"With Oden on our Side"

(Metal Blade)

01. Valhall Awaits Me
02. Runes To My Memory
03. Asator
04. Hermod's Ride To Hel - Lokes Treachery Part 1
05. Gods Of War Arise
06. With Oden On Our Side
07. Cry Of The Black Birds
08. Under The Northern Star
09. Prediction Of Warfare

RATING: 8/10

There was a time when AMON AMARTH was accepted by the average fan as little more than "that cool Viking metal band" living in the shadows of Sweden's more popular acts. That began to change with the release of 2002's "Versus the World", and the momentum picked up considerably with the 2004 follow-up "Fate of Norns". Having opened a few ears the world over and solidifying its fan base, AMON AMARTH strikes with a stake through the heart on "With Oden on Our Side", a heavier album than refines the band's patented melodic death metal style. Though no major departure from the past two releases, there are noteworthy tweaks and a continued dedication to songwriting quality.

This extra boost of aggression alluded to above is apparent from the opening notes of the up-tempo "Valhall Awaits Me", one of several tracks that boasts a basic and memorable chorus. But it is on "Cry of the Black Birds" and especially "Asator" that the quintet lets it rip in speedy death/thrash fashion. The classic AMON AMARTH sound (i.e., the grandness of the chords, the warriors-on-the-march visuals created by the music) is most pronounced on "Gods of War Arise" and the title track. The way in which Johan Hegg, who stretches his already impressive voice just a little further on this one, makes you believe that battles are being waged nearby is always impressive, and these songs are no different. Similar words could be uttered about the battlefield-march vibe created by "Prediction of Warfare" and the melancholy "Under the Northern Star".

As always, the harmonies and overall playing of guitarists Johan Söderberg and Olavi Mikkonen are filled with class and distinction. Though the AMON AMARTH method of harmonizing has been a hallmark of the band for some time now, a few minor twists and the utilization of alluring two-part playing (i.e. "Runes to my Memory") may lift the guitar work on "With Oden on our Side" above that of past efforts. There is more in the way of soloing as well; though still basically melodic leads, the boys open things up a bit more than what was heard in years past.

Long-time fans of AMON AMARTH's work will not be disappointed with "With Oden on Our Side" and, given time, may even place it above "Versus the World" and "Fate of Norns". I've not yet made up my mind, but can say with complete confidence that all three albums are worth the purchase price. "With Oden on our Side" just happens to have more bite to it, always a welcome quality in my book.


To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@) with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).