Amon Amarth -"Twilight of the Thunder God" Album Review
Track Listing and Line-Up
1. Twilight of the Thunder God (featuring Roope Latvala)
2. Free Will Sacrifice
3. Guardians of Asgaard (featuring Lars Göran Petrov)
4. Where Is Your God?
5. Varyags of Miklagaard
6. Tattered Banners and Bloody Flags
7. No Fear for the Setting Sun
8. The Hero
9. Live for the Kill (featuring Apocalyptica)
10.Embrace of the Endless Ocean
Johan Hegg − vocals
Olavi Mikkonen − guitar
Johan Söderberg − guitar
Ted Lundström − bass guitar
Fredrik Andersson − drums
Lars Göran Petrov (Entombed) − vocals on Guardians of Asgaard
Roope Latvala (Children of Bodom) − guitar solo on Twilight of the Thunder God
Apocalyptica − cellos on Live for the Kill
Ronny Milianowicz (ex-Sinergy) - horns, brass, choir vocals
One of THE Best Music Videos Ever
My History with The Album
I got this album only mere months after discovering Amon Amarth from their previous albums; The Crusher, The Avenger, Versus the World and Thor Arise; all excellent tributes to Viking strength and conquests. I was so enamored with how the Swedish giants told their stories with weighty guitar riffs punctuated by overly melodic solos and Johan Hegg's war cry vocals. Hell-bent on getting more of the Viking metal action, I looked up the music video for the title track and was blown away.
It was a 4 min movie with big battles, fire and more adventure than some big-budget films. Complete with historically-accurate Vikings and Eastern-looking barbarians. All to an ear-blowing, brain blasting music that if invented back then, would curb stomp the so-called "classical" composers and their self-indulgent noodling.
2008 was a good year for modern metal with many standout releases coming out where each caused me to get pumped and go insane in public while blasting the mostly Swedish sonic assaults; this is one such album. Whether from me being a snot-nosed high school kid to a more muscular, financially stable and fight-experienced adult; this album destroys with catchy melodies, fast guitars, vicious Viking lyrics about destruction, inner darkness, and battles.
Johan Hegg's vocals tear through the air while guitarist Olavi Mikkonen's guitarwork has standouts to spare with technique and harmonies. This album gets hyped in modern metal circles and for good reason since Amon Amarth has gained steam and put their whole energy supply into it. Such offerings strengthen Amon Amarth's status as a cornerstone of the modern Swedish metal scene with no competition. Among Swedish MDM bands, Amon Amarth stands among the most unique to the point of creating the genre of Viking Metal without even knowing it.
Twilight of the Thunder God, the track that is among the many highlights, including an epic music video and a riff that kicks you straight in the face and then you lose your cool as it rends the air; setting the tone of the album where it's going to get dark, fast and heavy; much like the Norse inspiration; Slaying of the Jormungandr/World Serpent by Thor. Amon Amarth knows how to tactically create a song for max impact; knowing when to shift gears from slower, heavier parts to the faster, heart pumping ones and solos; always leaving you excited at the end while chills run up your spine at the start.
Amon Amarth seems to know that filler is bad, this is seen in the perfect song lengths and what to include in them; making an album that any metal guy would enjoy in a linear way without skipping a track. Balance is the key word here where the melody harmonies with the heavy with tracks such as Live for the Kill (featuring cello parts by Apocalyptica) where they contribute to the excellent build-up to where everything explodes as if hordes of warriors charge, colliding wall to wall.
Amon Amarth also has a tendency to make every song a story which feels like a mini-motion picture where only the most important, relevant parts are condensed into a climax where everything has a purpose and all the loose ends are tied. The Hero is one such song where themes of aging and death of a life-fatigued warrior are explored; building up to a song that is dark and even nihilistic at points.
Overall, Twilight of the Thunder God is an excellent album that deserves all the praise it gets in metal circles while solidifying Amon Amarth's position as one of the main Swedish modern metal bands. This album is also what most think when you refer to the band; serving as a testament to its impact; dark, heavy, melodic and fun to listen to.
© 2018 Jake Clawson