Amon Amarth- The Crusher
Band Homeland- Sweden
Released in 2001 on Metal Blade Records, this is the 4th (available) release by the true kings of Sweden. Admittedly, when I first heard it, I was not very impressed. I stand corrected on that initial impression.
I know I have spoken with a few of you about this album, and how I found it lacking when compared to their earlier releases. But I have come to understand why that was, and now after repeated listening, I can honestly say that “The Crusher” stands tall and proud along side any of their other works.
When I first heard it, I was playing “The Avenger” constantly. This is where I made an unfair comparison. For while “The Crusher” is brutal in it’s own right, it does not have the explosive introduction that “The Avenger” does (Bleed For Ancient Gods) and I guess I was expecting the same face ripping massacre that I was listening to daily. I didn’t hear any “hooks”, no songs that just grabbed me by the throat, shook me senseless, and then slammed my body on the ground before cleaving my skull with an axe. To compound this, Amon Amarth also do a cover of Possessed’s “Eyes Of Horror” which is one of the worst Metal songs I have ever heard. I was not happy.
But many plays and months later (I actually came to this realization about a week before I went to see Amon Amarth in Montreal, but I’m just now getting to writing this review) I realized that “The Crusher” was more along the lines of “Once Sent From The Golden Hall” and that “The Avenger” was probably their “Reign In Blood” album. It need not be repeated, as it has now been done. “The Crusher” is slower, but does not lack one ounce of bone crushing heaviness. If anything, the slower speeds allow for more creativity, while still carrying on with mighty (and should be trademarked) Amon Amarth sound. It doesn’t matter what song you pick, or where in the song you start playing, Amon Amarth sounds like Amon Amarth.
Now understand, when I say “speed” I mean overall tempo of the main body of the song. Fredrik still hammers out the most incredible blasts of doublekick; Olavi and Johan S. still blaze with single-string technicality, Ted still pounds out relentless bass lines, and Johan H. still dominates the Metal world with some of the best vocals I’ve had the immense pleasure of hearing. But honestly, this album is slower. Or at least it seems like it to me.
I said earlier that there were no instant “stand out” songs, and that was true. But that has changed, I assure you. In fact, my “Top 5 fave Amon Amarth songs of all time” list has changed in the last month because of “The Crusher”. It now includes “Annihilation of Hammerfest”, a slower but bone-jarring tune about some silly people who tried to keep Mjolner from Thor. Other moving moments on “The Crusher” come in the form of “The Sound Of Eight Hooves” and “Releasing Surtur’s Fire”. Those are my top 3 picks from the album, in that order.
And once again, Amon Amarth touches the heart of my faith. With songs like “Annihilation of Hammerfest”, “The Sound Of Eight Hooves” and “Bastards Of A Lying Breed”, I am reminded that Amon Amarth is so much more than just a band that plays kick ass Metal. And now that I have seen the mighty Vikings in concert, I can assure you, they really mean it.
I am glad that I waited to review this album. Much like Emperor’s “P-TDoF&D” and Vintersorg’s “Cosmic Genisis”, Amon Amarth’s “The Crusher” took some time to grow on me. But grow it has.
All Hail Amon Amarth
1. Bastards Of A Lying Breed