Listening to an Amon Amarth album is like being in a battle with the gods themselves. Since “Once Sent from the Golden Hall” was released in 1998, they have been crushing eardrums on an epic scale. Every album is an unforgettable journey unto itself. Nine albums later, they’re still doing their thing. Have they redefined the genre? No. Have they drastically changed their sound and gotten experimental? No. Instead they stood their ground and continued to make punishing albums again and again. Other bands tend to get stale when they don’t try something new. Amon Amarth doesn’t need to change. When someone picks up one of their albums, they know exactly what they’re getting and that’s all one needs. There is no exception with “Deceiver of the Gods.” It’s not the most groundbreaking album, but it’s a solid journey that needs to be taken.
With the new album, the main focus is Loki, who is the father of Fenrir and Hel, and is believed to be a deceitful god. The album starts with the title track which is one of the best tracks on the album. It’s fierce, unapologetic and so epic, only Amon Amarth can handle something like this. Johan Hegg’s vocals have never sounded better. He summoned his inner Viking to deliver growls that are second to none. The guitars are still melodic and the drums are still tight. “As Loke Falls” opens with a catchy lead guitar that eventually leads into the most epic chorus on the album. “Father of the Wolf” and “Shape Shifter” are a little heavier than the first two tracks, but still maintain the melodic flow. “Under Siege” starts with a riff that, well for a lack of better words, just sounds awesome. “Blood Eagle,” besides the great opening sound effects (a body being ripped apart), is the weakest point in the album. It’s not a bad song, the end of it is amazing, the main riff is just lacking. “Hel” is a standout track for the simple fact that it has Messiah Marcolin (ex-Candlemass) doing guest vocals. The two of them pull it off perfectly and it gives the song a whole other dimension. The album closes with “Warriors of the North” which is hands down the best track on the album. Running at a little over eight minutes, this is one hell of a song.
“Deceiver of the Gods” doesn’t tread any new water, but it doesn’t have to. It’s evident that Amon Amarth are fine being as they are: the kings of melodic Viking metal. The only weak point was “Blood Eagle,” but it’s overshadowed by every other track on the album making it virtually non-existent. While this album doesn’t quite reach the mind-blowing status of “With Oden on Our Side“ and ”Twilight Of The Thunder God,” but it blows “Surtur Rising” and the rest of the albums away. Anyone who is a fan of melodic death metal needs to listen to this. Amon Amarth doesn’t disappoint. It’s a solid album that’s among the best this year has to offer so far.
- Brian DuBois
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