(To quote the legendary Orson Welles, “We will serve no wine before its time.” The time has finally arrived for the legendary DGR’s review of the latest album by the legendary Amon Amarth.)
If you are a heavy metal writer, at some point in your career there will come the moment when you cross paths with writing about Amon Amarth. It’s become a requirement, and something of a ritual, that at some point must discuss an Amon Amarth disc. Despite appearances that I’ve been metal blogging forever, I’ve managed to avoid this ritual, having handed off reviews in the past to people who absolutely loved their latest disc or were so familiar with the band that they could capably argue its quality and merits.
Amon Amarth have, at this point, ascended beyond being a band and have become a cultural staple – to an Iron Maiden degree. They’re a band people who don’t like heavy metal, or haven’t listened to much of it, will talk about as if they’re the greatest thing in the world. The sheer mention of Amon Amarth will cause people who have never heard of the band to act like it’s the coolest thing that they’re the Viking metal band. It is a gimmick to which the band have dedicated themselves to the fullest, and it has permeated their whole career to the point now that we often don’t actually talk about the music when we talk about Amon Amarth.
It’s worked for them so well that they’re beyond musical discussion, because we know that, at the very least, it will be an Amon Amarth disc. It sucks, too, because Amon Amarth have put out some fantastic music and some very high quality albums, so there really is always a discussion to be had about the band, beyond the fact they have a fucking longboat on stage.