Offers little in the way of anything new

From around the time of their sixth album With Oden on Our Side, Amon Amarth have developed an enviable following, even from among the ranks of more casual metal fans.

That this rise in appreciation has come as their style has moved away from the folk-laced Gothenburg-inspired melodic death metal of earlier releases such as The Crusher and taken on more power metal aspects, while retaining Johan Hegg’s gruff vocals, is probably no big surprise. Since that breakthrough 2006 album, though, Amon Amarth’s output has fallen into a rhythm of consistency that was bordering on tedium; Deceiver of the Gods crosses that border, offering little in the way of anything new and nothing to get greatly excited about. Apart from slightly shifting their lyrical focus from the deeds of heroes to those of the gods, Amon Amarth appears to be running on fumes as their well of inspiration dries up.

Songs begin well but fall back on oft-used ideas by halfway through, Hegg sounds bored most of the time and Johan Söderberg and Olavi Mikkonen seem to have just gotten lazy, rehashing riffs and barely bothering to lay down interesting guitar solos. When they do make half an effort, as in ‘Under Siege’ with its pulsating bass throb, Amon Amarth shows some of their previous glories but then they try too hard and over-reach, coming up with the over-long ‘Warriors of the North’ that wears out its welcome by its mid-point. ‘Coming of the Tide’ is neat, but it’s the only real highlight on an album that is predictable, formulaic and flat. Even Messiah Marcollin’s guest spot sounds phoned in.

It might well be enough to please some of the die-hards, but with Deceiver of the Gods Amon Amarth have finally become the HammerFall of death metal, if they can even be called death metal these days.

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