Viking metal gods Amon Amarth return with another fierce offering on Surtur Rising. First of all, I love this record, I really do.  In all honesty, Odin guides this beastly ship straight to triumphant glory.

The guitar riffs are heavy and thunderous (“The Last Stand of Frej”) yet highly melodic (“Tock’s Taunt”), while the drums are flat out intoxicating, showcasing a groove that is purely sinister (“Destroyer of the Universe”).

The opening “War of the Gods” features skull crushing guitar harmonies and “Slaves of Fear” is a victorious fist anthem.

Johann Hegg’s voice blisters on all ten tracks of Surtur Rising. The only moment where the record lets down its ferocity is the classical outro of “A Beast Am I” and, you know what, it flat-out rules.

One word to sum up this release is winning; the headbanger in all of us wins on all ten tracks.  Amon Amarth are winners and nothing less.  Surtur Rising is the first great album of 2011.

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