|Melodic Death Metal
Metal Blade Records
September 22nd, 2006
Release length: 1:10:21
Easily the best in their catalogue thusfar, the album’s music seems to continue changing towards a more atmospheric metal sound that some of their earlier works seem to lack. Take “Hermod’s Ride To Hel – Lokes Treacher, Part 1” as an example. This slower track features music that one would expect to hear during a mythological battle sequence, powerful and punishing that suits the feel of the song, giving off a victorious feel. The same can be said about the song “Under The Northern Star”, which has more a haunting feel with a very stand out guitar composition that causes this track to stand out against the entire album and make you want to break out your lighter wherever you may be.
However, while some songs are clearly focused on an atmosphere that enompasses the lyrical content of the song, such as the aforementioned track “Hermod’s Ride To Hel”, as well as “Runes To My Memory” and “Cry Of The Black Birds”, there are some songs that are just meant to be kick ass metal songs. While the tracks on this release aren’t really fast, more of a mid paced, the heavy, yet catchy riffs, as well as the well paced drumming, make much of the tracks on this album stick in your head. The only exception to this would be the music on the first track, “Valhalla Awaits Me”, which is the fastest cut on the album, but perhaps the most memorable.
The only issue with this release would be that after a couple listens, the songs “Gods Of War Arise” and the title track “With Oden On Our Side” may grow boring. As great as With Oden On Our Side is, some of the music seems formulaic, which will become obvious over time. “With Oden On Our Side” has many moments that will catch your attention (such as the guitar solo), but at times, like the start of the song, will have you saying “I think I just heard this, didn’t I?”. However, “Gods Of War Arise” just seems like it’s a filler track, as it was recycling riffs from “Runes To My Memory” or “Hermod’s Ride To Hel” that just didn’t make the final cut.
The bonus disc for the digipack version isn’t anything to real go nuts over. First off, you get two tracks from Amon Amarth‘s past efforts recorded live at Wacken. “Where Silent Gods Stand Guard” and “Death In Fire” are a professional quality, clearly recorded through the soundboard and not by putting a microphone near the speakers like some live tracks end up being, and give a very accurate representation of the band’s live abilities and sound extremely similar to the original studio tracks.
But, aside the live tracks, you have “With Oden On Our Side” and “Hermod’s Ride To Hel – Lokes Treachery Part 1” demo recordings, which aren’t all that fascinating since the studio versions match these, except for the vocal recording quality being a little quiet, and the raw recording quality, as well as some of the drumming on “Herod’s Ride To Hel”, and is rather boring if you heard the original before the demo. These were recorded in their rehearsal studio, so it’s good to know there weren’t many changes to the music when they hit the studio to officially records.
And as far as the last two tracks that were recorded at Sunlight Studios are concerned, it’s nothing spectacular. “Once Sent From The Golden Hall” and “Return Of The Gods” are great songs, but the quality on both of these tracks is rather bad given they were recorded in 1997. Considering the quality and the fact that Sorrow Throughout The Nine Worlds was recordedin 1996 and Once Sent From The Golden Hall was 1998, it would be a safe bet that these are also demo tracks. However, the song “Return Of The Gods” was never placed on any official released and is labeled as an unreleased track, and does sound promising. Hopefully one day the band will record this track officially for a future full length, or possibly some single b-side.
All in all the release is pretty good. With only two tracks that, over time, will make you hit the skip button, it’s a very positive sign that the band has found it’s signature sound and has honed in on it. With two singles from the album (“Runes To My Memory” and “Cry Of The Black Birds”), the band is well on their way to being one of the definitive sounds in the death metal genre today, if some don’t already consider them that. If you haven’t heard this release, it’s definitely worth your time to get your copy, limited edition digipack or not since there isn’t much to get excited about on the bonus disc aside a previously unreleased track.
01. Valhalla Awaits Me – 4:43
02. Runes To My Memory – 4:32
03. Asator – 3:04
04. Hermod’s Ride To Hel – Lokes Treachery, Part 1 – 4:40
05. Gods Of War Arise – 6:02
06. With Oden On Our Side – 4:34
07. Cry Of The Black Birds – 3:49
08. Under The Northern Star – 4:17
09. Prediction Of Warfare – 6:36
|Initial Score: 7.5/10
Digipack Edition Score: 8/10
Physical review copy of this release provided by personal funds.