Amon Amarth
Once Sent From the Golden Hall
[Metal Blade]

Although the idea of another Peter Tagtgren produced/Gothenburg guitar solo fest can cause eyes to roll and attention spans to vanish, Amon Amarth's second album is different.

First off the themes are easily more evil and violent than the usual talk of space travel and immortality. These guys are retro-vikings who want nothing more then to ride through a battlefield lopping christian's heads off, and dammit do they make it sound fun!

We are treated to 8 songs about valour, strength, warrior's honour, and just plain "good old fashioned" disemboweling and decapitating those bastards who raped our land and killed our ancient gods.

Of course the music is expectedly melodic and flowing, with the usual Celtic-sounding guitar solos and tremolos. The drumming is excellent (provided by future Opeth drummer Martin Lopez), but as usual the bass is lost in the background.

Johan Hegg is extremely effective doing the classic cross between black scream, growl, and viking bellow. One of my favorite vocalists out there right now.

The production is as good as usual, but where the album lacks is in song writing. Generally its pretty good, but there's not a lot to remember here.

Overall a strong effort.

Standout tracks: Ride For Vengeance, Friends of the Suncross, and Amon Amarth

Grade for people to lazy or illiterate to read the review: B

2000 raagoonshinnaah