The 10th studio release by the ashamedly viking metal band Amon Amarth is also their first concept album. Based around a tragic love story between a man & woman with the Jomsvikings and their world as the background for the story to play out over 11 songs.
Those expecting a different sounding approach to accompany this story will be disappointed, this is an Amon Amarth record. This shouldn’t be seen as a negative point necessarily though, Amon do heavy, foot-stomping & head-banging Viking-esque numbers & they do it incredibly well.
First Kill sets the bar early being a rip-roaring, catchy affair that showcases exactly what Amon & this album are all about.
“The first man I killed was the earl’s right-hand man
When he came to take her away
I ran his own sword straight through his throat
And then I stood there, watching him fade”
The intensity of the lyrics & deep-throated delivery by singer, Johan Hegg fit the catchy riff & pacing of the song. It’s a blast to the head, clearing any cobwebs out & a great start to a strong album overall.
Consistency is a big part of Jomsviking even if it’s at the expense of inspiration at times. A few songs are just not that memorable showing a band that are very good at what they do but not willing to risk too much.
Many of the songs (On a Sea of Blood, Raise Your Horns) showcase some incredible guitar work giving many of the albums most exciting moments. The guitar riffs & occasional solos really lift an often mundane sounding metal track to greater heights.
The biggest surprise on the album comes during the song, A Dream That Cannot Be with the guest singer, the incredible Doro Pesch. She’s a talent & her vocals play well into the style of music as well as combating the gruffness of Johan Heggs voice.
The album signs off in style with the lengthy Back On Northern Shores (over 7 minutes long). It’s a bit of an epic, the sort of song you’d expect a Viking based metal band to throw out on occasion.
Amon Amarth have been long held as a traditional metal band, playing their music loud & fast. Music to get drunk & bang your head too & Jomsviking isn’t going to change that view. It’s a solid slab of metal, easy to listen too, easy to enjoy…just don’t expect world changing stuff.
Full Track List:
1. First Kill
3. On a Sea of Blood
4. One Against All
5. Raise Your Horns
6. The Way of Vikings
7. At Dawn’s First Light
8. One Thousand Burning Arrows
9. Vengeance Is My Name
10. A Dream That Cannot Be (featuring Doro Pesch)
11. Back on Northern Shores
Amon Amarth - Jomsviking (Metal Blade Records)