There are probably few bands more consistent than Amon Amarth.
Years ago, they honed their formula and have plied it skillfully and faithfully ever since. On album number eleven, however, they seem to have learned from the reasonable misfire of Jomsviking and stepped a little outside their established comfort zone, adding a few flourishes to their usual castle-storming melodic death metal.
The portentous Metallica-style acoustic opening to “Fafner’s Gold” builds toward the ravenous metal beast that is soon unleashed, raging toward the eerily Mastodon-like “Crack the Sky” and the rockier-flavoured “Mjolner, Hammer of Thor”. There hasn’t been this much variety across Amon Amarth’s albums for a long time, but they also don’t stray too far away from the sound they have made their own. Verses rife with chugging riffs, tremolo-picked and chant-inducing choruses and overall catchy songs are the very staple of Amon Amarth’s music and Berserker delivers them in spades, somewhat more effectively this time than on the previous album.
That said, Berserker does become a little heavy going. It’s long, much longer than previous Amon Amarth albums and while it doesn’t fall down at any point, the dense production could well weary the average listener by about three-quarters of the way through, probably around about the time “Once Again We Can Set Our Sails” hoves into view in the settling dust of the fantastic “The Berserker at Stamford Bridge”. Veterans are likely to keep on until the somewhat brooding “Into the Dark” wraps another strong release from one of metal’s best performers of the last two decades.
- Fafner’s Gold
- Crack the Sky
- Mjolner, Hammer of Thor
- Shield Wall
- Raven’s Flight
- The Berserker at Stamford Bridge
- When Once Again We Can Set Our Sails
- Skoll and Hati
- Wings of Eagles
- Into the Dark