Amon Amarth: Deceiver of the Gods

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Amon Amarth: Deceiver of the Gods
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Amon Amarth: Deceiver of the Gods
Death Metal
Metal Blade Records
June 25th, 2013
Release length: 47:58
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Since Amon Amarth released their 1996 debut EP Sorrow Throughout the Nine Worlds, they have been a huge talking point within the Metal community, especially as of late. Their more recent efforts have been climbed many “album of the year charts,” starting from 2006’s With Oden On Our Side and on. They return once more with their ninth full-length release, Deceiver of the Gods, which is being met with incredibly high expectations from their fan base. But, does this effort hold up against their recent successes, or is this venture back to the band’s roots marred with problems?

There’s plenty of solid songs that do show the band trying to go back to their earlier sound. “As Loke Falls” is a grim track with tighter chords and drumming that weave a depressing tone without pushing itself to use less complexity for the sake of an epic sound. The pace shifts between a slower atmospheric build and faster, chugging rhythms behind cleaner leads. “Father of the Wolf” finds a greater focus on the bass, even though much of it is a simple backbone to the guitar hooks. The lyrics and vocal performance give off a clean narrative, as if a warning from an elder clansman, and the music perfectly reflects this the entire time, making it stand out as one of the best cuts this release has to offer. “We Shall Destroy” finds the focus on the bass again, twanging behind some catchy and melancholic leads in an oppressive mid-tempo pace. The vocal range pays off here as well, adding some enthusiasm to restrictive atmosphere, and additional layers that appear really thicken things up and help mask the thinner guitar issues. The moment this track starts, you will bang your head along, going willingly on what seems like a march to battle.

Sadly, not all are as strong as this, and that’s due more to the audio quality. The guitars simply are not that rich, and from time to time the bass doesn’t have much effect on the music, coming through with less than a dull hum. This isn’t a major problem when the chords are clean, typically during the chorus and solo, but everywhere else they just sound kind weak, removing some of the bite here and there. It’s immediately obvious on their lead single and title track “Deceiver of the Gods.” When the bass and drums really pick up after the solo, things do become a lot richer and have more of an impact, but prior to it the material simply doesn’t hit the same way. Thankfully the enthusiasm and hooks manage to salvage that first half enough to keep you invested. “Under Siege,” however, does find tighter chords at work, but the thin audio crushes the epic levels the leads try to create, and the bass supplies little to no backbone, causing this to be incredibly boring.

“Hel” is a song that simply cannot be ignored, thanks largely to the guest who appears. Former Candlemass vocalist Messiah Marcolin lends his voice to this track, and it’s an interesting mixture that is hit or miss to the listener. His presence perfectly suits the slightly twisted atmosphere of the track, and the slower pace works wonders to capture the power of his Doom Metal vocals. Messiah’s performance is ushered in slowly, starting with hamonizations in a bridge, and ending in a dominating presence in the chorus at the end. There is no middle road for this song, you either will love it or hate it, and those aware of the guest vocalist’s past will definitely appreciate it more.

Deceiver of the Gods is packed with songs that have varied impacts. With a thin audio level, some songs have little bite and can end up absolutely boring. You also have some that throw back to the early days of Amon Amarth and will have you banging your head along with those issues barely noticeable. Sadly, this isn’t the grand powerhouse we have come to expect, but it’s still not a bad album by any means. There are enough memorable songs here with catchy material you’ll bang your head along to, or even flat out submit to. You’ll even be able to pick out what ones will become instant crowd favorites, such as “We Shall Destroy,” even the title track “Deceiver of the Gods.” If you’re a fan of Amon Amarth, Deceiver of the Gods isn’t going to let you down.

01. Deceiver of the Gods – 4:19
02. As Loke Falls – 4:39
03. Father of the Wolf – 4:20
04. Shape Shifter – 4:03
05. Under Siege – 6:18
06. Blood Eagle – 3:16
07. We Shall Destroy – 4:26
08. Hel – 4:10
09. Coming of the Tide – 4:16
10. Warriors of the North – 8:12
Initial Pressing Score: 7.5/10

Amon Amarth (band)
Amon Amarth

Digital review copy of this release provided by Metal Blade Records via Earsplit PR.