Amon Amarth - Jomsviking review



Reviewer:
7.1

408 users:
7.64
Band: Amon Amarth
Album: Jomsviking
Release date: March 2016


01. First Kill
02. Wanderer
03. On A Sea Of Blood
04. One Against All
05. Raise Your Horns
06. The Way Of Vikings
07. At Dawn's First Light
08. One Thousand Burning Arrows
09. Vengeance Is My Name [bonus]
10. A Dream That Cannot Be [feat. Doro Pesch]
11. Back On Northern Shores


Ever since With Oden On Our Side, Amon Amarth has been steadily succumbing to softer production and less inventive songwriting, each successive album lacking something more. I can't say that Jomsviking reverses this trend, but Amon Amarth has pulled out some new tricks so as to at least slow its descent and plateau into tepid stability.

Johan Hegg has always been one of the more intelligible extreme metal frontmen, but Jomsviking saddles him with greater pressure, making him not only vocalized percussion, but the narrator of a running storyline. Rising to the task, Hegg largely sticks to his middle and upper registers, where his voice becomes more ragged (but more clearly-defined), and occasionally even crosses the border into clean or semi-clean vocals. The slight variations in vocals, and the story in whose service Hegg undertakes them, make Jomsviking interesting enough to follow lyrically, though the music often fails to hold up its end of the bargain. Of course, some people already found Amon Amarth plenty generic before the last couple of records, and Jomsviking presents no defence. While the band certainly employs the same formulas album-to-album, I have never been one of those detractors. Every album has had its standout tracks, and even the filler comes barreling through with enough brutal force to render itself palatable. As stated above, however, things have been changing for Amon Amarth.

At least for the first half, Jomsviking fails to deliver in terms of both sound and songs. When I approached "First Kill" at the time of its release, I could have sworn I was listening to power metal until the growls arrived. Amon Amarth used to be a tank, a juggernaut, a seven-foot-tall berserker with a barrel chest and a bloody greataxe. When Amon Amarth moved, mountains shuddered and continents crumbled into the sea; the turn of a riff could sweep a Landkreuzer off its treads. Jomsviking, by comparison, attacks with all the fury and vitality of a scrawny child with one arm and a heart condition; the album sounds flat and restrained, devoid of bite, kick, punch, stab, dragon, hurricane, Jagdtiger, and other nouns. For melodeath to work properly, the band needs to have a monolithic low end to counterbalance the high-end riffs and melodies negotiating their way through the pummeling, rhythmic screen. Amon Amarth has lost its hulking menace.

The songwriting drastically increases in quality with "At Dawn's First Light," after a lead-in from the fairly acceptable "The Way Of Vikings," but getting there requires wading through half an album of tame material. "A Dream That Cannot Be," a fantastic duet with Doro Pesch, truly rescues the end of Jomsviking from mediocrity, along with one of the most impressive finishers in Amon Amarth's catalogue, the heroic and earth-shattering "Back On Northern Shores." The second half of the album has sufficient strength to wash out the bitter taste of the first half, but the toothless delivery still negates much of the credibility won by the upswing in song quality. Jomsviking does tell a story, and it takes some slightly different approaches to songwriting here and there, so at least Amon Amarth tried something new; aside from those last few songs, however, the album lacks compelling material and the sound is far too watered-down.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Production: 5


 



Written on 26.03.2016 by Reviewing since 2010. Reviewing competently since ____. More metal than you since before the dawn of 'istry.


Comments

Comments: 24   Visited by: 611 users
26.03.2016 - 20:16
AngelofDeth
Cyborg Raptor
The description in the 3rd paragraph was amazing... Will check this one out with low expectations but seems like half a good album is better than an entire album that's half good - like their last two.
----
pewpew.. gotcha
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26.03.2016 - 20:40
Dark Forever
Ruído Sonoro
Great review, totally agree with it and the score is fair. It's a good album with great moments, but overall it's a watered down version of what Amon Amarth used to deliver.
----
Taste the DARK...
... and you'll live FOREVER!
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26.03.2016 - 20:55
Windrider
Raureif
Written by AngelofDeth on 26.03.2016 at 20:16

The description in the 3rd paragraph was amazing...

True that. Still have to listen to the album, but the first song that was released (think it was First Kill) disappointed me greatly... that's where I decided to first go with the new Omnium Gatherum.
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26.03.2016 - 22:05
LeKiwi
High Fist Prog
By the way you described this album, a 5 or 6 would have been a more appropriate score. In any case, you're spot on with the review for the most part.
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26.03.2016 - 22:12
Bad English
Masterchief
Interesting review, I would say I heard new tendency ''spoken worlds'' in some songs , and also great was Doro did vocals, because it bring in something new. We all bitching bands sounds same, but when they do change, we say it sucks--... I personally like it, its still great album for old timers, look how sounds other old-timers at these days
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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26.03.2016 - 22:24
ScreamingSteelUS
Agent of Steel
Written by LeKiwi on 26.03.2016 at 22:05

By the way you described this album, a 5 or 6 would have been a more appropriate score. In any case, you're spot on with the review for the most part.

I seriously considered giving it a lower rating, but I ultimately decided that the second half is strong enough to warrant such a positive score. I'm still fairly conflicted, because the album sounds awful enough overall to make those last songs worse than they would have been on Versus The World or even Surtur Rising; nonetheless, I enjoyed the album more than I didn't.
----
Row, row, fight the power
Djently down the stream

I wonder how you will defend your ludicrous assertions.
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26.03.2016 - 22:29
LeKiwi
High Fist Prog
Written by ScreamingSteelUS on 26.03.2016 at 22:24
I enjoyed the album more than I didn't.

So... 5.51/10?
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27.03.2016 - 13:35
Fallen Ghost
Metalhead
Written by Bad English on 26.03.2016 at 22:12
We all bitching bands sounds same, but when they do change, we say it sucks


That is very true! People have always been nagging Amon Amarth for "making the same album over and over again", and as soon their sound is softened and they are trying to go in another direction, people are complaining about it. Pretty interesting actually hah! And for the review, very well written
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27.03.2016 - 15:50
sharkruisher
This review is certainly spot on, it is a good album, and a valid first effort at a concept album, but some more brutality would have made this record even greater.

I am so in love with "A Dream That Cannot Be", such a killer song, both musically and lyrically, and Doro portraits the female character in a strong way.

Among the rest of the discography, I would probably put it right in the middle. Not their best, but far from their worst
----
Metalhead, reviewer, long haired bastard, Swede, dingus

https://forsakenatthegates.blogspot.com
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27.03.2016 - 22:37
s_t_s
Written by Windrider on 26.03.2016 at 20:55

Written by AngelofDeth on 26.03.2016 at 20:16

The description in the 3rd paragraph was amazing...

True that. Still have to listen to the album, but the first song that was released (think it was First Kill) disappointed me greatly... that's where I decided to first go with the new Omnium Gatherum.


Agreed. Not a bad album and I can tell you that I like all their previous albums but the first tracks truly lack Amon Amarth's usual power and strength and then... bam ! With track 5 (At Dawn's First Light ?) it really starts gaining strength ! Better late than never ! The first half sounds like "tired" Amon Amarth but the rest saves the album !

If I quoted you, that's because the latest Omnium Gatherum also was a very nice surprise to me ass it shows all that energy and strength that seems to be missed here.
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27.03.2016 - 23:29
Bad English
Masterchief
I am thinking will this one be nominated as MS awards nomination t???
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
Loading...
28.03.2016 - 12:03
Pikemaster
BIG agree about the production. After Fate of Norns the guitar sound have been quite weak.
----
"Soon its tail raises the mud
The beast is ready for attack
The reel screams the line beings to run
And the struggle shall begin"
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31.03.2016 - 01:04
ManiacBlasphemer
Black Knight
I'm probably one of the very few people who enjoy "First Kill". Maybe because it is different. Sounds a bit fresh. However, those who consider that there is a long way from melodeath to power metal are deluded. There is a rather thin line between them, both of them being more accessible.
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01.04.2016 - 02:48
titmo71
I disagree a bit with this review. I thought the last 3 albums were very lacking, but this new album pleasantly surprised me. I'd give it a 8.5
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04.04.2016 - 11:47
hamG
I think AA's production sound was getting tired and was making the lesser songs on the last few albums sound worse, so it is not surprising they brought in Andy Sneap to do his thing. Production wise it sounds exactly what it should sound like when you give him the controls of an AA mastering.

I think this is their best work of the last 3 releases. However there is a gap between this and 'With Oden'.

Also +1 to the 2nd half better than the first half thing.

I did not notice the sound 'softer' or 'power metal' and 'oh no spoken words' thing. It just sounds like Amon Amarth to me.
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10.04.2016 - 15:53
BlueMobius
Account deleted
My favorite AA album since WOOOS. I'm a sucker for sing-alongy epic choruses. Not ashamed either.
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17.04.2016 - 18:17
Ag Fox
Angel No More
Agree with your review!
----
loves 小巫
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17.04.2016 - 21:37
Rasputin
AC/DC of Death Metal. Boring, boring, boring. I remember almost 10 years ago how awesome they were and while they had shitty production, they did not lack in creativity. Fast forward now into another disaster. The last good album, while being most commercial was The Twilight of the Thunder God, after that, all this other shit that they released is horrible.
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28.04.2016 - 22:11
s_t_s
Written by Rasputin on 17.04.2016 at 21:37

AC/DC of Death Metal. Boring, boring, boring. I remember almost 10 years ago how awesome they were and while they had shitty production, they did not lack in creativity. Fast forward now into another disaster. The last good album, while being most commercial was The Twilight of the Thunder God, after that, all this other shit that they released is horrible.


Matter of taste but don't despise their work. They sure are growing old and sometimes making moves that everyone cannot accept. Comparing them to AC/DC is no justice as most AC/DC songs just sound the same and seem to repeat endlessly imho. After a few spins I have to admit even the first half of the album is a grower yet I prefer the second half.
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28.04.2016 - 23:42
ScreamingSteelUS
Agent of Steel
Written by s_t_s on 28.04.2016 at 22:11

Written by Rasputin on 17.04.2016 at 21:37

AC/DC of Death Metal. Boring, boring, boring. I remember almost 10 years ago how awesome they were and while they had shitty production, they did not lack in creativity. Fast forward now into another disaster. The last good album, while being most commercial was The Twilight of the Thunder God, after that, all this other shit that they released is horrible.


Matter of taste but don't despise their work. They sure are growing old and sometimes making moves that everyone cannot accept. Comparing them to AC/DC is no justice as most AC/DC songs just sound the same and seem to repeat endlessly imho. After a few spins I have to admit even the first half of the album is a grower yet I prefer the second half.

I understand why people make the comparisons to AC/DC, but I also don't think it's warranted. Amon Amarth has definitely grown and evolved and tried some new ideas over the years, a progression to which Jomsviking pays testament, even if I'm not thrilled about the results in this instance. I don't return to Twilight of the Thunder God as often as I used to, and I agree that that album and Deceiver of the Gods especially were pretty commercial, but I think every one of their albums has at least one or two songs that I would consider among their best, which is quite an accomplishment. Even Jomsviking, which is probably my least favorite, has "Back On Northern Shores," which is likely in my top five for them, and "At Dawn's First Light" and "One Thousand Burning Arrows" have grown on me a lot.
----
Row, row, fight the power
Djently down the stream

I wonder how you will defend your ludicrous assertions.
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01.06.2016 - 20:11
Rasputin
Written by s_t_s on 28.04.2016 at 22:11

Written by Rasputin on 17.04.2016 at 21:37

AC/DC of Death Metal. Boring, boring, boring. I remember almost 10 years ago how awesome they were and while they had shitty production, they did not lack in creativity. Fast forward now into another disaster. The last good album, while being most commercial was The Twilight of the Thunder God, after that, all this other shit that they released is horrible.


Matter of taste but don't despise their work. They sure are growing old and sometimes making moves that everyone cannot accept. Comparing them to AC/DC is no justice as most AC/DC songs just sound the same and seem to repeat endlessly imho. After a few spins I have to admit even the first half of the album is a grower yet I prefer the second half.

They are growing old, but they are pushing too many albums too fast. I rather wait 3 years for a decent album, then listen to garbage every year. They have a song here and there that is ok, but you cannot tell me that they are getting better with time since that simply is not the case.

Written by ScreamingSteelUS on 28.04.2016 at 23:42

Written by s_t_s on 28.04.2016 at 22:11

Written by Rasputin on 17.04.2016 at 21:37

AC/DC of Death Metal. Boring, boring, boring. I remember almost 10 years ago how awesome they were and while they had shitty production, they did not lack in creativity. Fast forward now into another disaster. The last good album, while being most commercial was The Twilight of the Thunder God, after that, all this other shit that they released is horrible.


Matter of taste but don't despise their work. They sure are growing old and sometimes making moves that everyone cannot accept. Comparing them to AC/DC is no justice as most AC/DC songs just sound the same and seem to repeat endlessly imho. After a few spins I have to admit even the first half of the album is a grower yet I prefer the second half.

I understand why people make the comparisons to AC/DC, but I also don't think it's warranted. Amon Amarth has definitely grown and evolved and tried some new ideas over the years, a progression to which Jomsviking pays testament, even if I'm not thrilled about the results in this instance. I don't return to Twilight of the Thunder God as often as I used to, and I agree that that album and Deceiver of the Gods especially were pretty commercial, but I think every one of their albums has at least one or two songs that I would consider among their best, which is quite an accomplishment. Even Jomsviking, which is probably my least favorite, has "Back On Northern Shores," which is likely in my top five for them, and "At Dawn's First Light" and "One Thousand Burning Arrows" have grown on me a lot.

I'm not saying that they are not making some ok songs, but the albums overall are lacking in creativity and intensity. But to be fair, rarely will you find a band with a stellar output. I think I said before once, that out of all the bands I listened to, there was not a single one that remained interesting to me. Yes, my style and taste evolved, but it still does not negate the fact that most albums these days are empty pieces of shit. While I admire their ability to play an instrument, I do not admire the lack of effort. We can pop into any scene and "genre" and every great album was followed up by either a replica that was lacking something or push into another direction where you have to scratch your head and wonder what the fuck they were thinking.
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02.06.2016 - 20:50
s_t_s
Written by Rasputin on 01.06.2016 at 20:11

Written by s_t_s on 28.04.2016 at 22:11

Written by Rasputin on 17.04.2016 at 21:37

AC/DC of Death Metal. Boring, boring, boring. I remember almost 10 years ago how awesome they were and while they had shitty production, they did not lack in creativity. Fast forward now into another disaster. The last good album, while being most commercial was The Twilight of the Thunder God, after that, all this other shit that they released is horrible.


Matter of taste but don't despise their work. They sure are growing old and sometimes making moves that everyone cannot accept. Comparing them to AC/DC is no justice as most AC/DC songs just sound the same and seem to repeat endlessly imho. After a few spins I have to admit even the first half of the album is a grower yet I prefer the second half.

They are growing old, but they are pushing too many albums too fast. I rather wait 3 years for a decent album, then listen to garbage every year. They have a song here and there that is ok, but you cannot tell me that they are getting better with time since that simply is not the case.

Written by ScreamingSteelUS on 28.04.2016 at 23:42

Written by s_t_s on 28.04.2016 at 22:11

Written by Rasputin on 17.04.2016 at 21:37

AC/DC of Death Metal. Boring, boring, boring. I remember almost 10 years ago how awesome they were and while they had shitty production, they did not lack in creativity. Fast forward now into another disaster. The last good album, while being most commercial was The Twilight of the Thunder God, after that, all this other shit that they released is horrible.


Matter of taste but don't despise their work. They sure are growing old and sometimes making moves that everyone cannot accept. Comparing them to AC/DC is no justice as most AC/DC songs just sound the same and seem to repeat endlessly imho. After a few spins I have to admit even the first half of the album is a grower yet I prefer the second half.

I understand why people make the comparisons to AC/DC, but I also don't think it's warranted. Amon Amarth has definitely grown and evolved and tried some new ideas over the years, a progression to which Jomsviking pays testament, even if I'm not thrilled about the results in this instance. I don't return to Twilight of the Thunder God as often as I used to, and I agree that that album and Deceiver of the Gods especially were pretty commercial, but I think every one of their albums has at least one or two songs that I would consider among their best, which is quite an accomplishment. Even Jomsviking, which is probably my least favorite, has "Back On Northern Shores," which is likely in my top five for them, and "At Dawn's First Light" and "One Thousand Burning Arrows" have grown on me a lot.

I'm not saying that they are not making some ok songs, but the albums overall are lacking in creativity and intensity. But to be fair, rarely will you find a band with a stellar output. I think I said before once, that out of all the bands I listened to, there was not a single one that remained interesting to me. Yes, my style and taste evolved, but it still does not negate the fact that most albums these days are empty pieces of shit. While I admire their ability to play an instrument, I do not admire the lack of effort. We can pop into any scene and "genre" and every great album was followed up by either a replica that was lacking something or push into another direction where you have to scratch your head and wonder what the fuck they were thinking.


No offence my communist friend but I guess you must be pretty young if you still expect such bands to take risks at every new album ! It took them long enough to make a living out of their passion and have grown 40ies so that making revolution is not for them anymore. Let room for youngsters ! To be honest when I listen to old Amon Amarth album I remember how I was back then (were you already born in the 90s?) and I don't enjoy these albums so much anymore. I know I have changed too but it's fine with me. If you don't like recent Amon Amarth then just go and seek new bands (and share the names too
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17.12.2016 - 09:56
TerrorZone
^^^ Quoting gone overboard.

Anyway, I agree with the reviewer that Amon Amarth has been on a steady decline since the
Twilight album.
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24.04.2017 - 11:59
Bugman
" Amon Amarth used to be a tank, a juggernaut, a seven-foot-tall berserker with a barrel chest and a bloody greataxe. When Amon Amarth moved, mountains shuddered and continents crumbled into the sea; the turn of a riff could sweep a Landkreuzer off its treads. Jomsviking, by comparison, attacks with all the fury and vitality of a scrawny child with one arm and a heart condition; the album sounds flat and restrained, devoid of bite, kick, punch, stab, dragon, hurricane, Jagdtiger, and other nouns."

Well this kind of sums it all up.
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