Deceiver of the Gods is the ninth album from Swedish melodic death metallers Amon Amarth, and after the relatively experimental flavour of previous album Surtur Rising sees the band returning to a more simplistic approach with an album that bursts out of the speakers with a furious energy more akin to their earlier output.
The opening title track certainly lays down a gauntlet that the rest of the album has no trouble in picking up and running with. All thick thrashy riffs and pummelling drums ‘Deceiver Of The Gods’ takes no prisoners as it charges out of the speakers like a Viking invasion, only to be usurped in the banging metal stakes by ‘As Loke Falls’. An Iron Maiden-esque guitar line underpins the rollicking riff of the verse as vocalist Johan Hegg barks like a madman with some of his strongest vocals to date. It’s an intense and joyously melodic song that in many other bands hands would represent an early peak that may be as good as the album gets but there’s more to come.
‘Under Siege’ hits a mid-album high with an angry mix of folky melody and death metal dynamics that could easily have veered into the realms of overly-accessible and – gasp! – commercial (for a band like Amon Amarth) territory but the band keep a tight rein on those melodies and maintain their extreme metal edge. Following track ‘Blood Eagle’ hammers it home by opening with the sound of somebody being bludgeoned before exploding into a barrage of kick and snare drums that threaten to take your head off. It may be the album’s shortest track but it’s also the most furious.
Former Candlemass singer Messiah Marcolin joins the band for ‘Hel’, a mid-paced and doomier slab of metal that has some effective backing chants before ‘Coming Of The Tide’ and ‘Warriors Of The North’ close the album in fittingly brutal and epic fashion, ending as it began. Deceiver Of The Gods certainly delivers with some crushingly melodic death metal and focuses a lot more on the immediacy of the songs than Surtur Rising did, making it both heavy and accessible and excellent from beginning to end.