Conceptual metal bands don’t get much bigger than this. Everyone’s favourite Norse-themed heroes, Amon Amarth, have returned with their ninth studio album, Deceiver of the Gods. The group, possibly best known for their 2008 hit, Twilight Of The Thunder God, have had an ever growing fan base in the UK thanks to some fantastic shows on tour, an impressive set at this year’s Download Festival (where the group even bought their own full-sized long boat!) and intensifying press coverage. Let’s just hope that this new record is the sign of yet more fantastic things to come from this band.
Deceiver of the Gods does hold some really impressive features. The band haven’t gone too astray from their signature sound but this hasn’t affected the level of originality in their songs either. In all tracks, there is a good mix of riffs with very grand, melodic choruses from guitarists Johan Söderberg and Olavi Mikkonen with some evident influence of more classical elements in tracks such as As Loke Falls. Johan Hegg’s vocals have not at all dwindled and, like previous albums, the lyrics are not inaudibly lost in his deep growls. Having said that though, there are elements that we don’t often see in the group’s music that have come to light. There is an almost spiritual successor to Guardians of Asgaard in We Shall Destroy with a lighter, more tuneful riff to contrast with the majority of thrashing anthems on the album and a rare 8 minute epic in Warriors of the North which will make for pleasant or tedious listening depending on your attention span with such tracks, but either way the song is completely Amon Amarth through and through.
And the high points on this album don’t stop there. Most fans can expect to be left with a large grin on their face after they hear the harmony between Johan and Messiah Marcolin (ex-Candlemass) on Hel. The contrast of the two voices comes a surprisingly good blend with neither of the two voices taking prominence, leaving a nice balanced sound.
Deceiver of the Gods will absolutely please ready made Amon Amarth fans instantly. If you’re new to the band, then this isn’t a bad place to start either, but expect to have your patience challenged with some long verses before you get to the awe inspiring sound of the choruses. But more importantly, for a band who are often criticised for unoriginality, this new album certainly shows there is still a spark for new ideas for this band yet.