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Amon Amarth - "Jomsviking" (CD)

Amon Amarth - "Jomsviking" CD cover image

"Jomsviking" track listing:

1. First Kill
2. Wanderer
3. On a Sea of Blood
4. One Against All
5. Raise Your Horns
6. The Way of Vikings
7. At Dawn's First Light
8. One Thousand Burning Arrows
9. Vengeance Is My Name
10. A Dream That Cannot Be
11. Back on Northern Shores

Reviewed by on October 20, 2016

"'Jomsviking' is a frankly wonderful work featuring excellent storytelling, an atmosphere that's on par with the likes of 'Vikings' or 'Valhalla Rising' and most importantly, outstanding music."

Over the past ten years or so, Sweden's Amon Amarth have risen from cult favourites to become one of metal's most popular names. The band's brand of viking metal has helped make them one of the best, if not the best, known group in the sub-genre and with their latest album, "Jomsviking," they are sure to remain so. This record marks their first concept album, telling the story of a warrior who falls in love with a married woman, but must flee his home after killing another man and as expected, Amon Amarth tell the story in a suitably epic fashion.

Immediately, the album demonstrates the superb skills of all musicians involved, with opener "First Kill" particularly showing off the talent of bass player Ted Lundström. The song itself is, like the album as a whole, wonderfully crafted, creating a freezing cold atmosphere which settles like the snow our protagonist treads through on his journey. The superb musicianship continues on to the next track, "Wanderer," which contains some amazing lead guitar work that both carries the song and remains a constant presence throughout the album.

Any concept album also needs a strong lyricist, as to tell a story well it takes someone who knows how to express the tale, which Johan Hegg can do brilliantly. The lyrics are especially vivid on such tracks as "One Against All" and "A Dream That Cannot Be," the latter of which also features a wonderfully utilized guest appearance from Doro Pesch. On songs like "Raise Your Horns" and "The Way of Vikings," the singer is able to draw comparisons to the metal community and it's ways with the brutal nature and lifestyle of the vikings.

"Jomsviking" is a frankly wonderful work featurings excellent storytelling, an atmosphere that's on par with the likes of "Vikings" or "Valhalla Rising" and most importantly, outstanding music. Fans old and new will love this record for it's relentless sonic onslaught and the images it leads the listener to conjure up in their own mind. Amon Amarth once more prove why they're one of the most popular bands around.

Highs: "Vengeance Is My Name," phenomenal musicianship and super storytelling.

Lows: The epic setting and mood may not be to everyone's taste.

Bottom line: Amon Amarth crafted one of the most interesting and dynamic albums of the year.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)