Band- Amon Amarth
Genre- Viking/Melodic Death
Label- Metal Blade Records
FFO- Arch Enemy, Behemoth, Cannibal Corpse
Deciding to changes things up, Amon Amarth decided to take their iconic sound to Los Angeles to record their newest metal masterpiece. With the help of producer Jay Ruston (Anthrax, Stone Sour) they were able to really hone in on their iconic sound and even add a little bit extra. Taking time to really focus on each song one at a time before moving on to the next. This is also the bands first album with new drummer, Jocke Wallgren. The drummer is able to pick right up where Amon Amarth left off with their drumming and is able to bring it home with an incredible performance. On time double bass that pounds along to the entire album, which is an Amon Amarth mainstay. Fast and heavy with well placed fills. Don’t think the guy can drum slower to be honest. Picking up guitar duties are long time guitarists Olavi Mikkonen and Johan Soderberg. Two incredible musicians who have once again hit home with this sound. Riffs that rip faster then a bunny on crack, melodic and brutal.
Incorporating these magical guitar hooks that just get stuck in your head and won’t leave. The wrist stamina these guitarists have to have is incredible. Now, Amon Amarth are known for their epic metal sound but what stands out the most on every one of their albums is the vocal power of Johan Hegg. Every metal fan knows of this man and know of his abilities to make your hair stand up. He does not disappoint on Berseker. Growls mixed in with this sort of low mid range scream. I could be making this up but it sounds accurate to me. He is able to really tap into his previous vocal performances and deliver another great one. From start to finish, his ferocity and vigor are clear and present. Not even a hint of clean vocals in this display of brutality.
For anyone who is even slightly familiar with Amon Amarth, they know about the heavy heavy heavy influences of Norse mythology and Viking culture. Singing about epic battles between man vs man and god vs big scary Norse creature things. Mythology aside the band are able to deliver a typical Amon Amarth performance. With a big riff heavy intro “Fafner’s Gold” is able to get the listener to ready for an onslaught of brutal vocals and melodic guitar hooks. It continues all the way to the last track. “Ravens Flight” is the bands first single from Berkserker and certainly gets your attention. An incredible guitar hook gets the song going followed by a signature Johan scream. Hell I am ready for battle just by listening to the song sitting on my couch writing this. Personally, it’s a song like “The Berserker at Stamford Bridge” that really shows off the bands love for viking culture. Not to be confused with professional football team Chelsea’s home stadium, the song is actually about a single mans attempt at taking on an entire army by himself. While the Viking Army retreated across Stamford Bridge, a lone viking equipped with only an ax, he took on the 15,000 man army by himself. Epic right? That is an Amon Amarth song at it’s finest.
In Norse Mythology, a Berserker were an important part of any Viking Army. Shirtless warriors who would run into battle with a very trance-like fury and caused chaos and destruction. So to say this album is ably named would be an understatement. Berserker is here to demand your attention and burn down your house. Amon Amarth have once again made something special. This certainly will go down with some of their previous albums as one of their best. If you have never heard of this band then please leave the rock you have taken residence under and blast this band. You won’t be disappointed or sitting or still. Long time fans will love this record. What’s not love? Vikings and heavy metal are great combination. The Swedish metal band are still going strong after 25+ years in the industry and we hope they have more to come.
Berserker drops May 3rd on Metal Blade Records
Rating- 9.5 out of 10