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Amon Amarth - Once Sent from the Golden Hall

1998 Metal Blade Records :: Reviewed by rofreason on 2005-06-30

I've been listening to this album for quite a while now, and over time it continues to grow on me more and more. I liked Sorrow Throughout the Nine Worlds, but it seemed to suffer from the comparisons that are always drawn between the multitude of bands from this area. I mentioned that the last couple songs on that E.P. showed some real promise, and here it is realized! This album just rages! It's so intense that one of the band members got lost between the front and back cover! Seriously though, Once Sent... has everything required to be great, pummeling beats, muscular death vocals, ripping guitar melodies, it's in there... Drumming is spot on, much more double bass intensive and creative to boot. The guitarwork is just phenomenal, going from power riffing to melody to really nice lead spots. Vocals are more in the "Gothenburg" sound, pretty similar to Jester Race era In Flames (to my ears). Amon Amarth have also bypassed the repitition factor nicely, keeping things pretty fresh by mixing tempos and feel thoughout. Lyrics are pretty standard viking metal, from what I can hear, but this fits the atmosphere well, and with the incorporation of sampled swordplay, you can feel the agony of the battlefield. It is a rare album that evokes real emotion, and this happens to be one of them. There is a real element of despair that permeates this release. All in all, a release that is worthy to stand on it's own merits, hopefully leaving the inevitable comparisons to lesser bands that have jumped on the wagon. Might be a contender for a top ten in 98!