Review for Amon Amarth's first conceptual album "Jomsviking"

Review for Amon Amarth's first conceptual album "Jomsviking"

The Swedish metallers Amon Amarth did not surprise, but pleased their fans with the new and rather epic saga that traditionally covers the topics about vikings and brutal massacres. The tenth LP "Jomsviking" became the band’s first completely conceptual album which carries a distinct adventure story plot. The record was mixed and produced by the British musician Andy Sneap, known by his works for Megadeth, Slayer, Kreator, Killswitch Engage, Testament and others. His rich experience has become the key to a very dense and harmonious sound of "Jomsviking". As for the release, the CD came out via Metal Blade and Sony Music on March 25.

Amon Amarth ceased their experiments long time ago. The band found its branded sounding style between their earlier albums speed and heavy melody that first dominates on the "Versus The World" (2002). It’s up to you to consider this an advantage or a disadvantage, but "Jomsviking" has not charged into the lead among his predecessors. At the same time the Swedish vikings did not give a single reason to get any doubts about their skills in the genre.

The story of the young man that leaves his settlement, joining robber hordes of jomsvikings, was recorded with the sessional drummer Tobias Gustafsson (Vomitory). Replacing the former member Fredrik Andersson, the musician kept those thunderous drums profusion which always stood out the Amon Amarth sounding. Eleven songs in the album are full of the band’s usual energy and warlike spirit. The CD is composed in that way that from song to song listener goes over the chapters of the whole tale, experiencing fierce emotions of the hero, expressed in heavy riffs. The lyrics become the narration, while the music takes place of the soundtracks: impulsive "Wanderer" accompanies the scene of the hero’s lonely wandering, aggressive and impulsive "One Against All" tells about the sudden clash with the enemy, and fast, powerful guitars of "At Dawn's First Light" will describe the pictures of a peaceful village siege at dawn.

Tracklist:

  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 (bonus track – for digibook, digital, LP, and viking ship editions)
  10. A Dream That Cannot Be (Featuring Doro Pesch)
  11. Back On Northern Shores

The tragic love story that becomes the reason of all the adventures comes up in the end of the track list. The song "A Dream That Can not Be" was recorded with prominent German singer Doro Pesch.

In general, "Jomsviking" seems to be the Amon Amarth’s attempt to try theirselves in something new. And in this case the experiment is justified by the high-quality and considered album. But, at the same time there is a definit lack of virtuosity and some fresh musical ideas on the record. While remaining the band’s great work, "Jomsviking" is noticeably inferior to such previous LPs "Surtur Rising" (2011) or "Twilight Of The Thunder God" (2008).

Now Amon Amarth are preparing for their big tour with Entombed A.D. and Exmortus. After visiting the American cities, the musicians go to Europe. In August of 2014, during the brief interview with Olavi Mikkonen, the band’s guitarist mentioned some possible gigs in Ukrainian after their new album release.

By Yuri Somov