Album Review: Amon Amarth – Deceiver of the Gods
Posted by Reggie
Amon Amarth has a fine reputation for balancing polar opposite musical styles; melody and brutality. They also have the unfortunate distinction of walking a fine line of replication. Many will say that their inability to stray from a tried and true recipe for Melodic Death Metal hinders the band. If it isn’t broken why fix it? Metal is funny in that Metallica was blasted for trying something new, but then Amon Amarth receives a slightly less amount of flack for not trying anything new. Is there any middle ground? There is, it’s called Deceiver of the Gods, their ninth studio album since 1998. Consistent bunch these Swedes are and so the epic battle continues.
First, Deceiver is easily recognizable as Amon Amarth. That’s a good thing because I can’t imagine these guys recording the death metal equivalent of Metallica’s St. Anger. Amon Amarth is one of those bands that just has to be what they are which is a band that exquisitely mixes brutal growls and death metal with delicate harmony. Whether you headbang, snap your fingers, or tap your foot – the music will move you one way or the other. The result of their steady effort is nine albums that sound pretty much alike. It never really bothered me. I’ve been along for the ride for several years now.
Before I listened to the album, I was surprised to hear that Amon Amarth finally decided to mix things up a bit. When I say a bit, that’s really all I mean. Deceiver isn’t revolutionary among all of their older albums. But, there are some subtle tempo changes and speeds that indicate a slight change in what you would expect from them. Perhaps this is an indicator to a slight change in the band’s future albums? I hear some guitar solos that sound Maiden influenced. The double bass drum isn’t as fast and lengthy as on other albums. It’s there, but as they say “all good things in moderation.” It’s as if Amon Amarth decided to take their time and record a nice varied tempo set of songs vs. just being fast so they could do synchronized headbanging on stage and open up circle pits as wide as the walls of the venues they play in. Deceiver is more focused on the melody side of Melodic Death Metal.
I tend to not sample singles and leaked songs before an album’s release. I try to absorb all the music at once, but this time I couldn’t resist. When I heard Deceiver of the Gods, I felt more of the same was coming and I think a lot of other people thought the same. Check out the song below and you will see what I mean.
That song is pretty much Amon Amarth in a nutshell. There isn’t any reason to hate it, but it does sound like most of what they do. Shape Shifter retains most of the brutal elements you would expect, but it isn’t trying to be faster than it needs to be. It has a real nice groove to it…a good song to break the speed limit to; get in your Lotus and take to the Motorway. Check it out…this is only video I could find. This is my favorite on the album so far.
Amon Amarth isn’t known for writing very long songs. They hit the 6 minute mark from time to time. I was surprised to see that Deceiver not only had a song over 6 minutes, but another one over 8 minutes. The last time they came close to hitting 8 minutes was Victorious March off Once Sent from the Golden Hall. This is just based on studio albums. Under Siege is a great song that strays from the sheer speed Amon Amarth perfected over the years. The whole song actually stays at a fairly constant mid-tempo with melodic solos throughout. Hear it below.
I wasn’t worried if Deceiver o the Gods sounded like all their other albums, but I have to say I am glad they shook things up a bit. Each song has a life of its own and whether it’s more focused on melody or brutality, they all have something to offer and stand alone on this album. It’s a very strong effort and appropriate response to those that wanted something a bit more out of the band.