Amon Amarth 

Surtur Rising

Amon Amarth is a Swedish, Viking-themed, melodic death metal band. Take in the album art: fire, volcano, chiseled pecs. Continue reading if you are an adolescent male or excitedly anticipating the new Thor movie.

"War of the Gods" cuts guts with flaming swords of palm-muted power metal, 155 mph double-bass war drums and a growl capable of arousing a grizzly. Seamless transitions are expertly executed as Johann Hegg bellows expository sagas of Surtur and his sword of eternal fire. The lyrical content is as educational as it is violent. Mímir deserved to have his severed head sent to Odin's court.

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"Destroyer of the Universe" tips its helmet to the New Wave of British heavy metal with dual guitar and melodic chorus, "See me rise, mighty Surt / Destroyer of the universe / Bringer of flames and endless hurt / Scorcher of men and earth." Death metal melodic, anyway.

On "Slaves of Fear" Johann vociferates, "They feed on your anxieties / to build a dead society." One could argue that the band uses the violence of a mythic past to comment on modern violence. But this is how I know Surtur Rising rips: When alone, volume cranked, I don a towel cape and brandish a carrot like a sword.

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