Amon Amarth - _Fate of Norns_
(Metal Blade, 2004)
by: Pedro Azevedo (8 out of 10)
A fiery red 'n' yellow front cover -- yes, it's another Amon Amarth album! Truth be told, this time they varied the motif somewhat, although they still didn't give up on linking _Fate of Norns_ pretty strongly to their previous albums' imagery. Having included a bonus disc with old demo tracks on the limited edition of their previous album, _Versus the World_, Amon Amarth have now provided the metal market with another big limited edition digipak, this time featuring the flavour of the year (and probably the next few year's too): a bonus live DVD.

The album itself is one of those predictable affairs if you already know the band; an album that that will neither seriously disappoint existing fans nor win any former disbelievers over. Much like other recent efforts, the band displays a mixture of controlled aggression and what I like to call a post-battle mood on _FoN_. The material is not as fast as on some older albums, retaining those trademark riffs but applying them to mostly mid-paced rhythmic structures instead -- it actually gets doomy at times, like it already did on _Versus the World_. There really isn't much else to say about _Fate of Norns_; some may feel they already have enough Amon Amarth in their collection because they're not really going anywhere new with their music -- but on the other hand, the metallic appeal of their Swedish death metal remains vivid, and they have lost none of their skill. This is simply another collection of very good songs within the same specific style as usual.

If you happen to catch one of the DVD-enhanced editions, you'll be treated to a gig filmed at a small venue in Iceland. The sound is plain old stereo, and the filming is very simple throughout, but at least the band do not disappoint: drumming, guitar playing and vocal performance all get high marks, and there's a good atmosphere about the whole thing. Still, this is no full DVD release: do not expect any great audio or video here. It's a nice bonus if you can get it, but not fundamental -- I'd wager it won't be too long before Amon Amarth have a full DVD release of their own, and they certainly deserve it.

[Quentin Kalis: "Although not a horrible album, _FoN_ borders on the repetitive, which is not helped by the near-constant sluggish pace sustained throughout the album. There are a number of noteworthy moments on this album, but not nearly enough for _FoN_ to be considered as a worthy successor to _Versus the World_. Nonetheless, this album is still above average, but comes closer to that mark than anything else released by Amon Amarth."]


(article published 19/11/2004)

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