With Oden on our Side
Review by Bill Knispel
With Oden On Our Side is the sixth full-length album from Swedish melodic/Viking death metal band Amon Amarth. Released in late 2006 on Metal Blade Records, the album paints a far more extreme musical picture than previous efforts, notably heavier than their previous album, Fate of Norns. While the band has always exhibited a heavier stance than other melodic death metal bands, moments on this release rival some of the heavier traditional black and death metal groups in the genre. Despite this, the band still add some twists via syncopation and more complex arrangements reminiscent of the Gothenburg school of extreme metal.
Vocalist Johan Hegg stated in a number of interviews that this album would be more of a roots effort, hearkening back to earlier releases such as Once Sent From the Golden Hall. As such, the album eschews much of the band’s developing complexity and melody for a sound that is more immediate and in the listener’s face. While the style is unmistakably death metal, production values are excellent, with plenty of depth and separation in instrumentation. The band maintains their Viking-inspired image through the album’s packaging, with runic and flame inspired iconography and photography throughout.
While With Oden On Our Side may not offer up the same kind of musical diversity that other melodic death metal bands live by, they are certainly one in the top echelon of extreme metal bands. This new release shows that time has not dulled the intensity of their musical fires, and offers an excellent entry point to the band’s heavy catalogue.