Amon Amarth – Berserker
Released: May 3rd, 2019
Olavi Mikkonen − lead guitar
Johan Hegg − vocals
Ted Lundström − bass
Johan Söderberg − rhythm guitar
Jocke Wallgren – drums
The Mighty Swedes are back! Three years after the release of the brilliant Jomsviking, masters of melodic death metal Amon Amarth go full tilt with the release of their eleventh studio album, Berserker.
There’s something I just love about an acoustic intro, the gentle plucking of strings, the music gently floating from the speakers to your ears. It’s beautiful, uplifting, you’re riding on a cloud with barely a care. A world of unicorns skipping gaily through the tulips. And then it happens, as much as you enjoy floating and lilting what you really need is some metal. Melodic Death-fucking-Metal! The rainbow farting unicorns are crushed under the weight of Thor’s Hammer as the maelstrom that is Amon Amarth hits with full force. So it is with ‘Fafner’s Gold’, a story of hidden gold and dragons. A track that gallops along at break-neck pace thanks to the insane rhythm section of bass player Ted Lundström and Jocke Wallgren on drums. The song sets the stage for the rest of the album – a dash of NWOBHM, lashings of Asgardian folklore and music heavy enough to crush your skull. Basically, all that good shit we’ve come to expect from the five Scandinavians.
One of the most enjoyable things in listening to any Amon Amarth album is delving into the meanings behind the songs and discovering new and amazing stories in Norse Mythology. Stories of Wolves who chase the sun and moon as told in ‘Skoll and Hati’. The infamous Swedish king ‘Ironside’, an anthemic tale of conquer and conquest full of rousing Viking choruses and thundering drums. If you’re anything like me your interest will be piqued and you’ll quickly disappear down an online rabbit hole of gods, heroes, and mayhem all to an ear-bleedingly heavy soundtrack.
If you’ve been paying attention you would have already copped and ear and eyeful of the first single lifted off the album, ‘Raven’s Flight’. The video is cinematic in its production, a perfect accompaniment to the unrelenting battering ram of riffs brutally delivered by the twin guitar attack of Johan Söderberg and Olavi Mikkonen. Along with Johan Hegg’s guttural growl, it’s enough to send shivers down your spine.
There’s probably no song on the album that better showcases Hegg’s brutal vocal ability and surprising range than ‘The Berserker at Stamford Bridge’ – surely that voice comes from the depths of Norse Hel itself. When the vocalist digs deep into his lower register it’s chilling, each phrase hits like a Viking battle axe through your head. The song starts with Mikkonen and Söderberg playing a Celtic sounding march, relentless and unstoppable. A timing change triggers a scream of CHARGE and all hell breaks loose! It’s easy to close your eyes and get lost in the imagery of blood and battle. And let’s face it, who doesn’t love a song about a mighty warrior beating the living shit out of the English! (for a short time anyway)
Berserker is pure unadulterated Amon Amarth, 12 blood-soaked songs of fire, fury with the odd history lesson thrown in. I can’t find fault, fuck it – perfect score!
Amon Amarth – Berserker tracklist:
- Fafner’s Gold
- Crack the Sky
- Mjolner, Hammer of Thor
- Shield Wall
- Raven’s Flight
- The Berserker at Stamford Bridge
- We Can Set Our Sails
- When Once Again
- Wings of Eagles
- Into the Dark
Check out our interview with frontman Johan Hegg chatting all things Berserker and more right here