Amon Amarth – Deceiver Of The Gods
Release Date: June 25, 2013
Gjallarhorns of warning sound along the coastline, as Amon Amarth storm the shore once more with blood, steel and fire in their eyes, to deliver another huge slab of Swedish Vi-Kingly death metal. Let’s get back to the good ‘ol 90’s where Swedish Death Metal band Unleashed had foreseen a future of battle metal warriors, insanely paying tribute to the ancient gods. As an answer from the gods, Amon Amarth seemed to have descended from Vallhala refining the formula with the help of their dual guitar harmonics and amazing melodies thereby waving the victory flags.
The album starts off with the title track “The Deceiver of The Gods” which was already released as the first single off the album. Featuring trademark Amon Amarth sounding riffs, intricate solos and Johan Hegg sounding absolutely crushing, this is one hell of an opener for the album. This song has every potential to be band’s next “Pursuit of Vikings” or even “Destroyer of The Universe”. And it’s just the allusion of what is about to come. “As Loke Falls” is probably the best song on whole record. A tapping lick that goes on throughout almost the whole of the song really gives it the sense of urgency and menace. Hegg again sounds beyond brutal and Fredrik Andersson’s drumming compliments it perfectly.
“Father of The Wolf” and “Shape Shifter” both feature remarkable harmonies and very catchy melodies that you are bound to be humming just after a listen. “Under Siege” is classic Amon Amarth and reminds one of their older stuff. With some beautiful melodies and insane riffing that feature on the song, this one is bound to be a crowd favorite in coming years. “Blood Eagle” is the shortest track on the album. Clocking just 3:16, it starts with sound effect of someone being bloodily torn apart and getting killed. And it maintains the same brutality in whole song, be it Hegg’s vocals, Johan Söderberg and Olavi Mikkonen’s guitars, Fredrik’s drums or Ted Lundström’s bass parts. There’s never a dull moment here.
“We Shall Destroy” again follows the same ruthlessness of the previous tracks, and it also features some great lyrics and an astounding breakdown around 3 minute mark where Hegg sings “March as one, don’t look back.. Oden’s sons, ATTACK!!!” This is bound to make pit crazy fans happier than anything. “Hel” is probably going to be most judged song on this album. It’s unlike anything Amon Amarth has ever released and it features ex-Candlemass vocalist Messiah Marcolin on guest vocals. Starting off with a much slower riffage than the whole album, it almost sound likes a doom song. Hegg kicks in right after with what is going to be termed as his most amazing vocal performance ever. His vocals here really sound like they are coming from the putrid depths of hell itself. And then Messiah joins in for amazing vocal harmonies going all “..here you will forever dwell, I welcome you to HELL” in his almost power metal-esque style. On first listen it almost sounds cheesy and arbitrarily done, but after a couple of listens you just can’t stop playing this song over and over again.
“Coming of Tide” again reminds one of Amon Amarth’s older material, but with more melodic elements. It also features a pretty chaotic solo, which any metal fan will be thrilled to listen to. The album finishes off with “Warriors of the North” which wastes no time in showing that it’s an Amon Amarth song through and through. Again amazing work on Hegg’s part both vocally and lyrically. A slaughtering change of pace combined with harmonies and melodies; this brings an almost perfect album to a perfect end. Clocking just above 47 minutes, this album perfectly shows Amon Amarth at their peak and leaves the listener wanting for more.
The production on whole record is absolutely fantastic. Andy Sneap has really shown why he is hailed as one of the most coveted metal producer of all time. The whole album has a very primal and organic feel to it, which is mostly due to the fact that the drums were being acoustically recorded live. This indeed shows up on final mixing and gives the whole record a raw and realistic feel that is almost akin to pre-Fate of Norns era Amon Amarth. Johan Hegg delivers arguably his carrier best performance on this album. There are zero flaws in his singing and he really shines on each and every song on the album. Söderberg and Mikkonen belt out riffs after riffs of stunning brutality while Lundström provides the much-needed lower end of the record, shining specifically on “Under Siege”.
While one must appreciate Amon Amarth for exploring different territories on this release, a fact some critics might be hanging their helms on, what is presented is an example of perfectly executed epic melodic death metal, resplendent with monster riffs and huge, cinematic choruses. They obviously paid attention to the sequencing and overall feel of the songs making sure that everything flows in a cohesive and engaging way. They must have taken cues from early Dio and Iron Maiden. What they have done here is so complete and realized that it’s cinematic in scope.
Deceiver of the Gods is a concise statement of power, filled with undeniably catchy, crushing melodies that lodge in your brain, only to be unearthed once more when you awaken a few days from now. And if that’s not enough, it’s wrapped in the most sublimely titled “Hel” featuring Messiah Marcolin on vocals, as Thor Doom combination- insanely concludes the album with Mjolnir in full glorious color.