(9/10) Swedish metal vikings Amon Amarth hoists the sails, pulls the anchor and embarks on an next metal journey with a new treasure on board. This time the treasure box is named ‘Berserker’ and it contains twelve metal pearls, all shiny and of gloomy beauty.
‘Berserker’ is Amon Amarth’s eleventh studio album and it is another highlight in the more the 25 years lasting success story. As no one else the metal vikings from the North have a gift to combined great melodies and brutal harshness to a savage totality. The quintet is heavy enough for metalheads while the melody also opens Amon Amarth hymns for a wider target group.
The new longplayer’s also build on this success formula and I don’t think that it needs a lot of fortuneteller capability to predict a next career peak for Johan Hegg and his metal horde.
As with each of the previous longplayer also the newest strike from the North shows an evolving band that builds on its legacy and shifts it towards the future. Contrary to the last album ‘Jomsviking’ the eleventh longplayer isn’t a concept album. It’s a conscious break to avoid repetition but it also opens new spaces for short stories rooted in mythology and history.
Each of the 12 songs on ‘Berserker’ is a strike. There’s the anthemic ‘Valkyria’ with its galloping beat and Hegg’s typical way of storytelling. Another ‘king amongst kings’ is ‘Crack in the Sky’, kept simple and spot-on. This song finds its counterpart in an epos entitled ‘Raven’s Flight’. Furthermore you shouldn’t miss the anthemic and deadly ‘Ironside’, a hymn equipped with an awesome chorus part and great guitar melodies. Towards the end it’s ‘Wings of Eagles’ that brings back a straight-forward metal approach without frills. Like ‘Crack the Sky’ the tune’s kept a bit simpler than other tracks on the album, which makes me guess that we find the track often on live setlists.
‘Berserker’ ends with ‘Into the Dark’, a final epos with nearly seven minutes length and all Amon Amarth trademarks included. Each tone played on this album showcases a band that still has a lot of fun with what they are doing. It feels like these five guys don’t know any pressure. Each of the songs spreads an ease and doesn’t feel forced nor done under pressure. ‘Berserker’ reflects 100% Amon Amarth and next to the great songs it’s this authenticity that makes the quintet special. The vikings are back, as strong as ever.
- Fafner’s Gold
- Crack the Sky
- Mjölner, Hammer of Thor
- Shield Wall
- Raven’s Flight
- The Berserker at Stamford Bridge
- When Once Again We Can Set Our Sails
- Skoll and Hati
- Wings of Eagles
- Into the Dark
Label: Sony Music
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Release Date EU: May 5h, 2019