Amon Amarth: Berserker
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Amon Amarth: Berserker

It’s no secret that my taste in metal lies mainly in the underground, with a sprinkling of melody and I can even be open to the clean singing if it is done well. Amon Amarth have always been one for me that just never grabbed me, so full disclosure here that I’m not one of the mega fans that they have tens of thousands of all over the globe.

Before this point in my life, I think the only album of theirs that really caught me in any memorable fashion was ‘Twilight Of The Thunder God’ or ‘The Crusher’, and to be honest I couldn’t even tell you why. They have never strayed from their instantly recognisable style of melodic death metal. It follows almost a formulaic structure, with the riffs shifting between rising and falling melodies based around a chugging low B base note. They couple this style of riffing up with some huge chord section and soaring melodies, and you pretty much know what you’re going to get with each release.

One of the standouts in their sound is the crushing and driving rhythm section, and ‘Berserker’ is no exception. The drums and bass are produced almost as if they were one instrument, being that they are so tightly locked in they almost come across as the same source. Bottom line is that the production on ‘Berserker’ is incredible. Huge sounding tone, fat bottom end, and the vocals are absolutely elite in delivery which is to be expected from a seasoned monster like Johan Hegg.

Listening to ‘Berserker’ I was pleasantly engaged throughout the album, which caught me by surprise really. The quality of their anthemic songwriting, and I dare say the intentional approach to it, draws you in to these big emotive passages that build up to their crescendo before getting back to the next gritty riffing section or intricate melody. And this is what you want from the band if you are one of their hugely dedicated fans. Probably the biggest standout is the track ‘Ironside’ which starts out sounding more like a Golden Axe campfire song, before launching into the chord driven melody and storytelling that Amon Amarth are so excellent at producing time after time.

One of the things I often expect from Amon Amarth, is some level of cheese factor. And although it is still sprinkled here and there throughout ‘Berserker’ I would say that this is a much more honest sounding record than previous outings. This is not an album you will wane in attention through, nor is it one that requires skipping tracks. This is a release that will likely find its place among the more often spun releases the band has produced, and it will deserve all the accolades it is sure to get. And amazingly, my favourite track was the closing track ‘Into The Dark’ so hang around until the end for that if you have any doubts throughout.

Berserker will be available from May 3 via Sony Music Australia.

4/5
Sony Music Australia.
Reviewed by Chris McEwin

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