Berserker is Amon Amarth‘s eleventh album release since 1998. Formed in 1992 and after a first demo in 1993, the band’s first full release was 1998s Once Sent From The Golden Hall. Our all time favorite vikings have been doing their business for a few years now. Berserker gives us 56 minutes of new music splitted into 12 new songs. “Crack The Sky” is the shortest song with 3:49min, “Into The Dark” is the longest one with a playtime of 6:48min, because of an identical orchestral intro and outro.
An interview with the band in a magazine made me interested in the new album, where the band told us of a new sound, closer to a traditional Heavy Metal production. I thought that this could be a good idea for the band, their sound and their way after their last album Jomsviking in 2016, where the band became the victim of their own album’s concept somehow.
Berserker starts with “Fafner’s Gold” and an acoustic intro sounding quite like one of Metallica’s intros. After 37 seconds the acoustic melody becomes electric, and then, at 58 seconds we got the full drums and the riff. And suddenly it sounds again like many other Amon Amarth songs and the special feeling is gone, at the latest in the chorus when the very characteristic high staccato leads start, it’s all the same again. In my opinion the song doesn’t need this kind of riff, it seems more as if they did this because they had to, because they always sound like this… That is quite a pity in my opinion.
There are moments on the entire album where you think that they sound good – cool riffs, powerful parts, whatever – but then Johan’s monotonous voice or one of these typical staccato riffs pulls me back and I see the truth… Okay, to be honest, Johan tries some other stuff with his voice, some spoken parts in “Crack The Sky” or even some kind of clean singing in “Ironside”. I think you can hear that he is very uncomfortable with these parts. But in the end the band wasn’t able to leave their comfort zone and start to go the new ways, they just scratched at them.
Thus, in my opinion the new more traditional Heavy Metal sound is a good idea, but it doesn’t fit to Amon Amarth’s music as they proceded on the album. I think they need to be more courageous. Here and there you can get an idea of how it could sound, even with Johan’s limited voice.
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As usual, we added the two favorite tracks to our Transcended Review Playlist