Amon Amarth – Jomsviking (Review)

Author: Craig Matthews

AMON AMARTH, Our favourite Death metal Vikings are back with their latest album ‘Jomsviking’.Released on the 25th of march 2016 with Tobias Gustasfsson  covering drumming duties after the departure of long term drummer Fredrik Andersson in January. ‘Jomsviking’ takes the band on a slightly more melodic direction as it tells its story of blood and vengeance.

Looking at the album cover I have to admit I am excited, just from the artwork you can see this is a departure from the bands usual fare. The image of the lone Viking warrior with his bloody war axe says that this is going to be more of a personal story rather than the bands usual epic story telling. The album is actually the band’s first concept album, telling the story of the lone Viking and the tragedies that befall him. I can’t wait to see how the band who are so well known for their songs about epic battles and Norse mythology tell the story of one man.

The AMON AMARTH fan in me is dying to say the nailed it. Sadly the critic disagrees. The album opens  well, it’s the Death Metal we know and love and will be a catchy crowd pleaser.  As the rest of the album progresses you can really hear the bands shift to a more melodic pace. In some parts even leaning to a more “heavy metal” sound, with the vocals almost sounding clean in some places. Change is never a bad thing, but I feel that something is missing; it’s not reaching through the headphones and tearing my face off like it should.

A worthy mention is ‘Raise your horns’ A true warriors song, its heavy foot stomping riff and Johan’s distinctive growling vocals spitting incredibly catchy lyrics at you. It would make even the tamest and placid person grab a sword, be ready to die in battle and ride to Valhalla! The album progresses from here and the pace is picking up again. I feel like the band is really getting back into their groove. The sound is much more in your face here, it sounds much more refined and the new more melodic direction is working well for them.

All in all I think this album works well, it’s a change from AMON AMARTH’S previous offerings, and lets not forget that this is a departure from their normal subject matter. But to me, in some places it just seems…softer. It’s just not reaching out and grabbing me enough. The second half of the album is better, it’s like they woke up and remembered who they were and that does save it. But no-one is going to be bursting through the gates of Valhalla singing songs from this album.

3/5. Must try harder

Track-list
1. First Kill
2. Wanderer
3. On A Sea Of Blood
4. One Against All
5. Raise Your Horns
6. The Way Of Vikings
7. At Dawns First Light
8. One Thousand Burning Arrows
9. Vengeance Is My Name
10. A Dream That Cannot Be
11. Back On Northern Shores

Band Members
Johan Hegg − vocals
Olavi Mikkonen − guitar
Johan Söderberg − guitar
Ted Lundström − bass guitar
Tobias Gustasfsson – Drums

 

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