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Artist: Amon Amarth
Title: Surtur Rising
Genre: Death Metal
Release Date: 25th March 2011
Label: Metal Blade Records

Album Review

“Surtr moves from the south
with the scathe of branches:
there shines from his sword
the sun of Gods of the Slain.
Stone peaks clash,
and troll wives take to the road.
Warriors tread the path from Hel,
and heaven breaks apart.”
(Translation from the poetic Edda)

A lot of things happened for AMON AMARTH since their last release ‘Twilight Of The Thunder God’ in 2008. A highly regarded record Metal Hammer called “the biggest and most powerful” the band had ever recorded and landed at position #6 in the official German album Charts as well as #10 in Finland, #11 in Sweden, #14 in Austria, #21 in Switzerland, and #48 in the difficult to crack US. No wondering at all, that this was following a victorious North American headlining tour in October 2008. In 2009 the band returned to the states for another successful stretch of dates with GOATWHORE, SKELETON WITCH and LAZARUS AD and again in 2010 with HOLY GRAIL and ELUVEITIE. In addition, AMON AMARTH was crowned “Best Breakthrough Act” at Metal Hammer’s prestigious Golden Gods Awards and earned a support slot on the European leg of the Unholy Alliance Chapter III tour featuring SLAYER. The band even made their way to India for the first time, headlining the Deccan Rock Festival in Bangalore as well as tours in China and Taiwan!

But now it’s time for ‘Surtur Rising’, AMON AMARTH’s next step to the very top! Surtur, Surtr, Setr or Surt ("the swarthy one”) is a fiery giant from the Norse mythology that lives in Muspelheim, the counterpart of Niflheim which is the land of ice. He is foretold as being a major figure during the events of Ragnarök; carrying his bright sword, he will go to battle against the Æsir, he will do battle with the major (fertility) god Freyr (who is defeated by Surtur, because of lacking his sword) and afterward the flames that he brings forth will engulf the Earth. As one can see, there a lot of stuff and themes, the guys of AMON AMARTH try to introduce to their audience. Although the band almost solely deal with themes of the realms from the Old North, the brave ancient times and Vikings, singer Johan Hegg says:

“We’ve never called ourselves Viking metal and like most musicians, we just don’t like to put labels on ourselves. In our mind, it’s very much associated with bands that come out of Norway who are playing a very black metal oriented music and that’s not what we play. Sure, we have the same inspirations when it comes to the lyrical themes but musically we’re a completely different kind of metal so it’s tricky. To somebody who’s never heard us but has maybe heard Enslaved or Borknagar or Einherjer, they will expect something very different than what we do.”

In fact, the new release sounds more rough to me as its predecessors. “A major change for us on this album was the sound and production,” comments the front man. “It was one of the main things we had discussed before going into the studio. We thought we needed to be a bit more aggressive and rougher than the previous two. We wanted a harder, tougher sound and I definitely think we got that.” According to this great an epic story this decision was worth one’s weight in gold. You can literally feel it how Surtur, “the destroyer of the universe” rises and lights his sword in the Eternal Flame, given the power to raze the nine worlds. ‘Destroyer Of The World’ therefore somehow is the title track of this release, describing the situation from the perspective of Surtur himself. It was the first accomplished song of the album and appointed the direction of the songwriting. ‘The Last Stand Of Frej’ mirrors the happening of Surtur’s rise right from the other side. Just unbelievable, how this song is capable of evocating the devastating imaginations of a vanishing divinity, that seems to be brave all in vain until his last breath. It’s a huge blast, that is tearing one apart. Between these two songs lies all the density of the epic, dramatic and powerful composing, the wonderful and heroic lyrics.

All of the ten songs are quite awesome, there’s none of them that is not fitting into the overall context. Only one thing blurs the release: the fact that ten songs of this awesome and unbelievable band are quite not enough to satisfy the hunger for epic stories, powerful songs and energy… The release of ‘Surtur Rising’ will be followed by headlining tours in May and the fall. “Hopefully we can take some new steps in our career and reach another level as a band,” Hegg notes thoughtfully. “We want to play places we haven’t played yet and reach a wider audience without sacrificing what it is we do best. We’ve always mainly made music for ourselves so as long as we like it, it’s ok. Of course it’s better if other people like it too.” Well, there’s no doubt about it! With ‘Surtur Rising’, AMON AMARTH created once again a masterpiece that will put the audience under its spell! No wonder at all, a you can literally feel it:

“The sun shall be darkened, earth sinks in the sea,
Glide from the heaven the glittering stars;
Smoke-reek rages and reddening fire:
The high heat licks against heaven itself.”


01. War Of The Gods
02. Töck´s Taunt - Loke´s Treachery part II
03. Destroyer Of The Universe
04. Slaves Of Fear
05. Live Without Regrets
06. The Last Stand Of Frej
07. For Victory Or Death
08. Wrath Of The Norsemen
09. A Beast Am I
10. Doom Over Dead Man


Johan Hegg: Vocals
Olavi Mikkonen: Guitar
Johan Söderberg: Guitar
Ted Lundström: Bass
Fredrik Andersson: Drums

Website / /

Cover Picture



Music: 10
Sound: 10
Extras: -
Total: 10 / 10

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