Amon Amarth -With Oden on Our Side Review

The Band:

Johan Hegg − vocals
Olavi Mikkonen − guitar
Johan Söderberg − guitar
Ted Lundström − bass
Fredrik Andersson − drums

Tracklisting:

  1. Valhall Awaits Me
  2. Runes to My Memory
  3. Asator
  4. Hermod’s Ride to Hel: Lokes Treachery, Pt 1
  5. Gods of War Arise
  6. With Oden of Our Side
  7. Cry of the Black Birds
  8. Under the Northern Star
  9. Prediction of Warfare

I love Amon Amarth. Their ludicrously heavy, yet approachable sound is great for whenever you’re feeling a little down. Sure, the voice might sound like someone screaming at you for eating their cheese, and the music might be intense, but there’s always something of a party atmosphere when it comes to Amon Amarth. The band’s 2006 effort, With Oden on Our Side, is no different.

The melody from the two guitarists plays perfectly with the brutal, death metal sounds pounding out of the drums and bass guitar. The riffs created help give Amon Amarth their unique, epic sound that effortlessly combines a party atmosphere with the darker sounds of death metal. Tracks like ‘Valhall Awaits Me’, ‘Gods of War Arise’, ‘With Oden on Our Side’, ‘Cry of the Black Birds’ and ‘Prediction of Warfare’ sum up this sound brilliantly. Each of these tracks represent the best on the record. These are as fun as they are heavy.

Amon Amarth albums tend to struggle in keeping my interest fully the whole way through, with one track not sounding too dissimilar to the last, but With Oden on Our Side largely gets away with this thanks to changing the formula up just a little with a small number of its tracks. Take ‘Runes to My Memory’ and ‘Asator’ for example. Amon Amarth is consistently brutal, but these two take out a little bit of the melody, making for two insanely heavy tracks. They’re both great and show that the band don’t just do the ol’ catchy death metal thing.

‘Under the Northern Star’, too, offers something a little different. There are less blast-beats here than your typical Amon Amarth, and perhaps a little more melody than you’re used to. It’s a slower, softer track, but it carries the epic sound the band is known for. Generally speaking, With Oden on Our Side is a little less heavy than other Amon Amarth records I’ve heard, such as Twilight of the Thunder Gods, but it’s just as good. In fact, it’s pretty much the same.

I’ve argued for the album containing little pieces of innovation within its writing, but to be honest, all Amon Amarth records follow a very similar path. The biggest issue of With Oden on Our Side is that, by and large, I’ve heard it all before. Amon Amarth are fantastic at what they do, but there is a little bit of ‘heard one album, heard them all’ going on. With Oden on Our Side is about as good as Amon Amarth get, to me seeming exactly on par with Twilight of the Thunder Gods and Jomsviking, but whether they can reach beyond this peak is another question.


4/5

With Oden on Our Side offers everything you’d want from an Amon Amarth record, but does little to advance the band’s sound.

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