There isn't much that is blatantly wrong on Versus The World, the fifth label-released CD from Sweden's Amon Amarth.
Unfortunately, there is not much that is memorable, either.
The CD is aiming for an epic viking metal feel of grand and epic battles, but instead manages to deliver a depressingly sludgy wall of sound that resoundingly crushes any forward momentum.
The majority of the songs sound exactly the same: in the same key, featuring the same speed, the same tiresome style of rapid guitar strumming, the same monotone low-pitched growly vocals (mostly delivered in one or two-word increments), the same limited range of notes, the same uninspired drum work, and the same lack of solos.
Six of the nine songs here are effectively interchangeable and meld into one another with no distinctive features. There are hardly any passages that capture the attention.
The exceptions are opener Death in Fire, which achieves a strong mood with a purposeful melody that is full of good promise. Thousand Years of Oppression breaks free from the monotony with a change of pace towards a slower and more interesting and varied tempo. And closer ...And Soon The World Will Cease To Be introduces some life with a soulful melody.
And while none of the songs are bad or poorly delivered, Versus The World as a whole is as uninspired as its name suggests.
Johan Hegg - Vocals
Olavi Mikkonen - Guiar
Johan Goderberg - Guitar
Ted Lundstrom - Bass
Fredrik Andersson - Drums
Songlist (Ratings out of 10):
1. Death in Fire - 9
2. For the Stabwounds in our Backs - 7
3. Where Silent Gods Stand Guard - 7
4. vs. the World - 7
5. Across the Rainbow Bridge -7
6. Down the Slopes of Death - 7
7. Thousand Years of Oppression - 8
8. Bloodshed - 7
9. ...And Soon the World Will Cease To Be - 8
Produced by Amon Amarth and Berno Paulsson.
Engineered by Berno Paulsson.
Mixed and Mastered by Henrik Larsson.
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