Amon Amarth - With Oden On Our Side
Metal Blade
Viking Metal
9 songs (42:19)
Release year: 2006
Amon Amarth, Metal Blade
Reviewed by Kayla
Album of the month

There is an old riddle that inquires as to the sound of one hand clapping. The answer I’ve always heard given is the sound of an elegantly violent strike. Amon Amarth seem to have heard a different version of that riddle, one asking after the sound of an enraged Viking horde, and have given us a very similar answer. With Oden On Our Side is an ode to glorious death and battle, honor and the sight of enemy blood. This is, of course, not too different from the rest of their discography, but, like other bands that have found their favored niche, this only means more of the same quality.

Their previous release, 2005’s Fate Of Norns, had a very strong atmospheric element to it, which reached its peak in songs like the title track, a hopeless and agonized paean to the futility of fighting fate. With Oden On Our Side keeps up the atmospheric approach half the time, but the rest of the album turns up the brutality, with low, staccato riffing and precise, hammerlike drumming. Most of the riffs rise and fall, lending that epic quality Viking metal strives for, and giving the listener the impression that they’re traveling along with the bloodthirsty horde. At the highest speeds, it’s like listening to galloping warhorses; at the lowest, like the footfalls of lost souls on the way to the gates of Hel.

There’s plenty of low end, giving the album a full, rich sound, and a solid base that works equally well for the more intricate flourishes in Valhall Awaits Me and for the searching, lonely solo in Under The Northern Star. Johan Hegg’s vocals are deep, ferocious and dynamic, shifting from a smoother, deeper growl to a higher, rougher one easily. Eminently understandable as well, they match perfectly with the timbre and atmosphere of Olli Miikonen and Johan Söderberg’s guitarwork. The best example of this comes in the title track, which contains a passage I can only describe as pure, unadulterated Viking victory, with Hegg proclaiming triumph in the name of Oden in a short, militaristic rhythm while Fredrick Andersson pounds out a marching beat underneath a crystal-clear, falling riff.

The most interesting track is the closer, Prediction Of Warfare. Lyrically it has the feel of the first part of an old piece of epic poetry, telling the story of a Viking foray against the Irish from the point of view of a warrior. Although it’s not the slowest or most mournful song on the album (that distinction belongs to Under The Northern Star), it’s the most atmospheric, lingering over each aspect of the journey and ensuing fight. Much like Odysseus or Aeneas, the nameless protagonist is visited by troubling, prophetic dreams the night before the battle, introduced by a bare stretch of drumming and a riff that follows Hegg’s vocal melody closely, tumbling the listener into the song’s vision of a dire sea serpent. The song ends on a strong downbeat; however, the story of the battle is far from over and the end reflects that; it leaves the listener waiting and hungry for the next chapter of the story.

Amon Amarth have a talent for creating death metal of the most epic and visceral sort, and although their offerings tend to be very similar, they’re good enough that you don’t really think about that; you’re too busy spilling the blood of your enemies. This is one for everyone who’s ever itched to pick up a battleaxe and hammer and charge into battle.

Killing Songs :
Valhall Awaits Me, With Oden On Our Side, Prediction of Warfare
Kayla quoted 95 / 100
Adam quoted 92 / 100
Alex quoted 92 / 100
Other albums by Amon Amarth that we have reviewed:
Amon Amarth - Jomsviking reviewed by Andy and quoted 84 / 100
Amon Amarth - Deceiver of the Gods reviewed by Jared and quoted 90 / 100
Amon Amarth - Surtur Rising reviewed by Kyle and quoted 82 / 100
Amon Amarth - The Avenger reviewed by Thomas and quoted 77 / 100
Amon Amarth - Twilight Of The Thunder God reviewed by Storm and quoted 96 / 100
To see all 10 reviews click here
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