Somewhere out on the vast Swedish wastelands, the members of Amon Amarth were unfrozen from a block of ice to compose a musical banquet of their brand of mead-fuelled Nordic melodic death metal, and the result is their latest effort, Surtur Rising.
Over more than 45 minutes there is plenty of stellar European metal harmony guitars, a solid driving rhythm section and of course frontman Johan Hegg’s deep, molasses-like growl fighting with the music for dominance. Opener “War of the Gods” slams right into gear setting a pace for the rest of the album. Delving further, it is business as usual with plenty of good old Amon Amarth goodness being thrown at the listener’s ears in cuts like “A Beast Am I”, “For Victory or Death”, the dirty and greasy “Slaves of Fear”, the groove laden (yet so VERY originally titled) “Wrath of the Norsemen” and a pure Nordic hammer in “The Last Stand of Frej”. That said, there are some that stand out above the rest – the orchestral driven closer in “Doom Over Dead Man” and the insanely heavy “Destroyer of the Universe” with some epic fretwork from Johan Söderberg and Olavi Mikkonen that almost demands you start a mosh pit right where you stand.
The beauty of Surtur Rising (and the majority of Amon Amarth’s catalogue) is that it’s easy for Viking related imagery to spring to mind. It’s not hard to imagine Hegg shouting at you in a cold and icy blizzard with a big viking hammer being held inches from your face.
Despite treading a familiar territory at times, Surtur Rising is another solid effort from Amon Amarth that sticks to their formula – the proverbial meat and potatoes if you will. Nonetheless, it has enough to keep hardcore purists pleased and to attract and entertain casual listeners.
1. War of the Gods
2. Töck’s Taunt – Loke’s Treachery Part II
3. Destroyer of the Universe
4. Slaves of Fear
5. Live Without Regrets
6. The Last Stand of Frej
7. For Victory or Death
8. Wrath of the Norsemen
9. As Beast am I
10. Doom Over Dead Men