Amon Amarth – Versus The World (2002) Album Review

With this review we shall venture once again in the realm of melodic death metal. We already reviewed one album that has a special place in this genre and also an astounding contribution as well, that was Amorphis‘ opus Eclipse with the incredible voice performed by Tomi Joutsen, an album that I would recommend to everyone that enjoys a band that combined the soft aspect of metal with extreme metal elements. Amon Amarth is also a special band that enters in the category of melodic death metal bands, but somehow, they are a little less accessible compared to Amorphis. However, it is one of the very few bands that succeeds in everything they do, even though you can easily witness the fact that all the songs are the same in every album, not featuring many changes, if any at all. It is one of those bands that are good at what they do, and they don’t need to change something in their playing style in order to impress the listener or not gather more members for their fan-base. Amon Amarth, even with their less accessible playing style, they kick ass at any time and even though people might not really appreciate extreme metal, it is hard to overlook such a band, it has that aspect that makes you interested and attracts you to listen some more.

From my point of view, this kind of band is suitable for males, because it mainly refers to the supremacy of males in society. The brutality, the war like screams, the aggressive riffs and the fast drumming is good enough for several moshpits and clashes among the crowd. What can I say, a perfect material if you wish to headbang until you blow your brains. One thing makes me angry about the fans of this band is that they consider it a viking metal band. Guys, I am not sure what you think, but simply because they use viking themes in their lyrical content does not mean they sing viking metal. Viking metal was originally created by Bathory with its mastermind Quorthon, and even though it still retained some extreme metal elements, they were mostly well hidden, giving a lot more space for atmospheric and bombastic moments or why not, some folk elements as well.

Amon Amarth, how much I wish for them to be part in this category, they aren’t, because their style does not even resume to 10% of the style Bathory approached in the mid career. It’s safe to say that they are a melodic death metal band, without a doubt. One thing that makes Amon Amarth less accessible is the constant use of grunt vocals and heroic or warrior like screams, performed by the founding member Johan Hegg. His vocals are pretty much understandable, unlike many vocalists that uses this voice technique and it emanates a lot of adrenaline and energy. Just book a ticket for one of their concert, you will know what I am talking about, these guys can surely pull out a hell of a show without much effort and they have the material they need in order to attract the audience and make it go nuts.

For me, Amon Amarth has always been a band that I would listen for a change of mood. It is a band that could turn a bad day into a good one, simply because it is not depressive, it is not mellow, but it is brutal and aggressive, something you need in order to tell the people that pissed you off, to fuck off. Amon Amarth is a band that also shows attitude, is a band that likes to perform in a spectacular way, and there are many that witnessed them with stage performers as well or with theatrical elements on the stage. The band focuses on lyrical themes such as warfare, vikings, destruction or Norse mythology. The fact that they refer to viking gods in many of their songs is not a thing that should take you by surprise and seeing that in history, the vikings were considered exceptional warriors, the warfare theme and the destruction one are pretty much welcomed.

Musically speaking, the band focuses a lot of the drumming part, it is the instrument that can be easily remarked while listening every possible Amon Amarth song, not only from this album but from their entire discography. It’s fast, sometimes maybe way too fast, bombastic at time and sets the rhythm and the mood in every song. On a second line comes the guitar riffs, which are also an important catalyst for every Amon Amarth song. Many songs feature guitar solos. Another thing that can be remarked is the fact that since the inception, the band has not really changed the line-up. Three original members are still present, except for the drummer and the second guitarist who were replaced in 1998. The band does not hesitate to condemn christianity for the fall of the viking civilization in songs such as For The Stabwounds In Our Backs and Thousand Years Of Oppression. It is easy to figure out the connection just by reading the titles. Death In Fire the introductory song was a wise choice for a song that begins a great album. With it’s thrash riff guitars and fast drumming, it sets the pace and already welcomes the listener to a full scaled war.

Since the lyrical themes in every song kind of repeats itself, and the songs do not feature many changes, except from some groove elements here and there, the album can be considered by some people monotonous, but in reality it isn’t. Normally I would also consider a band that recycles the same shit into every single song, but with Amon Amarth I don’t seen to have that problem. They know what they are doing, they are good at it, they don’t need to change shit in order to impress, because they can’t be more impressive than they already are. The band reveals a rather slower side in the last song …And Soon the World Will Cease to Be a well inspired title for an ending song. The beginning of the song is a lot more slower compared to the other tracks but it ends it in a brutal way, in an Amon Amarth way.

Recommending an album from this band is rather difficult, because every album they’ve made was just fucking brilliant and insanely aggressive and staggering. It is a pleasant for the ears, this coming from an extreme metal band, and it is a feast for males, because only they can understand what it means to be a true warrior and what it means to act the way Amon Amarth proclaims to. Unlike many melodic death metal bands, they do not use synths or keyboards, they create the melodic aspect through guitar riffs, which is one of their best selling points. Amon Amarth is one of those bands that easily broke into mainstream, with perseverance, with courage and with their own uniqueness and simplicity. Out of all their album, I wanted to write a review about this one, but I recommend listening to all of them, you will definitely find a feast for your ears.

Overall Impression: 97/100