With oden on our side is amon amarths second best album next to twilight of the thunder god. It holds some od the most powerful songs of the band to date withs songs like runes to my memory and hermods ride to hel. It is on this album that amon amarth truly scale up and sing about the epics of the viking culture and bring forwards their myths legends and storys. The quality of the cd is truly great sound levels are all perfect and the case itself is very nice. It features a picture of odins eight legged horse sleipner and has the words amon amarth and with oden on our side written in traditional viking language. the album is about 45 minutes long if you listen from one song to the next continuesly and has a great replay value if you like this style of music you will listen to it over and over again.
With a quick glance at the runic lettering you may be forgiven for thinking this was an album for the incontinent called "With Odour on Our Side".. Oden not Odour though! Oden the most important Scandanavian god of warfare, wisdom, poetry and artistry has an important part to play in this album as these are the lyrical content supports these subjects.
This album was Amon Amarth's 10th album, released in 2006 on the Metal Blade label. The album was said to have a heavier sound than it's predecessor so I was a bit surprised to listen to the melodic first track which never really seemed to get going and lacked substance a bit despite being a reasonable number. The album grew in heaviness and whilst the melodical riffs were catchy, I thought that the band played it rather safe and that there was very little in the way of outstandingly creative material on this album.
The Swedes opt for a more chilled out Children of Bodom sound that can and is achieved by numerous Scandanavian bands that never even make it big. Viking metal this is not, it's musically too soft and dreamy without conviction or full-throttle energy and yet it will not appeal to mainstream fans due to the harsh sounding vocals.
1. "Valhall Awaits Me" - 4:44
2. "Runes To My Memory" - 4:33
3. "Asator" - 3:04
4. "Hermod's Ride To Hel - Loke's Treachery Part 1" - 4:41
5. "Gods Of War Arise" - 6:03
6. "With Oden On Our Side" - 4:35
7. "Cry Of The Black Birds" - 3:50
8. "Under The Northern Star" - 4:17
9. "Prediction Of Warfare" - 6:37
I only know the albums Once Sent From The Golden Hall and THe Crusher by the Swedes Amon Amarth, but I have been liking this latest work of them the most since its release. The lyrics are dealing again with the issue of Vikings and the associated battles, myths etc. The music is the usual Melodic Death Metal, which already goes strongly in the Death Metal direction.
Alone the starting track 'Valhall Awaits Me' is pretty good and a rather hard opening. Especially the chorus invites to bellow along with the lyrics. This level of 'Valhall Awaits Me' can be kept very well with another great song called 'Runes To My Memory'. The song is again about a battle and about a man who is dying and wants a stone raised for his memory, so the title.
Another big track on the album is 'Hermods Ride To Hel - Lokes Treachery Part 1', which is not built like the usual strophe-chorus -strophe pattern of Amon Amarth and it's a pretty good mid-tempo-rocker.
But probably the best song on With Oden On Our Side is 'Cry Of The Black Bird'.
If you can manage it to get a limited edition of the album you will be rewarded with a bonus cd, which though only includes some live songs and a few demo songs, nothing special. But there's also a pretty cool Amon Amarth bottle opener in it.
Well, this review is not very long, but I think there is no need to write very long about an album like this.
When Amon Amarth released their long-awaited follow-up to the disappointing 'Fate of Norns,' publicity had raised hopes of a return to the glory of their early days, a conscious breaking away from the niche they had unfortunately forged for themselves as an increasingly dull, repetitive and unoriginal melodic death metal band whose Viking concept was becoming ever more stretched. Sadly, the seal remains unbroken, and 'With Oden on Our Side' is the least compelling Amon Amarth album yet.
The greatest disappointment here is that not only has Amon Amarth lost the energy and spirit of their earlier releases, but now they've even started to lose their distinctive sound as well, with around half the songs on this album sounding like good but generic melodic death metal that could have sprung from any Swedish band, with songs like 'Asator' in particular sounding more like modern Dark Tranquillity. Amon Amarth does need to progress its sound to avoid becoming stale and unpopular, but blending into the scenery and losing their once distinctive touch can't be a good thing, particularly as the world doesn't need another bog-standard Dark Tranquillity clone right now.
Despite apparent claims to the contrary (though maybe I just imagined it), this album is grounded in the same slow- to medium-speed as its predecessor, and its finest moments only manage to measure up to the best of 'Fate of Norns' rather than surpass it, as I had hoped. The title track 'With Oden on Our Side' inaugurates a better second half of the album after the mostly forgettable first, taking on the same warbled guitar tone Amon Amarth are famous for but never really coming up with a memorable guitar riff to match, and 'Cry of the Black Birds' is probably the best offering here for embracing the gradual rhythm and turning it into a successfully evocative battle narrative complete with a traditional heavy metal gallop that's always helpful in visualising a war scene. Unfortunately, it's this same reliance on old-school tricks that makes the more melodic songs like 'Under the Northern Star' sound distinctly un-like the usual darker tone of this band, and more like a bland Iron Maiden forgery with a hoarse throat.
With the guitars all but written off here, and the bass oddly lacking the presence it had in the previous album, it's Fredrik Andersson's drums that are the album's only real saving grace, making the most of the slowed pace and avoiding the usual death metal curse of hammering double bass drums to maintain a fast rhythm. It's only the drums that carry off attempted epics like 'Hermod's Ride to Hell,' ambitiously sub-titled 'Loke's Treachery Part 1,' which is otherwise a really boring narrative song that may be lyrically compelling, but is crying out for a more energetic and mostly instrumental second half that I hope will be provided on the next album. Even the more standard fare of 'Valhall Awaits Me' and 'Gods of War Arise' lack the power of old Amon Amarth, and attempts to remedy this through blaring, tuneless power chords only increase the band's camouflage as a melodic death imitator, rather than one of its most prestigious fathers. Last and least, 'Prediction of Warfare' is just depressingly mediocre.
Amon Amarth had already slipped with their previous album, but this failed return to form may indicate that their golden age really is behind them. There isn't even the excuse that they may be striving for a more epic Viking sound, as the Dark Tranquillity and Iron Maiden elements contradict that goal - and besides, then they'd just be another Swedish Viking metal band in the style of Månegarm, but not as good. Amon Amarth's gradual fall from grace may be an appropriate parallel to the historical demise of Viking civilisation, but I wouldn't know about that. I just like the Vikings' metal.
1. Valhall Awaits Me
2. Runes to My Memory
4. Hermod's Ride to Hell (Loke's Treachery Part 1)
5. Gods of War Arise
6. With Oden on Our Side
7. Cry of the Black Birds
8. Under the Northern Star
9. Prediction of Warfare
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Valhall Awaits Me
2 Runes To My Memory
4 Hermod's Ride To Hell
5 Gods Of War Arise
6 With Oden On Our Side
7 Cry Of The Black Birds
8 Cry Of The Blackbirds
9 Under The Northern Star
10 Prediction Of Warfare