Sunday, March 20 2011 00:00


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2174383AMON AMARTH have had the Viking corner of the death metal world on lock for years, and with the release of SURTUR RISING (out March 29th via Metal Blade), they're firmly planting their flag for the immediate future. Indeed, these Tolkien-core Swedes will be basking in the metal limelight for another couple of years...

The appeal of Amon Amarth has always struck me as odd, in the fact that quite a lot of people will attest to their level of badassdom, yet few seem to actually own one of their albums. It's another example of excellent musicians churning out what is essentially the same album every few years, staying afloat through their live show rather than their recorded output.

SURTUR RISING is no better than 2008's TWILIGHT OF THE THUNDER GOD - the biggest difference is that 'RISING has a commemorative action figure. Aside from the figure and other variant releases, it's another 48-minutes of bland "melodic death metal" that sounds like background music for an anime "tribute video." Out of ten songs, only "Wrath of the Norsemen" and "Töck's Taunt - Loke's Treachery Part II" ring memorable. Frontman Johan Hegg sounds more like Nathan Explosion than ever, which is interesting in that Explosion and his fictional Dethklok counterparts are supposed to be parodies. Amon Amarth on the other hand, is a very serious endeavor.

Rating: 2.5/5

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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