Amon Amarth – Surtur Rising (2011) Review
Amon Amarth is one of the few bands from my silly teenage years that I still listen to (Rotting Christ being the only other one I can think of off the top of my head). There’s a reason why: their uber in-your-face viking music appealed to young, angry me, but the quality of their music tends to be of a higher caliber than most over-the-top epic bands.
I was not initially impressed by Surtur Rising. However, this album grows as you listen to it. The first few tracks sound like pretty standard fare Amon Amarth. They aren’t doing anything new or unusual with those tracks. I found myself wanting more and growing bored with them…they’re good, yes, but they aren’t as good as I know Amon Amarth is capable of. I noticed that by the fifth song, things were starting to become more interesting. The music became less like a wave of metal and seemed to become more thought out. It seems that more attention was put into making memorable songs with interesting melodies and levels of complexity.
It’s in the second half of the album that Amon Amarth starts to do wonderful things. They seem to be putting more emphasis on creating interesting music rather than on following the same Metal Formula that they’ve used since the beginning. They still sound like themselves, for sure, but at the same time what they are seems to be evolving and maturing. They are making music that contains really beautiful moments.
My favorite moment in this album is the ending of “A Beast I Am” and how it leads into “Doom Over Dead Man”. “Doom Over Dead Man” is the riskiest song on the album, and it’s the one I enjoy the most. It sounds so different and beautiful, yet so obviously Amon Amarth.
Amon Amarth has not topped “With Oden On Our Side” with this album, but they’ve still created some interesting music and they continue to be one of my favorite bands.
Here’s a video of Johan Hegg explaining the concepts behind each of the songs:
Doom Over Dead Man: