Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Review: Amon Amarth - Surtur Rising

Band: Amon Amarth
Album: Surtur Rising
Year: 2011
Country: Sweden
Genre: Melodic Death/Metal

I have never really enjoyed Amon Amarth. I mean my experience with the band is limited to having listened to Twilight of the Thunder God a few times. I have a big issue with that album and it holds true with Surtur Rising as well.

Amon Amarth don't seem to play melodic death metal so much as down tuned heavy metal or hard rock with death metal vocals over them. Lets keep in mind, just having death metal vocals does not make a band death metal. Are they catchy? Yes, so I can see why people like them. But in the metal community not many people seem to call them out for the fact that they play really weak melodic "death metal".

I mean is anything on Surtur Rising any heavier than Slipknot or 5 Finger Death Punch or even Killswitch Engage? In the vocal department I can give Johan Hegg credit. He has a very death metal sounding growl. But musically this is far from death metal or even the crud that passes for melodic death metal these days.

There are some fast picked parts in songs like Tock's Taunt - Loke's Treachery Pt 2 and Destroyer of the Universe which are actually more in line with what you would normally hear in the genre. But for every one of these parts you have stuff like The Last Stand of Frej or their cover of the System of a Down track Aerials. A Beast I Am is actually a pretty decent song and the furthest away from the heavy rock/metal style they play in. Its both aggressive and heavy which makes me wish they could have done this throughout the entire album.

So for those looking for good melodic death metal rather than hard rock on steroids I suggest you look elsewhere. While the vocals are good and some of the tracks (A Beast I Am, Live Without Regrets, Destroyer of the Universe) are good, most of it is just watered down metal lite with death metal vocals over it. In fact the best part of this album is probably the cool album artwork. I'm sure there are plenty more enticing bands and albums out this year than this drivel.

Score: 4/10
Standout Track: A Beast I Am

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