Amon Amarth // Deceiver of the Gods 
Rating: 4.0/5.0 — Back with a Wengeance!
Label: Metalblade
Websites: |
Release Dates: EU: 2013.06.21/24 | US: 06.25.2013

AmonAmarth-DeceiverOfTheGodsAmon Amarth. It should be no secret that the fanboys of Angry Metal Guy dot com love this band. With With Oden on Our Side ranking in at #12 on my Top 15(ish) of the 2000s list, and Steel Druhm popping an uncharacteristically exuberant and punny woody over 2011’s Surtur Rising, it should come as no surprise to you that Amon Amarth‘s new record was definitely on the Angry Metal Radar™. In my opinion, though, Amon Amarth has been weak since 2006’s extraordinarily mighty WOoOS (pronounced like it’s spelled), which broke them for the world market. Follow up Twilight of the Thunder God was tepid and too clean, and Surtur Rising felt like an over correction and hasn’t aged well, either. So color me skeptical: Amon Amarth hasn’t done anything for me for two records and 5 years—would that change now?

Well, since you’re literate and the score is up top, that wasn’t much of a tease, but to unnecessarily answer my rhetorical question now: yes, that changed now. As it should, Deceiver of the Gods drops like Mjölnir on a giant’s skull. Bursting out the gate with the title track “Deceiver of the Gods,” there’s a recognizable Amon Amarth sound and feel, but slight differences stand out. Noticeably, the guitar work has been taken up a notch. On the opening track and on track 2 “As Loke Falls,” the work is uniquely guitar oriented for the generally minimalistic Amon Amarth. While the band certainly let the groove do the talking on awesome tracks like “Under Siege,” “Father of the Wolf,” “Coming of the Tide,” and the epic closing track “Warriors of the North,” the flourishes are more melodic, and the feel is perfect.

Throw in the band’s pummeling, trem-picky brutality on “Shape Shifter,” the gruesome “Blood Eagle,” and ripper “Deceiver of the Gods” (+ mead) and you’ve got yourself a party. The record is LP length (47 minutes) and fun from front to back, with the only real misstep being the mid-paced “We Shall Destroy,” which doesn’t quite live up to the standard of the rest of the record. But that short mistake was made up for by the amazing “Hel,” which features Messiah Marcolin (ex-Candlemass). While slow, it fits Messiah perfectly and is one of the first five star songs of of 2013.

544719_562018690498567_466619184_nIt should be noted that Amon Amarth switched it up this time around by working with Andy Sneap. The production is clean, bassier and thicker than Surtur Rising and has good depth. While it’s overloud (what isn’t?), it’s still got a good feel and doesn’t feel toothless and unheavy. It doesn’t hurt that Sneap gets some of the best guitar tone in the business. But there’s also something distinctively NWoBHM about a lot of the guitar work on here. I don’t know if this is Sneap’s doing, or if the band just switched it up in the writing process, but these records stink of ’80s British metal (see: “Coming of the Tide,” the lead in “Deceiver of the Gods,”  the double lead in “As Loke Falls,” the chorus on “Father of the Wolf,” etc., etc., etc.). It’s beautiful to hear, and while it doesn’t feel new for their sound exactly, it certainly is more distinct on Deceiver of the Gods than it’s ever been.

Amon Amarth isn’t going to shock or surprise anyone 15 years after their immaculate debut Once Sent from the Golden Hall. But, like many other of the best bands in the business they have been consistent, they’ve had a hell of a lot more time up than down, and they do what they do extraordinarily well. Deceiver of the Gods isn’t here to surprise—it’s here to kick your ass—and if that’s the goal: mission accomplished.

  • I admit it, I overrated Sutur Rising. I got caught up in my Viking assault fanboyism and lost my head like poor old Ned!!!

    • Surtur is their only album that I haven’t gone back to over and over. It was similar to the albums that proceeded it but not as awesome. At least that’s how I felt.

      Really excited for Deceiver though! From what I’ve heard so far, this will probably be my album of the year.

    • OzanCan

      IMHO, Surtur Rising was awesome. And I’m sure as hell, they nailed it once again in Deceiver of the Gods as well. Oh yeah, can’t you tell? A fanboy of the band and the Vikings and their mtyhology!! m/

    • It’s OK. These things happen. I have overrated plenty of things in the moment, hence the “rate down” rule.

      • And btw, I object to the term “punny woody.” It reads too close to “puny woody” which is libelous!

  • Mike Eckman

    I know these guys are hugely popular and I’ll admit, I’ve liked what I’ve heard in the past, but I have 3 of their older albums and they all sounded pretty much exactly the same to me. It’s been a while since I’ve put any of their stuff in, however, Im always willing to give this new disc a shot! :)

  • I find myself in agreement. I liked the last two albums, but this is Amon Amarth’s best work since WOoOS.

  • Maese Delta

    Aah… yep.

    Also, the beginning of “Deceiver of the Gods” reminded me a lot of “Blazon Stone” by Running Wild.

    • Nice catch! I love those pirate metallers.

  • Slammin Rushdie

    I’ll admit, I grimaced a bit when I saw “Blood Eagle” in the tracklisting. About time they had a song about that, though.

  • DrChocolate

    I LOVE(D) this band and HATED, flat hated, Surtur Rising. To this day, I can’t fully explain why either. I just do. I don’t know if I’ve ever made it from the first track to the last and somehow it sullied their other records for me too; like a girlfriend who cheated on you ruins all the good memories you had together with her infidelity. I’ve been so hesitant to even look into this album, but this review is slowly changing my mind and I might have to see if the old girl has gone back to her loyal ways, so thanks AMG, but if it happens again, Imma be mad and feel like a fool. We’ll see…

    • Wow….Just wow.

      • DrChocolate

        I know, it’s seems dramatic and maybe slightly overstated, but it’s the only way I can describe it. I seriously worshiped at their Viking altar since I first heard The Avenger in ’99, but Surtur was SUCH a let down to me. It did not grab me at all; at all – Hell, I think the best tracks are the covers and I can’t tolerate Kiss in the slightest. Fandom is such a strange beast.

  • Shahir Chagan

    Ah, I always know what to expect from these guys and there’s always a great surprise in each album.
    Well worth every cent for me!

  • Excentric_1307

    I really liked Sutur Rising, the gutteral deathy vocals being a highlight for me. That said, the guitar work in this sample song (Deceiver of the Gods) fixes what I felt to be the biggest flaw in Sutur Rising; its simplicity. There was little reason to revisit that album because after a few spins, you’ve heard it all.

  • Andres Pintos Nocerino

    in first opinion i prefer surtur rising, but only in 1st opinion

  • OzanCan

    I love listening to METAL especially when I am chapulling.
    This album is exactly what I need! m/

    • What the hell is “chapulling”???

      • OzanCan

        Ask google :)

  • Eryops

    Looks like June 25th is going to be a great day — this and the new White Wizzard!

  • Matthew Christensen

    Getting rather tired tired of hearing these guys put out the same album over and over again.

    • Rik

      Then stop listening to them.

    • Raven

      well.. they are not a ‘progressive’ band nor under influence of any kind of progressive music..

      they already declared thay they are under influence of bands like Motörhead, AC/DC, Black Sabbath and Judas Priest… plenty of old bands those repeated theirself from one album to another arent they??… There are Accept influence too.. all of them are bikers, tuff guys.. rather than focusing on doing ‘art’y things

      this is what Amon Amarth is… if you wanna listen something different from one to another you should listen Dark Tranquallity or whatever…

  • Barry Neilson

    Yeaaah……I simply can’t wait. I liked Surtur Rising, but WOoOS is definitely their best to date, so looking forward to seeing how this compares. Nice to actually see an AMG review from 2013 I’m inclined to agree with at last lol. (My favourite album this year to date is The Living Infinite).

  • Daniel Figueiredo

    Did you guys listen to the bonus disc with the “cover tracks” as well? They sound pretty neat!

    • Nah. Bonus tracks never get sent out as promo, unfortunately.

  • JWG

    I enjoyed Surtur Rising and Twilight of the Thunder Gods no less than any other Amon Amarth albums, but I freely admit that’s because I’m incapable of being objective or even vaguely ‘critical’ (in positive or negative senses) of *any* Amon Amarth album.

    It could be tapping into my Swedish heritage with just enough lyrical authenticity to make me ponder plundering the Northern English coastline.

    It’s probably even ‘simpler’ than that, while being contradictorily near impossible to adequately describe (so goes most subjectivity though, you know?)

    Whatever it is, I know Deceiver of the Gods is a must have for my collection.

    • To be fair, your Swedish heritage would be sending you for Russia, but it’s true that it’s badass record.

  • Cary Hutchison

    This is my favourite album of the year thus far. It would be fantastic to see them do another two set tour.

  • Gustaf Lundström

    Fair judgment of an awesome album. It’s not quite up there with WOoOS but definately one of the most enjoyable releases this year, and not at all hard to get into. The second half is outstanding to say the least!

  • Stasia98

    Great album but i can’t stand the way so much modern metal is so compressed.

  • Very impressive article. I have read each and every point and found it very interesting

    • Very impressive spambot! I’m not sure I understand the point of such a spambot!

  • Barry Neilson

    Loving this album…. Definitely their best since With Oden on Our Side…and that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the last two. Not too keen on the guest vocals on Hel though, just not really my cup of tea, but aside from that this is a brilliant album. And I strongly recommend checking out the bonus tracks on the ‘Under the Influence’ CD…especially Stand up to go Down….some of the funniest lyrics I’ve heard in a long time, and super catchy!

  • A very well written review, thanks a lot. I look forward to the album. Also, thanks for Svart Crown, it’s the album I’m spinning the most now.

  • I’ve been spinning this record like there is no tomorrow. Freaking great.