Album Review: Amon Amarth – Deceiver of the Gods

Amon Amarth - Deceiver of the GodsAh yes. It’s time for another epic journey of an album with one of metal best bands to ever exist: Amon Amarth. I don’t hide the fact that this is my favorite band, so I’ll try to keep the biased opinion to a minimum and try not to fanboy all over this review. Deceiver of the Gods is definitely Amon Amarth with a few tricks up their sleeve. If it isn’t broken, don’t try to fix it. Deceiver of the Gods is proof you don’t need to re-invent yourself if you have a good thing going on. These guys have been basically writing with the same style for over 2 decades now and you know what? It works. Their riffs constantly feel fresh yet familiar at the same time. From Once Sent from the Golden Hall til now, these guys have been shredding and keeping the lyrical theme the same. Deceiver of the Gods is no different and you’ll be happy to know that this album is yet another joyous experience.

The album kicks off with the title track, and it’s a doozy of a song. “Deceiver of the Gods” has that fantastic feeling that overwhelms me when I listen to an Amon Amarth record for the first time. They’ve managed to make this feeling happen each and every time a new record comes out and this song is no different. Great riffing, quality drum work and of course the excellent sing-a-long chorus’ that Johan Hegg seems to write on almost every song. An excellent song to begin the album! After the dust settles, it’s time to get right back into new music as “When Loke Falls” begins! A subtle riff, an intense lead into a galloping rhythmic fury! This song is incredible! One of my favorites on the album, “When Loke Falls” indeed brings intense groove and brutality to a new and unique level. The music at 2:22 on this track is something rather new and exciting for the band as they enter into melodic territory and drum work I’ve never heard of from these guys before. Then into battle they go once more as they get right back into the next verse. This song is just ridiculously fun to listen to.

The next song “Father of the Wolf“, is my least favorite song on the album, but don’t let that mislead you. It’s still incredibly catchy and Johan still belts out a fine chorus that will definitely get you to scream along with him. While the song is necessary for the story, the writing is almost too familiar with past songs in a way that it doesn’t feel new. It’s like they had planned on using it for Surtur Rising, scrapped it and used it for this album.

Shape Shifter” blasts on and the galloping rhythm and frenzy of the band comes out strong on this track. More catchy music, as well as fierce moments that make you headbang, make this song really well. The next song opens up with a very Lamb of God-ish riff with a viking melody. “Under Siege” is extremely good. From the start riff to the outstanding outro, this song is one of those tunes you’ll remember for years and years. It reminds me of the time when “Versus the World” was out and most of the songs had that adventurous feeling to it. This song captures that feeling once again! The outro/ending is actually what you hear in the “Forging Mjolnir” videos the band posts. This song is pure gold. You’ll definitely have that section stuck in your head. I often whistle and/or hum it while I work.

At first listen, “Blood Eagle” will make your jaw drop. From the opening sounds (I was kind of disgusted the first time I heard it) to the music in general, this is intensity and pure war from Amon Amarth! I mean this is something that you’d usually hear from Once Sent from the Golden Hall or The Crusher! This has a very raw feel to it as the band plays and Johan’s primal screams add to the insanity. One of the coolest parts of the song however is the chant. I LOVE IT!!!! Gives me chills every time as I chant along!

We Shall Destroy” reminds me of the song “Gods of War Arise“, just a ballsy “We’re here to demolish our enemies” vibe. While maintaining that excellent death metal groove, the guys yet again pull off that melody that I love. Johan screams:

“March as one

Don’t look back

Oden’s sons

ATTACK!”

Then the band goes into this chug riff, which is unusual for them, and it reminds me of White Zombie‘s “Thunderkiss ’65“, but with more added to it. This song puts hair on your chest!!!

AMON AMARTH by JOHN McMURTRIE

The next song is slower and features some gnarly low growling from Johan as Candlemass‘ ex-vocalist Messiah Marcolin joins in and adds good and bad to the song. It’s neat to hear him sing along with Johan as he growls, however, I feel as if it takes something away from the song at the same time. After 10+ listens to this album, I do enjoy the song, don’t get me wrong yet I still don’t know how I feel about Messiah’s guest spot on this song. The vibrato clean vocals do sound good though and it is slowly settling well with me.

Coming of the Tide” has a “Cry of the Black Birds” feel to it yet it has that attack from “Versus the World” as well. Very punishing and very melodic. The axe masters also make a triplet galloping riff feel exciting and fresh. It’s been awhile since I’ve heard a new take on an old method. I also really enjoy the solo as well as the dueling guitar melodies. The final opus, “Warriors of the North“, is a long one as it’s stretched for 8:12. It’s not the most profound and moving ending track they’ve ever written, but it still features some head moving riffs, toe tapping sections and memorable moments. What am I saying, every verse/bridge/chorus features a great riff. It’s not the best, but it’s still damn good. I’m headbanging as I type this out!

Amon Amarth have officially blown me away with this release. I don’t know why, but I was having a tiny bit of doubt in my mind before listening to this album. Surtur Rising was good, but not nearly as good as past releases and I was a little worried it would be more of the same on this next album. Let me assure you now, these viking bastards have somehow captured their entire discography within one album. They manage to capture the raw sound of Once Sent from the Golden Hall, The Avenger and The Crusher. They have the ability to capture those moments when you listened to the catchy melodies from Versus the World, Fate of Norns and With Oden on Our Side. Yet they also manage to capture the power and fun that Twilight of the Thunder Gods and Surtur Rising had. Deceiver of the Gods absolutely blew past all my expectations and I cannot stop listening to this album.

If the guys decided to pull off another US tour with a 2 hour set, making this album the entire first set, I think it would be easily at least twice as successful. Deceiver of the Gods features that thick production value that their known for. Andy Sneap does a fantastic job capturing these guys’ sound. He is important to this album, he caught Fredrik Andersson just destroying his kit as he sacrifices it to Odin. Each cymbal crash, snare pop, tom and bass drum sounds great. Don’t forget about bassist, Ted Lundström, as this album might be the best work he’s ever done. You hear him on every second of the album and he isn’t drowned out by the rest of the band. Olavi Mikkonen and Johan Söderberg do a remarkable job with each song! I think each song has at least 3 riffs on them that are ultra catchy and bad ass. Vocalist Johan Hegg belts out some of the most monstrous vocals of his career as he manages to be louder and more powerful than ever before!

Deceiver of the Gods is undeniably satisfying. Even as a long time Amon Amarth fan, this album is fresh, interesting and ultimately just plain heavy. An amazing effort, a quality album, I cannot stop listening to it. I must try somehow though, I have other albums to review. I give Amon Amarth‘s Deceiver of the Gods album a perfect

5 out of 5