Amon Amarth – ‘Berserker’
Album Review By Adam McCann
Metal Blade Records/Melodic Death Metal
Amon Amarth have always delivered strong melodic death metal albums, with many of these holding special places in the hearts of their fans. In 2016, the band released the seminal ‘Jomsviking’, an album which would bring them mainstream attention; but the left the question how will Amon Amarth follow this up? Are we going to see ‘Berserker’, the latest album from the Swedish Vikings swept up into the current of mainstream popularity with softer and more accessible songs?
The first thing to note is that ‘Berserker’ follows on near perfectly from ‘Jomsviking’, it does have that highly polished sound that allows an easy listening, but that does not make this album any less monstrous. ‘Berserker’ cuts forward in swathes with some excellent riffs and thunderous drums. In fact, there is some fantastic twin guitar harmonies here that would make even Iron Maiden blush, seen during the solos of ‘Raven’s Flight’ and the introduction to ‘Mjolner, Hammer of Thor’. But, once again, with this album, it is the vocals of Johan Hegg which steal the show, his instantly recognisable growl can shake the foundation of any arena such as the adrenaline pumping battle ready anthem ‘Shield Wall’, but at the same time carry the duality that he is sat around a campfire telling Norse stories of battles, the sea and mythology such as during the opening ‘Fafner’s Gold’, the soaring ‘Wings of Eagles’ and the last stand of ‘The Berserker at Stamford Bridge’. However, for those looking for that chaotic early sound of Amon Amarth will not find it here, this band is no longer a ragtag group of bandits looking for a cheap Lindisfarne raid, ‘Berserker’ is as sleek as a fully prepared long ship, coordinated and ready to a deliver rapacious slaughter of conquest and in their sights, a seat in the golden halls of heavy metal legends.
There is a lot here that will interest both new and old fans of Amon Amarth and certainly tracks from this album such as ‘Shield Wall’ and ‘Crack The Sky’ will live long as live staples the bands set for years to come. ‘Berserker’ is not the best effort from Amon Amarth, but it is certainly enjoyable, powerful and packed full of everything expected from the band.
Rating : 85/100
MHF Magazine/Adam McCann