Amon Amarth - _Versus the World_
(Metal Blade, 2002)
by: Pedro Azevedo (8.5 out of 10)
Maybe it's just because I had relatively low expectations for _Versus the World_, but it has managed to surprise me in more than one way. First of all, it's a nice touch that Metal Blade have released a special double-CD version which, for a bit more money, gives you Amon Amarth's two demos and their _Sorrow Throughout the Nine Worlds_ EP [CoC #12]. The band has also moved to Berno Studio and produced the album by themselves rather than staying at the Abyss with Peter Tagtgren, which resulted in a different (if slightly less impressive) sound. But most importantly, whereas I had envisioned _Versus the World_ as most likely proving that Amon Amarth had stagnated and become a thoroughly predictable band, they have actually managed to tweak their music in such a way that they have stuck to everything Amon Amarth have been about in the past while adding some interesting touches and subtle variations. The fact is that while I had expected to grow tired of _Versus the World_ very quickly, it ended up among the three or four records I've spun the most in recent months. Anyone who has kept an eye on Amon Amarth over the years is likely to notice the ways in which they have matured on this remarkably consistent album. _Versus the World_ can be heavy and percussive when Amon Amarth want, it can hook you with dynamic buzzsaw riffs, or it can go into a doomy, disenchanted mood. Above all, it manages to keep the listener interested throughout. I am especially pleased by the way they have successfully incorporated some more doom influences into their sound, resulting in some excellent contrast with the more defiant, aggressive sections. The result is a great album that excels both in the Swedish death metal department and the doomier aspects, making it a recommended purchase. One more thing, though: can you -please- make a slightly more distinctive front cover for one of your future albums?


(article published 11/4/2003)

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