Twilight of the Thunder God - Amon Amarth
By James Green
There is a fundamental reason why Amon Amarth were voted international band of the year 2008 by metal hammer magazine, even though I don't read metal hammer magazine due to the fact that I am into much heavier stuff, I could not agree more with metal hammer about the decision they made.
Amon Amarth are most likely to be one of the greatest melodic death metal bands of the decade, and in 2008, they released a brilliant album entitled Twilight of the Thunder God.
Their previous release, With Oden On Our Side, was a shotgun blast into the very face of death metal, it was as if it was injecting more melody than there is needed, but it seemed to only increase the power that death metal has.
Catchy riffs, fast drumming and who could forget the lead singer - Johan Gregg, delivering the vocals strong enough to kill an unborn child.
The highlight of the previous release was definitely Track 1, Valhall Awaits Me which begins with a brilliant drumbeat, leading into a fantastic guitar riff, which will crawl its way into your memory for you to remember time and time again.
1. Twilight of the Thunder God
2. Free Will Sacrifice
3. Guardians of Asgaard
4. Where is Your God?
5. Varyags of Miklagaard
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
Now to the main attraction; the album itself. When you first gaze upon its album art, which has more Norse fantasy than a Viking wrestling a bear, you can't help but open the CD case to reveal the disk inside. When you get the inner - need to actually put it on, you are greeted with track 1, which is also the name of the album.
Amon Amarth does what they do in nearly every previous album, they have a catchy, but not to heavy song at the start to get you hooked to the album before you have a chance to turn up the volume.
The actual song, Twilight of the Thunder God, has a chorus which you'll scream at people for no apparent reason, but know that shouting 'Thor!' everywhere you go may result in people walking on the opposite side of the street in the near future.
Roope Lativa - From another band called Children of Bodom (who I would not recommend) join to perform an outstanding solo about ¾ of the way through, before Johan completes the track with a definitive final chorus.
Track 2, Free Will Sacrifice is one of my favorites. This is because after the furious Twilight of the Thunder God, it begins with a relaxing, more chilled out guitar riff and then continues this way throughout the song, apart from the chorus, but then again, with Johan breathing fire upon us with his vocal chords - it is hard to make a relaxing song.
Guardians of Asgaard is up next, and they return to the whole catchy riffs scenario and blow us away when Johan shouts the chorus loud enough to deafen an ear.
Track 4. Out of the blue they return to the cold anger of death metal, and as you bang your foot on the floor to keep up with the drumming, where is your God? It's enough to convince you that they can keep the melody whilst maintaining the furious intent that death metal showers you with.
Track 5 now, and we're basically halfway through the album, Varyags of Miklagaard has a nice drumbeat to begin with, but (but in a good way) progresses into a melody-fest with a great vocal pattern and outstanding guitars.
My favorite track now, Tattered Banners and Bloody Flags, which captures the pure essence of melodic death metal at its finest.
The beginning is a drum beat with a brilliant guitar in the background, and then it progresses into a brilliant track which adds a relaxing ambience into the album.
The vocals, as usual, telling stories of Viking mythology in the only way it knows how - with a crushing death growl.
Track 7, No Fear For The Setting Sun, basically does what track 4 did, reminding us that it can go from melody to speed in the blink of an eye.
Track 8, The Hero starts with a melodically charged riff that progresses yet again into drums and loud, catchy and all so dominating vocals. Indeed, as the chorus goes, Johan is an evil man \u2026
Live For The Kill is quite frankly one of the greatest songs of the album, the opening riff, yet again outstanding, but the main concept is where another guest, Apocalyptica, play the strings also fine about halfway through, which creates a brilliant atmosphere to the song.
Finally, Embrace of The Endless Ocean plays a vital role maintaining the melody with brilliantly done drumbeats at the beginning of the song. The song is a relaxing, melodic end to a fantastic album.
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