Best Amon Amarth Albums

Sweden’s Amon Amarth are the epitome of what the melodic death metal genre stands for. The band plays melodic guitar rhythms blended with the guttural vocals supplied by vocalist Johan Hegg. Founded back in the early '90s, the band acquired their name from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. The band's lyrics dissect Viking folklore and its history, and they also look to be modern day Norse gods in appearance.

One of the rare bands that have spent their entire career with the same record label, Amon Amarth has been one of the backbones of the Metal Blade roster for the last fifteen years. Since releasing  Once Sent from the Golden Hall in 1998, the band's work ethic is impeccable, releasing an album every two years like clockwork.

The band has released nine strong albums throughout their career with very little distinction between their offerings. Like Slayer, the bands unwillingness to change their style works towards their benefit. They continue to refine their songwriting skills, as the latter part of the discography contains some of their strongest material. This month I examine their catalog and dissect the best releases of their  career.

01
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'Twilight of the Thunder God' (2008)

Amon Amarth - Twilight of the Thunder God
Amon Amarth - Twilight of the Thunder God.

A mere two years after the mind blowing With Oden on Our Side, Amon Amarth continued their dominance with their biggest charting record to date, Twilight of the Thunder God. Not straying far from the blueprint of their previous release, the songwriting is equally as strong but more fine-tuned. The title track is also one of Amon Amarth’s best compositions. Starting with a driving guitar riff that equals anything in their catalog, the chorus finds Hegg capturing his most memorable vocal melody. It’s a death metal classic.

Entombed vocalist LG Petrov makes a guest vocal appearance on the crushingly heavy “Guardians of Asgaard.” The stunning landscape guitar harmonies of “Varyags of Miklagaard” finds the band at their most creative. “Where Is Your God” is a battering beast, never letting up with its intense onslaught and impressive double bass performance from drummer Fredrik Andersson. Not only has this release set the bar in the melodic death arena, it is also Amon Amarth's best album.

Recommended Track: "Twilight of the Thunder God"

02
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'With Oden on Our Side' (2006)

Amon Amarth - With Oden on Our Side
Amon Amarth - With Oden on Our Side.

With the release of their sixth album With Oden on Our Side, Amon Amarth had already established themselves within the death metal community. The band continued to show growth as vocalist Hegg perfected his guttural vocal style here and adds an added layer of depth to his intense approach. The record is the their most diverse to date with the crushing Paradise Lost influenced “Under the Northern Star” and one of their most epic songs “Hermod’s Ride to Hel - Loke’s Treachery Part 1,” where lyrically the band has never been better.

The driving double bass and fast picked tremolo guitar riffs on “Asator” show the band at their most vicious. Hegg is a monster behind the mic delivering one of the most vicious performances of his career. Opener “Valhall Awaits Me” features a power metal influenced riff that has become the backbone of the modern day Amon Amarth catalog. The chorus is the perfect anthem for the live setting.

Recommended Track: "Hermod’s Ride to Hel – Loke’s Treachery Part 1"

03
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'Versus The World' (2002)

Amon Amarth - Versus The World
Amon Amarth - Versus The World.

Amon Amarth's fourth album Versus the World was an amazing accomplishment considering it was the fourth year in a row with a full-length release. The songwriting quality is top notch and finds the band maturing and taking an enormous step forward over their prior release, The Crusher. Their willingness to embrace different tempos and layers shows a sense of maturity not found previously.

Opener “Death In Fire” begins with tribal drumming and a crushingly heavy guitar part and a more developed sound is noticed out of the gate. The song climaxes with an incredible riff that features a unique pull off technique. The heroic feel of the melodic riff in the truly epic “Thousand Years of Oppression” is addictive. Hegg adapts a more speaking style during the verses before the driving chorus jumps to one of his most memorable melodies. This track still stands above most in their catalog and is one of the greatest melodic death songs ever penned. Versus the World finds the band combining brutality and accessibility better than the genre has ever previously seen.

Recommended Track: "Thousand Years of Oppression"

04
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'The Avenger' (1999)

Amon Amarth - The Avenger
Amon Amarth - The Avenger.

Amon Amarth’s sophomore release The Avenger is thirty-six minutes of intensity. Coming off their successful debut Once Sent from the Golden Hall, the band refined their songwriting talent while maintaining the vicious onslaught. This is the first record to feature the band's solidified lineup that has been the same ever since (as of this writing). The chemistry between the lineup is instantly felt throughout the seven songs within.

Out of their early releases, The Avenger is Amon Amarth's most consistent front to back. It opens with one of their all-time classic songs “Bleed for the Ancient Gods,” which packs a gigantic punch with the majority of the song centered around a memorable melodic guitar riff before breaking into one of the heaviest moments of their career. The fast paced “God, His Son and Holy Whore” showcases Andersson’s impressive drum skills. His pounding double bass brings the band to a whole different level. Hegg’s vocal attack is at his most extreme, heard on “Metalwrath” and the whining inhuman squeals of the title track. Peter Tatgren is once again brought in to produce and his signature guitar tones and production values were a huge asset to the band's early success.

Recommended Track: "Bleed for the Ancient Gods"

05
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'Deceiver of the Gods' (2013)

Amon Amarth - Deceiver of the Gods
Amon Amarth - Deceiver of the Gods.

Amon Amarth’s ninth release Deceiver of the Gods finds the band performing at their highest levels, returning to dominance after the small misstep of 2011's Surtur Rising.  The guitar riffs are more innovative and vibrant as heard in the stellar title track and the epic warlike anthem “As Loke Falls.” The album ends with the eight minute plus “Warriors of the North,” which creates a slow build with an excellent guitar lead break by Johan Söderberg and Olavi Mikkonen.

The album’s highlight is the duet of former Candlemass vocalist Messiah Marcolin and Hegg on the remarkable “Hel.” Marcolin’s melodic vocals are the perfect counterpoint to Hegg’s intense bellow. It's an innovative song as Amon Amarth continue to push new boundaries. The driving riffs in “Coming of the Tide” balance the fast picked tremolo and power metal melodic riffing the band is known for. The chorus is outstanding.

Recommended Track: "Hel"