Twilight of the Thunder God by Amon Amarth
Release date : September 2008
Reviewed by Mark Fisher
Via an interview with Norwegian radio show Tinitus, which airs through P3, vocalist Johan Hegg revealed that the title of Amon Amarth's seventh studio album would be Twilight of the Thunder God. From January to April 2008, Amon Amarth penned the album's tracks. Five days a week, the outfit worked from 9-10 a.m. to 3 p.m. At Fascination Street Studio in Örebro, Sweden, the group recorded the album throughout May to June with Jens Bogren. In undergoing that process, Amon Amarth worked from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. High profile guest slots featured, more specifically; Entombed vocalist L. G. Petrov upon “Guardians of Asgaard”, Children of Bodom guitarist Roope Latvala within a solo capacity upon the title cut, and Apocalyptica upon “Live for the Kill”.
In mid July, it was disclosed that the album would be issued on September 19th in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy, on the 22nd in the rest of Europe, and on the 30th in North America. Later that month, the album's cover artwork was unveiled, a design made by Tom Thiel. Directed by Poland's Dariusz Szermanowicz on behalf of Group 13, a video was filmed in support of the title number on an old Viking site, Jomsborg, home of the Jomsvikings in Wolin, Poland. During mid August, the composition was made available for streaming via the group's official MySpace page. During mid September, “Guardians of Asgaard” was made available for streaming via the same location. On the 16th, that very same page hosted the online premier of the title track's music video. On September 18th at Club Distorsion (Pub Anchor) in Stockholm, Sweden, Twilight of the Thunder God's release party happened. Several Swedish signing sessions additionally occurred, on; September 19th at Bengans in Stockholm at five p.m., on the 20th at CD Specialisten in Göteborg at one p.m., and on the 27th at MediaMarkt in Västerås at three p.m.
Twilight of the Thunder God was issued in several formats, more specifically; a jewelcase edition, and a limited deluxe collector's edition three disc set boasting a DVD sized book including the album itself, not to mention a bonus CD and DVD, both of which happened to be recorded at August 2007's Summer Breeze festival with each a respective playing time of seventy-two minutes. With an inclusive poster, an 180g two disc gatefold LP, with one side being etched vinyl, was additionally issued, and only one thousand five hundred copies were pressed. Furthermore, a picture disc edition limited to five hundred copies was distributed alongside its counterparts. Last, yet by no means least, a limited bubblehead edition featured all that was present with the deluxe collector's edition, a thirty-six page comic book, and a huge poster. Obviously including a bobblehead of each member, the height of the respective bobblehead's was seven inches. Worldwide, only two thousand units were produced.
A mild reception greeted Amon Amarth's 2006 full length With Oden On Our Side, though Twilight of the Thunder God strides sufficient lengths towards a return to genuine form. At the time of With Oden On Our Side's actual arrival, it began to feel as though these fine Norsemen were merely a one-trick pony so to speak. Furthermore, it's very much possible that the Stockholm based purveyors of destruction also experienced this stagnation.
Twilight of the Thunder God's title number inaugurates the album, cementing an immediate impact. Throughout the years, the musical abilities of guitarists Olavi Mikkonen and Johan Söderberg have certainly undergone evolution. Critiquing With Oden On Our Side against Amon Amarth's seventh studio length, much evolution has occurred in this specific instance. Generally prevalent upon the album, the guitar parts, particularly upon the title cut, are both intricate and heavy in equal measures. However, an extensive amount of melody additionally prevails. Starring vocalist Johan Hegg as a Death Metal pied piper of sorts, “Varyags Of Miklagaard” forms yet another brutally gorgeous moment. Within this composition, the blonde giant irrefutably exhibits an intention to lead the troops into battle. Fusing brooding growls against anthemic screams, Lamb of God scribbled down more than a few notes concerning this featured trademark. Another highlight amongst highlights, “The Hero” is Twilight of the Thunder God's climactic tune. Within Metal dictionaries, “The Hero” should be hailed as the very definition of Melodic Death Metal. Perchance even stationed upon the whole genre's mountain peak, the track incorporates each ingredient that happened to widen Swedish Metal's worldwide appeal. “Live for the Kill”'s aggressive groove, and “Guardians of Asgaard”'s straightforward nature, additionally comprise highlights.
In penning Twilight of the Thunder God, Amon Amarth firmly establish a dominant streak. Each cylinder respectively fires upon a continual basis - both complacency, and stagnance, never surface. Indeed a lukewarm admirer of the group's material, and even less passionate towards the outfit's mythological preoccupations, this reviewer is admittedly gripped. Now, Amon Amarth can count another fanatic amongst their audience base. Twilight of the Thunder God comprises the act's greatest full length to date, and these Swedes will encounter immense difficulty in attempting to surpass this milestone. One of 2008's most relevant albums within the Metal sphere, Twilight of the Thunder God's relevance will likely remain strong throughout 2009.