VIKING METAL : Swedish metal band Amon Amarth’s 2002 CD Versus The World is a double CD selling at single CD prices. The bonus disc contains an unreleased track Siegreicher Marsch as well as their Sorrow Throughout The Nine Worlds EP and some demo tracks.
This is my first Viking metal CD and I am impressed. As a subgenre, I’m not sure Viking metal has a unique sound. Rather, it has very specific themes – that of reclaiming the pagan roots of North European countries converted to Christianity by force over the centuries.
As for Versus The World, don’t let the cheesy loincloth barbarian CD cover fool you, the music is top-notch. Amon Amarth features a twin guitar attach and the band hammers out very aggressive riffs that sound mean yet maintain some sense of melody – it puts most American (nu)-metal bands to shame. Their superior songwriting also means that the 9-track main album never becomes monotonous after the first few tracks – there is enough ingenuity and variations in their arsenal to keep the sonic assault fresh.
On the lyrics front, the songs exalt their pagan heritage (like the epic Thousand Years Of Oppression), adding an extra dimension of anger to their music. The nicely printed liner notes contain the English lyrics of both the main album and the bonus tracks – this is helpful since the black metal singing means the lyrics are hardly decipherable.
Verdict : very highly recommended.