Deceiver of the Gods
25 June 2013
Viking Metal – a scourge of Christendom or just a global ballache to genre purists everywhere? Amon Amarth are foisted with this most divisive tag; for anybody who’s spent five seconds with the music of these Swedish bruisers, it’s apparent that they’re about as likely to fit into a Hammerheart-era Bathory-shaped mould as Falling In Reverse are.
Even the lyrics – dense with Norse mythological imagery – came about as a matter of suitability for the band’s music, as opposed to any overt pagan allegiance or fundamental beliefs. Yet as tedious as this might sound for a band like Amon Amarth not to be eschewing the principles of Christianity, it’s the band’s musical independence from Viking Metal that makes their own brand of Norse-flecked Death Metal all the more interesting. Deceiver of the Gods is one of the best examples of this to date.
The album’s self-titled opener is a muscular slab of music that allies itself to all of Amon Amarth’s strongest features. The riffs are thunderous, stabbing above drums that sound like cascading granite, however it’s the vocals of the chorus and the rousing refrain of “Asgard’s always been my home” where the lyrics strike brutal emphasis into an already powerful assault.
This is no “pagan” metal outfit twiddly-diddling something about Thor’s big hammer (ooooh fucking matron), this is a metal band who’ve spent nine full-length albums forging a sound that represents the virility and brutality of the genre to a tee; if Bathory used Norse mythology as a new means to represent their detachment from the papal state, Amon Amarth sing about Vikings because nothing says metal better than swinging a massive axe up someone’s shitter.
Listen to an album preview of Deceiver of the Gods by Amon Amarth:
And the rest of the album continues in much of a similar vein. Amon Amarth don’t seem to veer too far from the stylistic climes of Surtur Rising or Twilight of the Thunder God (or any of their previous releases, for that matter) but their music is a well-ploughed furrow that continues to provide satisfaction for its listeners; of note is ‘Hel’, on which the excellent theatrical guest vocals of ex-Candlemass man Messiah Marcolin battle Hegg’s sinister growl making an interesting mid-tempo jump from the pace of the rest of Deceiver of the Gods.
Despite appearances (and Johan Hegg’s massive beard), Amon Amarth’s primary loyalty is not to Norse polytheism but to the music that it supplements. Deceiver of the Gods is brutish and uncompromising, and punctuated by lyrics that continuously smash like well-aimed hammer-blows onto a seething iron.
Sounds Like: Erik the Red failing to pass his MOT and killing the Halford’s staff with a tyre iron
Standout Tracks: Deceiver of the Gods, Hel, As Loke Falls