Amon Amarth - Twilight of the Thunder God
(6 reader votes, average 3.17 out of 5)
by Ben Perry

Band Name: Amon Amarth
Album Name: Twilight of the Thunder God
Release Date: September 30, 2008

Band on Record:
Johan Hegg: Vocals
Olavi Mikkonen: Guitars
Johan Söderberg: Guitars
Ted Lundström: Bass
Fredrik Andersson: Drums

Track 1: “Twilight of the Thunder God”
The perfect beginning for these death metal titans. Starting off with some guitar melody and then picking the tempo up to a fever pitch, they throw everything at you with thunderous drumming, ferocious vocals that have an odd sing-along quality to them even through the harshness. Roope Latvala from Children of Bodom plays some guitar on this album and does a great job lending his unique solo craft to the band.
Song Rating: 10 out of 10

Track 2: “Free Will Sacrifice”
Layered into furious guitar riffs and melody that ebbs and flows with the vocals of Hegg, this song grabs you and then throttles you around the battlefield (if you happen to be following the lyrics) until the end of the war. Brutal tune, and a definite winner :B
Song Rating: 9.5 out of 10

Track 3: “Guardians of Asgaard”
Featuring a guest vocal appearance by Entombed vocalist Lars Göran Petrov, I can not really tell where he plays a factor except maybe in the background during the chorus. Anyway, this was the song that made this album a high priority for me to get when I heard it. The vocals have that harshness, but at the same time sing-ability I mentioned before. The instruments truly groove along to everything with the intensity and brutality this band is known to put out. A big plus is a great solo not often heard in the work of Amon Amarth.
Song Rating: 10 out of 10

Track 4: “Where is Your God?”
The melody, in just about every aspect except some guitar that does stand out against the brutality this track dishes out, is completely gone. The vocals are some of the most undecipherable, and fastest spit at you on the album. It’s a good song if you enjoy the fast death metal.
Song Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Track 5: “Varyags of Miklagaard”
Their previous release With Oden on Our Side has a few songs that remind me of this one, and in no way is that a bad thing as before Twilight was released I considered that my favorite album. The fast driving beat gives that feeling of galloping along with these Vikings as they do their duty in battle. There are some cool guitar scales used on here and keep the song interesting and the vocals are not too bad.
Song Rating: 9 out of 10

Track 6: “Tattered Banners and Bloody Flags”
This is the forte of Amon Amarth, start fast with some alternating bass and guitar riffs that barrage the ears and then just keep at it. Add some guitar melody in now and again to heighten the speed, and then just growl underneath it all. Only downside is the vocals are near undecipherable.
Song Rating: 8 out of 10

Track 7: “No Fear for the Setting Sun”
A headbanger of a tune, the tempo changes keep it interesting and the overall speed is something thrash fans will definitely enjoy. One of those few guitar solos are on this track, and its not a traditional solo. It sounds more, archaic so to speak and that works for this band. Very unique and I love it!
Song Rating: 9 out of 10

Track 8: “The Hero”
Another one of my favorite cuts from the album, and one that was not released as a single or any sampler discs I picked. The vocals are easier to understand here than on some of the previous songs, the music is also more varied with some of Amon Amarth’s classic riff and melody intwining.
Song Rating: 10 out of 10

Track 9: “Live for the Kill”
Guesting on this track is the Finnish cello-metal band: Apocalyptica and their addition of cello to Amon Amarth’s normal super-speed, more speed, and growls shows an advancement in the music craft of the band. Not to mention the beginning which definitely sounds more like classic thrash with the guitar parts before kicking off into the speed and brutality we all know and love. Another unique and rare guitar solo comes up and that breaks off into the cello, showing that the world of speed and classical can combine to a great effect.
Song Rating: 10 out of 10

Track 10: “Embrace of the Endless Ocean”
It sounds like the band adds in some guitar tapping in the beginning here to create the melody of waves, as well as some other tricks on the guitar are a bit out of the ordinary, although the speed is kept up and the vocals are just as throaty as before.
Song Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Overall Review:
This album is one of Amon Amarth’s best works, right up there with the release they put out right before this With Oden on Our Side. The lyrics, as all the work of the band deals with, are about war and the various Norse gods that come from folklore in the band’s homeland: Sweden. The music is vicious, but also melodic at times with Hegg growling through it all. Sometimes he’s discernible and can be sung along with, other times his words are completely unintelligible. The music does seem to take a darker turn here than the pure straight ahead thrash and death style on previous albums. The addition of Apocalyptica and the cellos they bring to the music on “Live for the Kill” help enhance that mood of darkness. The use of cellos, when previously it was all guitars, bass, and drums also shows a changing to the usual style that has been played on Amon Amarth’s records over the years. They are branching out and that is never a bad thing for a band, here it does work out spectacularly.

The dark theme goes hand in hand with the main storyline of each song dealing with Norse mythology. “Twilight of the Thunder God” is about the ending of the Norse god Thor at the hands of the giant serpent Jormungandr at the battle of Ragnarök (the last battle on Earth, translated roughly as “the end of the gods”). Twilight is a common word to allude to the ending of something, and that goes hand in hand with the subject matter, and as the world today is in turmoil with constant war and strife it makes sense that the theme of a war based band would be noting the fact it appears the end is near. “Tattered Banners and Blood Flags” also contains references to the final battle, Ragnarök, telling how the fall of the gods actually does happen. For those who are unfamiliar with Norse myth (I myself know very little, but this was some interesting material) Loki, the brother of Odin (supreme god) betrays the gods due to some grievances done to him and his children. He does not come alone, but brings the giants who are hated enemies of the Norse gods with him and with their help slays a number of the gods before dying himself. Either way, this time is pure insanity and a time of ferocious fighting. Directly linked to the fighting happening in the world today. The music of these songs is perfect for the epic battles that play within the lyrics. The music is fast and furious, providing a strong basis and also tumultuous with the guitar melody that plays chaotically over the speed. These were some of my favorite tunes.

“Guardians of Asgaard” is the defence of the holy realm of the gods. It features the guest vocalist Lars Göran Petrov, but his influence is minimal. Pertaining to the second theme of warfare, especially Viking, that there will be no giving up. Taking this and seeing how there is a strong will from soldiers fighing over in the Middle East. Soldiers who fight in the American army are also doing it volunatrily. They are the “Free Will Sacrifice” sung about on the album, but as on “Guardians…” they are “standing firm/against all odds.” Also, he bravery of those who fight is shown on “No Fear for the Setting Sun” where the refusal to give in and accept defeat keeps the warrior going. It is that denial of giving up that shows true courage, and the soldiers of today show that heroism on the battlefield everyday. The weapons have simply changed from swords and shields to guns and bombs. The music to accompany these songs changed tempo a lot, but never loses the speed and hardness that makes up working the battlefield and charging into battle. These would be the songs warriors in the ancient world would use to pump up to if that was available. If you are interested in thrash, death, or just plain intense music this album is what you want. As well, if there is a desire to explore Norse mythology, why not learn about it and listen to some good music at the same time? Amon Amarth are a band I enjoy for that reason.
Overall Rating: 9.25 out of 10

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