Amon Amarth - Deceiver of the GodsPop Quiz time. Is the new Amon Amarth record all about…

a) Vikings;
b) Vikings;
c) Vikings?

It scarcely needed asking did it? Nor my smart alec answering either, for that matter. Notwithstanding, the latest thrill packed, tune laden and generally more-metal-than-you album from Norse metal meisters, the peerless Amon Amarth is a ridiculous blast of aural entertainment which will, in all probability, have the band invading your end of year best of lists with consummate ease. It is a corker of a record.

The songwriting is consistently excellent, whether it’s the opening title track, the epic closer of ‘Warriors of the North’, the absurdly catchy ‘Father of the Wolf’, or, well any of the tracks here to be honest, Amon Amarth have seriously come up with the goods and- yeah, I will call it out, actually- turned in a career best effort.

Musically, it feels like the band have upped their game too. Whether that’s the influence of producer Andy Sneap in coaxing and cajoling exemplary performances from the band, one can but speculate. However, gone is the perfunctory, will this do plodding that blighted previous album “Sutur Rising” and in its place, we have a clarity of expression, an almost Iron Maiden like adherence to the tenets of the guitar harmony and an all round terrific sense of dynamic.

Elsewhere, the crunchy riffage that holds up the mid tempo stop of ‘Hel (sic)’ gets a very welcome guest in the form of former Candlemass vocalist Messiah Marcolin and the blood lust of ‘Blood Eagle’ is suitably Viking in its execution. Basically, there’s everything here that you could possibly hope for: serious riffage, cracking tunes, bloodied but unbowed lyricism and the none more metal guttural roar of man mountain Johan Hegg.

There piles of things that impress about “Deceiver of the Gods”. It is ten tracks long and none of them ever outstay their welcome; there’s no flabbiness or excess to the record; it crashes in, does its stuff (brilliantly) and is over, just as you are getting into it. Time then, to put it on again. And again. So “Deceiver of the Gods” is about is about Vikings? So bleedin’ what? It’s like complaining that Jack Daniel‘s makes whisky or Five Guys make burgers. As the adage goes: it’s not what you do, it’s how you do it and Amon Amarth do their thing better than anyone else.

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