Death Metal Underground

Amon Amarth – Deceiver of the Gods

by Martin Jacobsen
July 6, 2013 –

amon_amarth-deceiver_of_the_godsFans of Amon Amarth will find their latest offering Deceiver of the Gods to be a solid continuation of the band’s heavy and bloody recapitulation of Norse mythology, albeit a little less heavy and a little less bloody. 

Those new to the latest album by this 14-year-long line-up of Swedish death metal royalty will find a great introduction to their sound and ethos. While Deceiver of the Gods does not have the intensity of classics With Oden on Our Side or Twilight of the Thunder God, this album certainly offers everything expected of an Amon Amarth album. 

The first two tracks, “Deceiver of the Gods” and “As Loke Falls” show a strong Iron Maiden influence.  “Father of the Wolf” — for which a video is being produced — is thrashier.  “Shape Shifter” is an epic song that proves a bit heavier than the offerings to this point. “Under Siege” steps things up nicely with a fairly intricate opening, a much more complex structure overall, and a couple of extra minutes to develop.  At 6:17 it is the second-longest song on the album (and this reviewer’s favorite track) and exemplifies the melodic death metal aesthetic Amon Amarth has so adroitly sustained year after year, album after album. “Blood Eagle,” “We Shall Destroy,” and “Hel” are solid tunes if a bit tiring; “Hel” also features the vocal contributions of Messiah Marcolin, notable for his work with unique doom metal band Candlemass. “Coming of the Tide” drives harder, and the energy it brings — as well as tempo changes and nice guitar work — recall the intensity of earlier albums. The eight-minute epic “Warriors of the North” closes the album with classic Amon Amarth flair.

Those interested in the deluxe edition will find a four-song EP-Under the Influence- included.  Each song appears to be a tribute to an influential band. “Burning Anvil of Steel” (Judas Priest), “Satan Rising” (Black Sabbath), “Snake Eyes” (AC/DC), and “Stand Up to Go Down” (Motorhead) constitute an intriguing contemplation of Amon Amarth’s sources.

Expertly produced, mixed, and mastered by veteran metal-maven Andy Sneap (originally of Sabbat UK), Deceiver of the Gods is a good album and well worth the asking price. Fans will appreciate the new material and those new to Amon Amarth and/or death metal will find this album a worthy introduction.

Tracklist:

  • Deceiver of the Gods (4:19)
  • As Loke Falls (4:38)
  • Father of the Wolf (4:19)
  • Shape Shifter (4:02)
  • Under Siege (6:17)
  • Blood Eagle (3:15)
  • We Shall Destroy (4:25)
  • Hel (4:09)
  • Coming of the Tide (4:16)
  • Warriors of the North (8:12)

Tags: ,

23 comments

  • deadite

    This won’t be received well.

    I appreciate how early Amon Amarth tried to be like a more melodic version of Unleashed, and “Sorrow Throughout The Nine Worlds” and “Once Sent From The Golden Hall” are solid works – however derivative. “Versus The World” is a guilty pleasure; simple songs around one central melodic theme, but usually never too repetitive.

    However, Amon Amarth really has just been releasing the same album over and over again since “The Crusher”. I can’t imagine this one sounding much different than any of them. It’s old hat, and coupled with stupid decisions (like that box set with the bobble heads….REALLY?) make me think that any genuine qualities the band may have possessed are gone.

    This isn’t a slight against you, Martin, as I do agree AA is a good band for death metal newbies. Just gonna prepare you for the incoming shitstorm.

    1. Brett Stevens

      I appreciate how early Amon Amarth tried to be like a more melodic version of Unleashed, and “Sorrow Throughout The Nine Worlds” and “Once Sent From The Golden Hall” are solid works – however derivative.

      They sound roughly like Unleashed plus Sentenced sped up.

        1. deadite

          The ones that I mentioned are pretty good! The demos are cool, too.

          Won’t guarantee you’ll like them, but I just listened to “Once Sent…” today and it still was something I could get nearly all of the way through. Hm….80/100? I guess that’s what I’d give it.

    1. Autopsy Helix

      I have to agree. AA is always incredibly predictable and bland. Most people here already know that.

  • Dionysus

    Amon Amarth are one of the few bands this site tends to slam and I support, along with stuff like Manowar, Reverend Bizarre. These bands may not be particularly profound or innovative, and may even be repetitive at times, but it’s rare to find bands with a sincere hessian outlook who make decent music that may appeal to a newcomer. No one starts at Beherit, and bands like these deserve some support from us jaded dickheads. Kids who start on AA have a much better conception of what makes metal “metal” than kids who start on Slipknot.

  • fallot

    Is this entirely serious? Amon Amarth is the prototypical I-am-not-a-metalhead-but-this-is-cool band. It has never been anything besides pure product. The song/video linked is exactly what you would expect. What is next? An Opeth review? Also this reads like your run of the mill internet metal publication article which sounds like half PR and half Ebert style movie review.

    On a more positive note, I have found Amon Amarth to be the kind of accessible band that can open people up to harsher sounds. Music of substance follows once the aesthetic is tolerable. Lots of impressionable young adults tend to listen to the band. I would consider it something like Metallica for people in their late 20s/early 30s; a gateway. The indirect glorification of the warrior spirit is also a strong positive when nearly all popular music is limp wristed and `progressive`.

  • fallot

    Also, Amon Amarth isnt death metal at all. I am not very familiar with the band`s releases but it seems like something between As I Lay Dying style `alternative` metal and Power Metal. Closer to Children of Bodom than DM. Even the vocals are a stylistic departure.

  • Anthony

    Instead of buying an Amon Amarth album that sounds exactly like their last four hundred albums (and I like Once Sent from the Golden Hall…), one would do well to check out the A Canorous Quintet discography put out recently by Cyclone Empire under the title The Quintessence.

    Their initial EP and their first album almost sound like the Scandinavian answer to the second Cenotaph album, but I don’t know if they were actually aware of that one at the time. They apply the furious approach of second album Sentenced to the folky melodic death/black metal that was popular at the time and come up with material that is a lot more complex and interesting than you’d suspect. Not that their sound is recombinant at all! The Quintet were a contemporary of such bands, not a follower.

    Their second album is similar to Eucharist’s second and Sacramentum’s third full-lengths in that it seems to be a reaction to Slaughter of the Soul and other such albums, but is unwilling to compromise songwriting style to the level required to successfully imitate that sound, resulting in a commercial failure but an artistic success.

    The Amon Amarth connection is that their drummer joined the Vikings after the Opeth guy left. I imagine that he’s pretty bored with Amon Amarth’s “death” metal AC/DC stomp-along if his out-of-control performance with the Quintet is any indication of his real style, but hey, business is business…

    1. Concerned Citizen

      To add to this, I feel that post-Cartilage band Wings’ debut had elements needed for a successful heavy metal album in a post-95 style. While some of the tracks from this album are crap, listen to this one:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yH1cA4ZPPdc
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQ8ViucCKB0

      It uses the unfolding under rhythm guitar lead track that Amorphis did early on, and the lead melodies and structures aren’t as linear as Slaughter of the Soul or Paradise Lost.

      It may sound more accessible than Cartilage did, but a lot of the techniques they did in that band are continued under this new style. I must warn people it’s just this material I’m talking about (it ends in NIN industrial…), but I can see the potential in new bands using this style to create an updated 80s heavy metal without becoming Nevermore or Children of Bodom.

      I could also see a band using the style of Sentenced Desert by Night or Sacramentum’s The Coming of Chaos being able to make an aesthetically mainstream but fully expressive metal album that isn’t a retread like Heartwork. In fact I would suggest Desert by Night over Amon Amarth for a metal newbie since it elaborates on it’s concept subtly while being ear-friendly. Amon Amarth is the angry MTV2 noise Ozzy was complaining about and are often mistaken as being the “real life” Death Klok much to their disdain.

      1. Anthony

        I’ve been a fan of Wings’ Thorns on Thy Oaken Throne EP for a while, but I’ve always been put off by their sole full-length’s cover art. Downloaded it yesterday though, and its pretty good. The vocals are a little bit too Tiamat/Paradise Lost for my taste, but the songwriting is there. Available pretty cheap online too, unlike their EP.

        Desert by Night is one of my favorite pieces of music in any genre. It’s sadly underrated, even by fans of early Sentenced, possibly because it’s tucked away on that Trooper EP instead of on a full-length.

    2. Lord Mosher of the Solitary Pit

      A Canorous Quintet is a bit too saccharine. If you listen to songs individually, they are tasty as hell but, taken as a whole album it’s like eating too many sweets; after a mouthful you just wanna puke. Amon Amarth sucks. It is the kind of metal music that people who will NEVER ever understand and enjoy underground death metal listen to. But, it is the kind of band that underground metalheads will endure as a guilty pleasure. Keep handy in your car next to your Nightwish and Sonata Arctica cds if you’re cruising with a cute female that’s not into Metal (naturally)!

  • Tarbuz

    The album does have some catchy riffs that might make good weightlifting music. For that reason, I might buy it….

    1. kvlt attakker

      I tend to listen to simplistic music in the gym. Amon Amarth are on my gym playlist, however I don’t listen to them outside of working out.

  • TheWaters

    Good introduction to some of the more abrasive aesthetic elements of metal. First record is actually pretty good. After that this is just heavy metal….enjoy it as such…or don’t enjoy it all.

  • EDS

    Too many kids and young adults start with Amon Amarth and then with the help of “big label” advertisments, they stay in that metal realm ie. Waking the Cadaver, Whitechapel, and Dethklok. I have yet to meet a kid/young adult who moved on to harsher metal such as Beherit or Blasphemy from Amon Amarth type music.

    1. fallot

      That is where we come in! Introduce those kids you encounter, some of the aesthetic battle has already been fought.

    2. Autopsy Helix

      I myself moved on to higher quality metal from Amon Amarth, metalcore, and deathcore. However, I had some guidance. I don’t know if I would have learned to appreciate it on my own.

  • MF

    Amon Amarth isn’t bad overall but this particular album is terrible from what I’ve heard of it. Their first few are worth a rare occasion, and I’m also quite partial to With Oden On Our Side, which has some surprisingly powerful lyrics.

  • demarque

    There is an error in the article.

    “Snake Eyes” is trubute to Motorhead and “Stand Up to Go Down” for AC/DC.