The Saint Vitus Bar listening party for the sure to be a hugely victorious new Amon Amarth ear pillager Jomsviking was a great event. The already classic yet still newer venue (in the larger scheme of things) hosted a small gathering of some of the most viking metal faithful writers in the scene and various label and musician types as vocalist Johan Hegg of Amon Amarth held court.
The thunderous music was a delight to behold, the full throttle charge of instant anthem “First Kill” (complete with some awesome descending riffs and Johan’s mighty roar) letting us know this was indeed a full blown Amon Amarth battle cry. One does not simply get to their tenth album of Viking themed melodeath and suddenly put out an album of squishy water in your jelly flip flop pool party tunes, for example.
No. Dudes open their new record with the lyrics ,“The first man I killed was the Earl’s right hand man!” growled like it means everything to Johan. These dudes have the power of At the Gates yet with the intense epic feel of European sagas. Outlaw anthems to melt the heart of Skade, the Ski-goddess.
Johan welcomed the writers and PR people, some of us meeting for the first time as people had flown in from the West Coast for the special, exclusive event. He was very friendly but said he hoped we liked the record and made a funny threatening growl at us. My guitarist Ryan Rios from our band GET OUT. had driven me, as I am pretty nearsighted and shitty in metropolitan areas, and he noted that “Raise Your Horns” in particular reminded him of some of the classic styles that made “Runes To My Memory” from With Odin On Our Side so memorable. “The Way Of The Vikings” stood out to me as one of the most aggressive and anthemic tracks yet from a band known for crushing mead halls beneath their treading boots.
The record sounded absolutely incredible and it was cool to run into some old friends like John from Candiria or meet Frank from Metal Injection in person finally or other assembled Metal Blade homies. Jomsviking is really, really uncompromising and good. The epic feel you love is there and yet the songs seem a bit faster, at least to me. There are still some slower war marches and even an awesome, prickly inside cameo from the legendary Valkyrie, er …warlock (World of Warcraft forums say ladies can be Warlocks too) Doro Pesch that raises the whole record to even further Asgardian heights on penultimate track “A Dream That Cannot Be”.
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