening to them, you come to expect a certain style and standard to their records. Conceptually, Deceiver of the Gods doesn’t change that. But, that being said, who would want it to?

Amon Amarth isn’t really known for their incredible experimentation, but perhaps that’s what marks their incredible success. Since the release of Once Sent from the Golden Hall – and especially since the release of records like Versus the World and Twilight of the Thunder God that saw them become the global phenomenon they are – here is a band that refuses to change their style; both lyrically and musically. But, for all that, it works and it pays off, too.

In a way, I almost imagine Amon Amarth standing today as testament to what Metallica might have been had they not changed styles between …And Justice for All and their self-titled “black album”. Had Metallica retained the dirty, raw thrash metal sound of their first three albums, Amon Amarth would probably have no doubt been compared to them down the line as a melodeath equivalent; at least in terms of being a respected titan of metal culture with an undeniable style. But regardless of all that, Amon Amarth is a band that continues to not only expand as a beast in the metal world but continues to mature their style with each subsequent record.

As expected, there are some fantastic riffs and tempos to this album. And, as with pretty much every Amon Amarth release, there is great consistency to this record as well. Produced, mixed and mastered by Andy Sneap, who seems to have an uncanny ability to draw out that ‘special-something’ in the bands he works with (e.g. Testament, Accept, Megadeth, Archenemy), Deceiver of the Gods flows with fantastic melody while not losing to any of the aggression or brutality that courses throughout. The opening riff of title track “Deceiver of the Gods” is both memorable and atmospheric, and Johan Hegg’s vocals are as hoarse and strong as ever. Track “Blood Eagle” opens with a gruesome sample of a man being torn apart presumably in the middle of some vicious Viking raid and “Hel” features guest vocals by Messiah Marcolin (formerly of Candlemass) who provides much welcomed added dimension and variety to the song. The closing track of the album, “Warriors of the North”, recalls the excellent “Thousand Years of Oppression” from the Versus the World album and seems similarly destined to become a crowd favourite as a Viking anthem.

Deceiver of the Gods is pretty straight-forward in its approach. There’s no bullshitting around with this band, and as with each album, their style is consistent and enjoyable. This is a melodic death metal album that will no doubt please a great many fans and see many others raising their horns of mead in salute to the Gods of the North.

Band: Amon Amarth
Album: Deceiver of the Gods
Year: 2013
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Label: Nuclear Blast
Origin: Sweden

Track list:
1. Deceiver of the Gods
2. As Loke Falls
3. Father of the Wolf
4. Shape Shifter
5. Under Siege
6. Blood Eagle
7. We Shall Destroy
8. Hel
9. Coming of the Tide
10. Warriors of the North


Jonathon is an aspiring fantasy/sci-fi novelist and music journalist. Thanks to the influence of the music he grew up with, he has always possessed a keen interest in metal and rock. He is also a huge fan of mythology, legend, and folklore from all across the world. You should follow him on Twitter.