If there was just one word to describe Amon Amarth, it would be consistent. Over the last two decades they have drove the band forward, producing nine studio albums in this time all of which follow the Viking themed melodic death metal they have become best known for. Deceiver Of The Gods is another record which tells tales of brutal battles and Norse mythology and is the follow up to the 2011 Surtur Rising.
Deceiver Of The Gods kicks off with the title track, which is a strong effort featuring catchy riffs and a powerful chorus. Things only get better with following track, “As Loke Falls”. It’s here that we get to hear Johan Hegg’s throat growls in full force, which is arguably the main element to Amon Amarth’s distinctive sound. “Shape Shifter” is a track which has a catchy melody and an epic shout-a-long type chorus but on the whole unfortunately feels rather uninspired, but “Blood Eagle” brings the standard back up and stands out as being one of the more interesting tracks on the album. It firstly opens with a pretty disgusting intro which should be enough to get your attention before it breaks into some finger breaking guitar work and pummelling kick drums.
The main issue people will find with this album is, like Surtur Rising, the tracks do start to sound quite similar. There is a definite sense of an aggressive driving force across the record which keeps you listening and the marching style of death metal is fast paced and brutal in places which matches the lyrics perfectly. The thing is that there isn’t much new on the album… that is until you reach the final three tracks. “Hel” features vocals from Messiah Marcolin, formerly of fellow Swedish metallers Candlemass. This gives the track a completely different sound, very moody and classic-metal which does come as quite a shock on the first listening, especially with the inclusion of the clean vocals which I found to be a very welcome addition.
“Coming Of The Tide” sees the inclusion of some of the finest guitar work on the album in the form of a groovy solo towards the end. This is another song which sees the band diversifying their sound further. It’s almost as if they recorded the first 3/4 of the album for the die hard “we don’t like change” Amon Amarth fans, but allowed themselves to deviate from the usual formula and flex their creative muscles for the last three. Final track “Warriors Of The North” is also quite different. Epic in length at just over eight minutes it showcases a slower pace and some of the best instrumental performances on Deceiver Of The Gods, it closes the album nicely with just a hint of a sense of future progression for the band.
There is no denying that Amon Amarth are a bunch of very talented guys who do what they do very well. Although there is not a vast amount of difference in the majority of the album in comparison to previous releases, they do give subtle suggestions that the next album might follow a slightly different course and the inclusion of Messiah Marcolin on one track is definitely a treat.
If you liked their past releases, you will without a doubt like this, and if you were hoping for something a little different, a little more adventurous, then there are enough signs of that here to raise anticipation for whatever Amon Amarth do next.