AMON AMARTH — Deceiver Of The Gods (review)

AMON AMARTH — Deceiver Of The Gods album cover Album · 2013 · Melodic Death Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
Deceiver of the Gods (2013) is the ninth full-length studio album by Swedish melodic death metal act Amon Amarth. The album features a guest vocal performance from Messiah Marcolin (ex-Candlemass) on the song Hel. Amon Amarth may just be the kings of consistency in metal music; they've been putting out albums on a regular basis since 1998 and have had the same line up since second album The Avenger (1999), and you know what you're going to get with them. It's double-edged sword territory that the band has made their home in though. On the one hand, there's never much doubt that a new Amon Amarth release will deliver, but on the other you also know they're not a band for shocking their listeners.

In all ways that matter the same is true of Deceiver of the Gods. Except when you scratch the surface of the music you may notice that Amon Amarth's riffs and melodies tend to cross over into power metal territory. An example of this would be the song As Loke Falls or the latter stages of Coming of the Tide. The music itself is pure power metal but topped with Johan Hegg's growled vocals. Power-death, I tend to call this sort of music (in reference to the more common power-thrash term). This is a technicality though. (Euro) Power metal is melodic, and you don't have to be Sherlock Holmes to know what the key feature of melodic death metal is to differentiate it from vanilla death metal, so the two blend so well that unless you're well versed in your power metal to pick up on it, you're not going to notice it. Especially if to you power metal means high pitched vocals with lots of dragons, elves, and fairies (it always surprises me how many people manage to deny an obvious power metal release for what it is because it doesn't meet this misconception).

Subtle differences between the two or not, it doesn't change the fact that these little variations offer up a bit of a pace change from Amon Amarth's melodic death metal standards like the opening title track. And I think that's much needed in an Amon Amarth record. These guys are the very definition of a band who knows they're good at what they do, but every band has to have something to keep a record flowing without re-using the same ideas. They're also got clean vocals on Hel (from Messiah Marcolin), in contrast to the usual strict growls only approach to their take of melodic death metal.

I said at the start of this review that there's never much doubt that Amon Amarth will deliver. So naturally they've done it again with Deceiver of the Gods. Only this time I think they're definitely on a career high point. The riffs are great, the melodies perfectly integrated, and Hegg is on top form. Deceiver of the Gods is certainly a step up from the already solid prior album Surtur Rising (2011) with awesome tracks like the aforementioned As Loke Falls along with We Shall Destroy, Hel, and Coming of the Tide. Especially Hel and Coming of the Tide. Have I mentioned that there's a really epic song called Warriors of the North right at the end of the album? No? I should have done by now, but since it's a textbook case of leaving the best for last, I thought I'd do the same.

Rather than coming across as another album of more of the same, it's like Amon Amarth have received a new lease of life for Deceiver of the Gods, and it's easily the best release I'm ever heard from them. An exceptional grade rating is deserved.


(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven:
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adg211288 wrote:
more than 2 years ago
I sometimes say traditional death metal as well, when pointing out a difference in sound to one of its many child genres. I prefer vanilla death metal as a term though, to describe the original sound before it diverged.
bartosso wrote:
more than 2 years ago
I must admit it's the first time I encounter the notion of "vanilla death metal" ^^ Besides, it's good to know Amon Amarth have changed their sound a bit, I'll check the album out, should the opportunity occur.


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