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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

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