Album Review: Amon Amarth – Surtur Rising
Artist: Amon Amarth (Sweden)
Album: Surtur Rising (2011)
Genre: Melodic Death Metal / Viking Metal
Ages ago, in Viking times, there was a band that released an album. It was the eighth album in their nearly 20-years career and they hadn’t lost their touch. The band of course – if you read titles you know this – is Amon Amarth, the album is Surtur Rising and the release date is March 23rd 2011. I bought it then. I listened to it then. I loved it then.
But I never got to reviewing it, due to what’s probably a completely fucked up setting of priorities or perhaps just plain ol’ stupidity. It sat on my desk all the time, begging to be heard, begging to make an impression again, begging to be written about. But I didn’t see it, as it was covered by a big pile of other Metal albums, some of matching stature, but others of much lesser decent and worthiness.
Now, about an era further down the ever-flowing line of time I’m holding this album in my hand. Hard paper-back cover of the special edition with its DVD full of Metallic goodness inside. It’s old, but it was built with such craft that it withstood the unforgiving wrath of time. The CD is not inside the casing anymore, as it plays on my stereo and once again sets the membranes of my speakers in motion.
It’s returned to life, it’s old strength once more in its powerful riffs. And despite its clear feeling of ages ago, its tales of battle, bloodshed and bastard Vikings of war, it still feels crisp, up to date and overly delicious. I guess it’s time to review the old bugger!
Let me start by saying that if you haven’t heard Amon Amarth before – in which case: what kind of Metalhead are you anyway? – this record is as good as any of their records to soak in the truly epic – meaning not idly used! – battle Metal of the band. If you have heard Amon Amarth albums before, which is far more likely, you can either be pleased or disappointed. The latter if you had hoped to find something new, the former if, like me, you just don’t want these chaps to change their recipe. It’s like a hamburger. You can slap caviar on it, or truffles, or some shit, and try to posh it all up, but you’re just gonna make it suboptimal. The original recipe is best. That’s why it exists.
Surtur Rising offers precisely the same look and feel as their previous and it’s awesome. We already hooked you up with War of the Gods, the record’s opening track, a good while ago, which is an extremely visualizing song. The rest of the record is no different, though tempos and aggression will vary across tracks. One of my favorites in terms of visualization capabilities is a song called Slaves of Fear, which I’d like to serve up as a good fuckin’ appetizer.
However, it’s not my favorite track, which are the already mentioned War of the Gods, as well as a song called Wrath of the Norsemen. It somehow sounds thicker and juicier. With a richer pallet of flavors and moods, from deep dark, to sharp and crisp, to victorious and morale-stimulating.
It’s difficult to actually say a lot more about this record. What does it sound like? Like fuckin’ Amon Amarth. What else do you fuckin’ wanna know? It really is all there is to say. The band is back and it’s back at full force, cleaving open your skull with a two-handed Viking axe. It’s that fuckin’ simple.
So, instead of further soiling this delicious piece of Metal with more words, I figured I’d just give you another bit of music. Not from the album itself this time, but from the live DVD that accompanied my special edition of the album. The DVD is titled Bloodshed over Bochum and was recorded between December 28th and December 31st in the German town of Bochum. Johan Hegg clearly had been straining his vocal chords a bit too much, but it doesn’t fuckin’ matter. It still comes down at you like a truck full of anvils from the sky.
I picked a song called Bastards of a Lying Breed, for the simple fuckin’ reason that it was already uploaded and I’m lazy.
Can’t really do more than this. In considering whether or not to buy this album, ask yourself the following. Have you heard Amon Amarth yet? No, buy it! Yes, then consider this: did you get bored after their last album? No, buy it! The “else answer” means you should have a closer listen to the thing. So, I’ve laid out your decision tree for you, now you do the rest.
My Grade: 9/10
Buy this when:
- you don’t know Amon Amarth yet
- you dig Amon Amarth
- you’re a Viking or look like one