Metal Bulletin Zine (est. 2006) is a metal music zine (Seattle region), online and on paper. 160 issues so far.
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Monday, March 28, 2016
Amon Amarth (review by MMB)
release date: March 25th, 2016
label: Metal Blade Records
Amon Amarth handles its business. When you do things the way you do these things you must be doing something right. You must know something. You must have confidence in what you do. You must have skills. Keep up the quality and keep the consistency. Show up. Show up every time, and they have. What do they get? They successfully make a new album every time and they tour the world.
This new one sounds like Amon Amarth. What’s wrong with that? Is it all the headbanging? Is it the hooks and memorable riffs up the wazoo? Is it the catchy songs? Is it the heavy metal pride? The band has studied the history of metal music, has learned the lessons and has avoided the errors that so many great bands have made. For instance, commercial pressures, trends, fashions and bad advice have led iconic metal bands into making albums that are glam, party rock, synthesizer albums, punk, garage, grunge, techno, industrial, rap, hip hop, mainstream, no-guitar-solo albums, hipster, emo and other stylistic changes that respond to the particular times. Amon Amarth knows of this problem very well. So far, with this band, it’s going to be a cold day in hell before they fall into that trap.
A win is a win. Success is success. Stick to what you do. That’s what works for this band, and that’s why they keep coming back and why the people keep coming back. Unlike so many legendary metal bands that have gotten confused, that have stumbled and fallen in futile efforts to “take it to the next level” by going punk or rap or industrial or techno or whatever, Amon Amarth has found its own way to do things. Like Immolation, Moonsorrow and Nile, Amon Amarth guards its unblemished discography as a lioness protects her cubs. Furious pride. No one can accuse this band of all those big mistakes and blunders of other bands. Small changes? Yes. Amon Amarth started out as death metal and along way has incorporated the songwriting of traditional heavy metal. As you gain more experience, you learn to write better songs.
The Vikings return and they will tour the world as they always do. No worries, everything is as it should be with Amon Amarth. There’s only bittersweet issue: Fredrik Andersson is no longer drumming for Amon Amarth. For the album they enlisted the guest services of Tobias Gustafsson, drummer for the now defunct death metal band Vomitory (1989-2013).
To conclude. Some bands may be known for being “consistent,” but they also sound like they are going through the motions, making another product in order to have an official reason to tour. I don’t put Amon Amarth in that category. I find that the songs are memorable and they sound like a band that has lots of creativity, not just business sense.