The Horns Up Top Ten: Amon Amarth

It’s officially Wacken Week! Also, that should be pronounced ‘Vacken Veek’, because German. Alright, technically Wacken doesn’t begin until the 31st and my train doesn’t leave for Wacken until the 29th. THAT SAID, I still leave for Germany this coming Friday. So, Wacken Week. Continuing my trend of Wacken related posts, here is a band I feel like covering for a top ten list… that will of course be at Wacken: Amon Amarth.

Vikings gonna viking

To be fair, I had 123 bands in the Wacken lineup to choose from, but I went with these guys partly because we don’t cover them all that much (and we don’t really need to), but also because I’ve enjoyed their live performances and I anticipated having fun with this list. Yes, I know they can be rather same-sounding, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a fun sound that generally can kick an ass or two. That said, let’s take a look at some of my popular choices:

10. “Deceiver of the Gods” (From Deceiver of the Gods, 2013)

I actually have two tracks from their most recent release. This is the opener and sounds like classic Amon Amarth (as does everything). It’s on here because it was a great opening song live. It’s also very catchy. I will also note that this album far exceeded Surtur Rising in quality.

9. “Once Sealed In Blood” (From Fate of Norns, 2004)

This is my only track from this album. I excluded “Pursuit of Vikings” because frankly, I’m sick of it. This song is brought to you by tremolo picking. The pace of the track does change quite nicely for the chorus, which I appreciate.

8. “Death in Fire” (From Versus the World, 2002)

We all knew this song would be on here. Not only is it one of the most energetic songs I’ve ever seen live, but it’s got a very tasteful tapping section midway through. This is also the song that got me into these guys. Fun stuff.

7. “Cry of the Black Birds” (From With Oden On Our Side, 2006)

Another one of their favorites to play live. As with all of their songs, it’s very catchy and full of tremolo picking. However, it’s almost a ballad by Amon Amarth standards. It’s as mournful of a sound as you’re gonna get from them, and I can dig it.

6. “Live Without Regrets” (From Surtur Rising, 2011)

I really didn’t care for this album as a whole, but this song stuck out with me a bit. Maybe because it sounds like Amon Amarth. Kidding…kinda. The song does flow nicely and the transitions are generally seamless.

5. “Under the Grey Clouded Winter Sky” (From Sorrow Throughout the Nine Worlds, 1996)

Had to reach back almost 20 years in time for this one. The introduction to this song builds rather well. I actually only recently gained an appreciation for this track. Also, I’m kind of amazed this title somehow doesn’t belong to an Emperor song.

4. “The Fate of Norns” (From Fate of Norns, 2004)

Okay fine, I lied–two songs from this record. I forgot how much I appreciated this one. That main guitar riff is just so damn catchy. It also doesn’t really feel like a 6 minute long song. Which is weird for these guys because I lot of their songs can seem longer than they actually are.

3. “Victorious March” (From Once Sent From The Golden Hall, 1998)

Ok. I actually really like this song. It’s a nice galloping tempo, but just seems darker than modern day Amon Amarth. Plus the variation of guitar techniques within this one track is pretty neat. More sound deviation than you see on full albums they’ve put out.

2. “Runes to My Memory” (From With Oden On Our Side, 2006)

More of the same sound and content. But the incredibly epically cheesy music video for this track moves it up a notch or two. In all fairness, this song does mix it up quite a bit. Plus, the tapping guitar sections that they implement are used quite tastefully.

1. “Warriors of the North” (From Deceiver of the Gods, 2013)

Honestly, I’m not even sure why this song is here. But I really like it. I enjoyed it live. I enjoy the intro. I like the duration. It pumps me up. Plus, I live in the grim white north for ‘Murica standards. So that helps a bit. Go figure. A band that’s generated the same sound for almost two decades and I go for the closing track of the most recent album. So literally, the newest song out of all the same-sounding songs.

The Horns Up Top Ten on Spotify

That’ll wrap up my top ten for the week. Remember… ‘Vikings’ is never the wrong answer. To any question. Ever. More Top 10’s from Dan next week and more Wacken stuff from me later this week.

“Ein Bier… bitte.”

– Corey

Live. Love. Plow. Horns Up. 

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