Review: Amon Amarth – Surtur Rising

Rated:

3/5

The Vikings were awesome. That’s what Amon Amarth want you to know. With that message in their hearts, the Swedish masters of Viking metal churn out their eighth studio album, 10 tracks of mace-swinging, dragon-boating melodic death in the hopes of topping their previous release, 2008’s hugely successful Twilight Of The Thunder God. But while Surtur Rising succeeds in the most basic ways—it’s an Amon Amarth album—it remains one of the band’s lesser crushers, plagued by repetitiveness and lack of polish.

Immediately, Surtur’s production separates it from its predecessor—on Twilight, the ultra-crisp sound added an urgent gruffness to Johan Hegg’s vocals and the band’s characteristic bulldozer guitar attack, and injected stony undertones into Fredrick Andersson’s drumming. Here, the sound hearkens back to earlier albums like The Avenger, with a muted old-school production that only serves to muddy the band. Things don’t even pick up until “Destroyer of the Universe”, and even then, Hegg & Co.’s signatures are there as if on cue—grinding guitar lead, lyric about endless pain, breakdown that becomes a gallop. At times it all comes together—the breakdown at the end of “Live Without Regrets” will bring a malicious grin to listeners’ faces, and “A Beast Am I” brims with violent energy—but often, it comes off a little predictable, a little light. Like fellow Swedes Arch Enemy before them, Among Amarth seem to have cracked under the pressure of  perfecting their sound.

At a certain point, Surtur’s flaws are inconsequential, however. These guys aren’t remembered album by album. Yes, Surtur Rising stands alongside less-hailed Amon Amarth records like Fate of Norns, but on some level, who cares? The heshers who crave this Viking death-march death-metal will have it, and those who aren’t inspired by what they stream on the internet won’t. Even with a lesser work, Amon Amarth have done their job. The Vikings were awesome. CHRIS KROVATIN


  • thedude

    wow.. this magazine used to have some dignity. but to rate this album 3/5? shame. im cancelling my subscribtion cause of reviews like this. you used to be about metal but now its about bands like rise against and the foo fighters. peace posers

  • BessieTheHellPig

    BOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! this album is amazing!!!!! These guys really know what to do with their guitars!!! How can you give Asking Alexandria 4/5 stars when they’re just of bunch of whiny kids who chug more than a steam engine. Get your head out of this commercialized crap! I once trusted you guys, not anymore

  • Unimpressed

    Dear Revolver reviewers:
    You all should give up, seriously, asking alexandria gets 4/5 and this gets a 3!?!? Were you all born without ears!? COME ON! next you’ll be giving Lady Gaga 5/5, this is a disgrace.

  • Ben

    3/5 hahaha. Music is a matter of taste, but honestly, if you give this a 3/5 you really don’t understand what metal is all about. Amon Amarth have become HUGE the last x years, because they stay true to their genre, yet bring a little extra new twist each album to keep it interesting, while not losing their soul. Amon Amarth are a band that pleases the fans, by bringing out top quality material every time. Comparing albums is freaking useless. This album is a fat 4.5/5.

    Boohoo Revolver.

    • http://www.angrymetalguy.com Angry Metal Guy

      They don’t really keep it fresh though. This is the eternal struggle of the metal musician: keep it fresh or do something new. There is a fine line and Amon Amarth nailed it until after With Oden on Our Side. The last two have been downhill, though Surtur Rising is definitely a step up from Twilight of the Thunder God which was not good. 

  • http://WreckedReviews.com Wrecked Reviews

    Nice review, I wrote a review for this album over at WreckedReviews.com, a new entertainment website written by regular guys like you. Check out the article here: http://wreckedreviews.com/2011/05/03/surturrising/

  • Pingback: Amon Amarth Reveal Five Awesome Things You Didn’t Know About Vikings - Revolver Magazine

  • Smarancartlige35

    Rubbish review! this album is far better than 3/5. Try listening to it while you’re not under the influence of crack, then review it properly.

  • http://www.angrymetalguy.com Angry Metal Guy

    I think that this review is about right. It’s a good record, but it’s not the epic success it has been made out to be. When people settle down it will move its way back in the discography. But I disagree that these guys aren’t remembered by album. Everyone knows their best record. ;)

  • http://www.angrymetalguy.com Angry Metal Guy

    I think that this review is about right. It’s a good record, but it’s not the epic success it has been made out to be. When people settle down it will move its way back in the discography. But I disagree that these guys aren’t remembered by album. Everyone knows their best record. ;)