Amon Amarth Announces Spring North American Tour Schedule

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Amon Amarth will make its way across America this spring in support of its latest full-length studio recording, Jomsviking.

The band announced this week it will embark on a spring headlining tour in support of the album beginning April 30 in Jacksonville Fla.  The currently 17-date tour will take the band into Louisiana following its opening performance in Jacksonville, Fla and a second date in Pensacola, Fla.  Goatw**** will serve as support at select dates on the tour.

After making its way to Louisiana, the band will head to Tennessee and North Carolina and then up the East Coast.  That stretch includes performances in Virginia, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.  Following the tour’s east coast leg, the band will play a series of dates in the Midwest from May 12 to May 21 to round out the tour.  The band’s current North American tour schedule is noted below.

Amon Amarth tour dates
w/ Goatwhore

Apr. 30 – Jacksonville, FL – Welcome to Rockville *
May 1 – Pensacola, FL – Vinyl
May 2 – Baton Rouge, LA – Varsity Theatre
May 4 – Memphis, TN – New Daisy Theatre
May 5 – Charlotte, NC – Carolina Rebellion *
May 6 – Richmond, VA – The National
May 8 – Philadelphia, PA – TLA
May 9 – New Haven, CT – College Street Music Hall
May 10 – Huntington, NY – The Paramount
May 12 – Grand Rapids, MI – 20 Monroe Live
May 13 – Chicago, IL – Dark Lord Day *
May 14 – Somerset, WI – Northern Invasion *
May 16 – Wichita, KS – The Cotillion
May 17 – Boulder, CO – Boulder Theatre
May 19 – Columbia, MO – The Blue Note
May 20 – Louisville, KY – Mercury Ballroom
May 21 – Columbus, OH – Rock on the Range *
*=Amon Amarth only

More information on Amon Amarth’s upcoming spring North American tour is available online now along with all of Amon Amarth’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.amonamarth.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OfficialAmonAmarth

Twitter: http://twitter.com/amonamarthband

 

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

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Armored Saint Fans Will Want To Get Their Hands On ‘Carpe Noctum’

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Metal Blade Records had quite a year in 2016, putting out impressive new recordings from Amon Amarth, Wovenwar, Artillery and a number of others.  One of the leading labels in the metal community, Metal Blade has wasted little time in 2017 getting things going.  It will open the new year late next month with the release of Armored Saint’s new live recording Carpe Noctum.  The eight-song, 38-minute recording isn’t necessarily a career-defining collection of songs, but is still impressive in its own right.  It is just one of the elements to note in examining the recording’s overall presentation.  The band’s stage presence is just as important to note in examining the recording’s presentation as its set list.  Considering that the recording will seemingly only be released on CD, its audio mix rounds out its most important elements.  Each element is important in its own right.  All things considered, Carpe Noctum proves to be a recording that Armored Saint fans new and old alike will appreciate.

Armored Saint’s latest live recording Carpe Noctum is a collection of live performances that fans new and old alike will appreciate.  The eight-song, 38-minute recording will be released in stores and online Feb. 24 via Metal Blade Records.  The main element to be examined in this recording is its set list.  The set list takes audiences all the way back to the band’s 1984 debut full-length album March of the Saint and all the way up to the band’s most recent album Win Hands Down (2015).  Along the way, three more of the band’s nine total albums are represented here.  The albums in question are its 1985 sophomore record Delirious Nomad, its 1991 album Symbol of Salvation and its 2010 record La Raza.  According to Metal Blade Records’ summary description of the set list, it appears the set list was pulled from Armored Saint’s set at the 2015 Wacken Open Air Festival and its headlining show at Aschaffenburg, Germany.  In other words, the set list presented here is not one complete concert, but seemingly a collection of performances from two separate concerts.  That would likely account for why the recording features such a limited number of songs in its defense.  This is a good thing in its own right, too.  That is because it provides audiences a more diverse representation of the band’s live show.  Again, fans new and old alike will appreciate this aspect of the recording.

Carpe Noctum’s 8-song, 38-minute set list is an important piece of the recording’s overall presentation.  That is because while not necessarily career-defining, it does at least present some highlights from the band’s extensive span of records.  It also provides audiences a relatively diverse representation of the band’s live show.  That is because it allegedly pulls from not one but two of the band’s live shows.  While the recording’s set list is clearly an important piece of its whole, it is only one of the pieces of the recording that should be considered in examining the recording’s overall presentation.  The band’s performance of said songs is just as important to note as the songs themselves.  Audiences will note in taking in these performances that the band’s members largely let their performances do the talking for them.  Since this recording is only available on CD, it is difficult to know if the songs presented here were presented in the same order as in the original performances.  There could have been some interaction with the audience between songs at those performances.  Again, that can’t be determined here.  That aside, the band members’ performances do plenty to keep listeners’ engaged.  Front man John Bush commands the stage with each performance, his pipes in prime condition.  Drummer Gonzo Sandoval keeps the band moving in each song with his solid time keeping.  The dual guitar approach of Phil Sandoval and Jeff Duncan adds even more depth to the band’s stage presence.  Of course one would be remiss to ignore bassist Joey Vera’s work on the low end.  Each band member’s performance in itself plays its own critical part to the whole of the performances. They cut through solidly throughout the recording, too.  Altogether, the band members’ performances prove to be just as enjoyable here as the concert’s set list itself.  One can’t help but hope Metal Blade Records will release the concert on DVD and/or Blu-ray, though.  One would be safe assuming those performances would hold even more significance when able to be seen and heard, and not just heard.  Even with that in mind, the band’s overall performances throughout the recording still proves to be just as important to the recording’s presentation as the sets’ featured songs.  While the band members’ performances prove to be just as important to the recording’s presentation as the recording’s featured set list, neither element would be worth discussing without mention of the concert’s audio mix.

The set list at the center of Armored Saint’s new live recording and the band’s performance thereof are both key pieces of the recording’s overall presentation.  That has already been discussed.  They are only a pair of the recording’s most important elements.  Its audio mix forms the recording’s foundation, especially considering that the recording is currently available only on CD.  Those responsible for the recording’s audio mix are to be given their due credit here.  That is because they expertly handled the situation presented in each setting.  The Wacken performances were open, outdoor performances.  This critic can’t say for certain if the band’s other featured performance was outdoor, too.  That aside, those behind the recording’s audio engineering expertly balanced each musician’s part.  No one part overpowered the others at any point throughout the recording.  What’s more, inside or out, audiences aren’t left feeling like they’re listening to a bootleg recording, either.  Believe it or not, there are some “professional” live recordings out there that do in fact sound more like bootlegs than professional recordings.  This recording is not in that category.  To that end, the balance of that element and the balance of the musicians’ own parts in each song proves the importance of the recording’s audio mix to its whole, too.  When that element is set alongside the concert’s set list and the band members’ equally entertaining performances, the whole of the recording proves to be a collection of live performances that Armored Saint fans old and new alike will appreciate.

Armored Saint’s upcoming live recording Carpe Noctum is a collection of live performances that fans new and old alike will appreciate.  That is due in part to its 8-song, 38-minute set list.  The set list isn’t necessarily a career-defining collection of performances.  It only pulls from five of the band’s nine total full-length studio recordings.  However, it does go all the way back to the band’s 1984 debut record and up to the band’s most recent album, 2015’s Win Hands Down.  The set list also allegedly pulls from not one but two of the band’s recent live shows.  The band’s performance of the featured songs is just as enjoyable as the songs themselves.  The audio engineering presented in the recording forms its foundation.  It balances each of the band members’ parts and handles the settings in which the performances were held just as expertly.  Each element is important to note in its own right, as has been noted.  All things considered, they show, once again, that this latest live recording from Armored Saint is a collection of live performances that Armed Saint fans old and new alike will appreciate.  It will be released Feb. 24 in stores and online via Metal Blade Records.  More information on Carpe Noctum is available online along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.armoredsaint.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thearmoredsaint

Twitter: http://twitter.com/thearmoredsaint

 

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Amon Amarth Conquers Phil’s Picks’ 2016 Top 10 New Hard Rock & Metal Albums List

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

The hard rock and metal community have collectively become a rather crowded field this year in terms of new albums.  It has made extremely difficult naming the year’s top new hard rock and metal records.  There have been that many outstanding records.  Metallica’s first album in eight years, HardwiredTo SelfDestruct is just one of the albums that has more than proven deserving of being on that list.  The same can be said of Amon Amarth’s latest offering, Jomsviking.  It is a rarity for the band, being a concept record.  The concept behind the record more than works.  And its musical arrangements work just as well.  On another note Prong, with its latest offering X No Absolutes has proven through its overall content (and sales) that it is another success for the band—and more specifically founder Tommy Victor, the band’s only original member.  So no doubt it belongs on the list of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums, too as do so many others.  It was not easy for this critic to assemble this year’s list of new hard rock and metal albums considering how many outstanding albums were released in that collective field.  But a decision had to be made.  That decision is presented below.

As a reminder, the list, as with each of Phil’s Picks year-ender lists, presents Phil’s Picks Top 10 picks for the year’s best plus five honorable mention titles for a total of 15 albums.  Honorable mention is not mean in a negative fashion by any means.  They were each deserving of being named to the year’s best.  It was just that tough assembling a list of the year’s best, so the final list ended as presented here.  Without any further ado, here is the Phil’s Picks 2016 Top 10 New Hard Rock and Metal Albums.

 

PHIL’S PICKS 2016 TOP 10 NEW HARD ROCK/METAL ALBUMS

 

  1. Amon AmarthJomsviking

 

  1. MetallicaHardwiredTo SelfDestruct

 

  1. All Hail The YetiScreams From A Black Wilderness

 

  1. NonpointThe Poison Red

 

  1. SpellcasterNight Hides The World

 

  1. WovenwarHonor is Dead

 

  1. ArtilleryPunishment By Perception

 

  1. ProngXNo Absolutes

 

  1. AnthraxFor All Kings

 

  1. DestrageA Means To No End

 

  1. WhitechapelMark of the Blade

 

  1. DevildriverTrust No One

 

  1. Oni – Ironshore

 

  1. Primal FearRulebreaker

 

  1. HatebreedThe Concrete Confesional

 

 

 

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Metal Blade Records Re-Issues Two Classic Amon Amarth Albums

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Amon Amarth has re-issued two of its classic albums.

The veteran Swedish metal outfit has re-issued its 1998 sophomore album Once Sent From The Golden Hall and its follow-up, 1999’s The Avenger.  Both albums have been made available on special separate European and American vinyl packages.

The American vinyl re-issue of Once Sent From the Golden Hall is pressed on 180-gram vinyl and is presented on Orange, transparent, and “Fire-splattered” pressing.  The orange and transparent pressings are limited to only 200 copies each.  The “Fire-splattered” pressing is limited to only 300 copies.

The album’s orange pressing is available as a Metal Blade USA exclusive while the transparent pressing is available via mail order and retail exclusive.  The “Fire-splattered” pressing is available exclusively through Euro ebay and Metal Blade USA.

The Avenger is available on 180-gram black, red, transparent and “Fire-splattered” pressing.  The red pressing is limited to only 200 copies and is available exclusively via Metal Blade USA while the transparent pressing is limited available via retail/mail order and is also limited to only 200 copies.  The album’s “Fire-splattered” pressing is limited to just 300 copies and is available via Euro ebay and Metal Blade USA.

The full details on each album’s U.S. re-issue is noted below.

 

USA versions:
Once Sent From The Golden Hall “Originals-Series” LP re-issue (USA)
–180 g black vinyl
–Orange vinyl (limited to 200 copies – Metal Blade USA exclusive)
–Transparent vinyl (limited to 200 copies – retail/mailorder exclusive)
–“Fire”-splattered vinyl (limited to 300 copies – Euro ebay and Metal Blade USA exclusive)

The Avenger “Originals-Series” LP re-issue (USA)
–180 g black vinyl
–Red vinyl (limited to 200 copies – Metal Blade USA exclusive)
–Transparent vinyl (limited to 200 copies – retail/mailorder exclusive)
–“Fire”-splattered vinyl (limited to 300 copies – Euro ebay and Metal Blade USA exclusive)

 

The details for the albums’ European vinyl re-issues is slightly different from their domestic re-issues.  Once Sent From The Golden Hall will be available in Europe on separate 180-gram black, Opaque-Orange-marbled, Khaki-marbled, and “Fire-splattered” pressings.

The Avenger will be available in Europe on separate 180-gram black, Opaque-blood red-marbled vinyl, steel-grey-marbled and “Fire-splattered” pressings.  The complete details on availability of each record’s re-issue are noted below.

 

European versions:
Once Sent From The Golden Hall “Originals-Series” LP re-issue (EU)
–180 g black vinyl
–Opague-orange-marbled vinyl (limited to 500 copies)
–Khaki-marbled vinyl (limited to 300 copies – EMP exclusive)
–“Fire”-splattered vinyl (limited to 300 copies – Euro ebay and Metal Blade USA exclusive)

The Avenger “Originals-Series” LP re-issue (EU)
–180 g black vinyl
–Opague-bloodred-marbled vinyl (limited to 500 copies)
–Steel-grey-marbled vinyl (limited to 300 copies – EMP exclusive)
–“Fire”-splattered vinyl (limited to 300 copies – Euro ebay and Metal Blade USA exclusive)

 

Metal Blade Records officials announced this week the company will re-issue all of the band’s albums chronologically in the near future.  A specially designed slipcase-box for the albums is available via EMP.  The box fits the band’s complete catalogue.

More information on Amon Amarth’s upcoming re-issues is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.amonamarth.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OfficialAmonAmarth

Twitter: http://twitter.com/amonamarthband

 

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

2017 Rock On The Range Festival Lineup Announced

Courtesy: Danny Wimmer Presents/AEG Live

Courtesy: Danny Wimmer Presents/AEG Live

The lineup for the 2017 Rock on the Range Festival has been announced, and once again it has proven to be quite the collection of acts.

The three-day festival will be headlined by Metallica, Soundgarden and Korn.  It will feature more than 50 bands over the course of that time along with some of the country’s top comics at the festival’s Rock on the Range Rolling Rock Comedy Tent.

The lineup for the 2017 Rock on the Range Festival includes: Metallica, Soundgarden, Korn, The Offspring, Volbeat, Primus, Bush, Chevelle, Papa Roach, Seether, Coheed & Cambria, Alter Bridge, The Pretty Reckless, Taking Back Sunday, Thrice, Amon Amarth, Pierce The Veil, Sum 41, Skillet, Dillinger Escape Plan, In Flames, Gojira, Biffy Clyro, Motionless In White, Nothing More, Beartooth, Starset, Every Time I Die, The Story So Far, Deafheaven, Zakk Sabbath, Rival Sons, The Amity Affliction, Attila, Norma Jean, Suicide Silence, Whitechapel, I Prevail, Turnstile, Dinosaur Pile-Up, Red Fang, Dorothy, Kyng, Radkey, As Lions, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Sylar, Fire From The Gods, Badflower, Wage War, Goodbye June, Cover Your Tracks, DED, Bleeker, Royal Republic, Mother Feather, Aeges and One Less Reason.

Rock on the Range—fueled by Monster Energy—is billed as America’s largest and most acclaimed rock festival.  The festival will also feature in 2017 “The Music Experience,” art installations, and unique on-site activities over the course of the festival’s three days.

Tickets for the 2016 festival sold out more than two months in advance of the festival.  It marked the fourth consecutive year the festival has sold out in advance.

Weekend Field, new Weekend Field VIP, Weekend Stadium and a limited number of Weekend Stadium 4-packs are available now for purchase.  A layaway option is also available for concert-goers.  That option allows audiences to split the cost of their ticket/ticket packages into four separate monthly payments.

Fans can get a pre-sale password for Weekend Field VIP, Weekend Field GA, Weekend Stadium GA and Weekend Stadium GA 4-packs on the official Rock on the Range website, Facebook page and Twitter page.  The ticket prices are listed below.

 

  • Weekend Field VIP: starting at $349.50* + fees
  • Weekend Field GA: starting at $199.50* + fees
  • Weekend Stadium GA: starting at $99.50* + fees
  • Weekend Stadium GA Ticket 4-Pack: $380.00 + fees
  • * Phase One prices listed
  • *** Ticket prices automatically move to the next price level once the allotment sells out ***

General on-sale for tickets is Friday, Dec. 2 at 10 a.m. EST.  Tickets will be available online at the festival’s website, at Ticketmaster locations and the MAPFRE Stadium box office.

Audiences who want an even more special concert experience can purchase the new Uber Ranger Camping Package.  The package includes amenities for four people such as luxury RV on a double campsite at the Ohio Expo North Campground (May 18 – 21), a dedicated concierge with golf cart shuttle, 4 Weekend VIP Field Admission Tickets, a backstage tour, access to the stadium club (with catered lunch and dinner), access to the Side Stage Viewing Platform, access to the VIP Lounge and more.  More information on the new Uber Ranger Camping Package is available here.

Rock on The Range celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2016.  More than 120,000 people attended the festival from around the world.  As part of its 10th anniversary celebration, Columbus, OH mayor Andrew J. Ginther and the Columbus, OH city council presented festival organizers with awards of recognition.  A resolution was also announced from the Franklin County Board of Commissioners acknowledging the festival’s economic impact on the city.

The commissioners pointed out in their resolution pointed out the festival brought in more than $140 million for the city over the course of its ten years in the city.

Rock on the Range is produced by Danny Wimmer Presents, AEG Live and MAPFRE Stadium.  It is supported by Monster Energy, Bud Light and Zippo.  They and other partners will feature interactive experiences, meet & greets, and other special fan engagement opportunities throughout the festival.

More information on the 2017 Rock on the Range Festival is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.RockontheRange.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/rockontherange

Twitter: http://twitter.com/rockontherange

 

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep  up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Suicidal Tendencies Added To Ozzfest Meets Knotfest Lineup

Courtesy:  Adrenaline PR

Courtesy: Adrenaline PR

Organizers with the 2016 Ozzfest Meets Knotfest have added another band to the mega-festival’s lineup.

Veteran hard rock band Suicidal Tendencies has been added to the lineup for the inaugural Ozzfest Meets Knotfest.  It marks the first time that the band has ever taken the stage at Ozzfest in any capacity.  The band will take the place of Children of Bodom, which was originally scheduled to perform on the first day of the double-header festival. The updated lineup for the festival is noted below. Audiences will note that there is even a stage dedicated to late Motorhead front man Lemmy Kilmister at this year’s festival.

 

OZZFEST Line-up

Saturday, September 24

 

MAIN STAGE:  Black Sabbath, Disturbed, Megadeth, Opeth, Black Label Society, and Rival Sons.

LEMMY STAGE:  Suicidal Tendencies, Hatebreed, DevilDriver, Goatwhore, Huntress, and Dead Cross.

NUCLEAR BLAST STAGE: Municipal Waste, Kataklysm, Nails, The Shrine, and Still Rebel.

KNOTFEST Line-up

Sunday, September 25

 

MAIN STAGE:  Slipknot, Slayer, Amon Amarth, Anthrax, and Trivium.

LEMMY STAGE:  Sabaton, Suicide Silence, Overkill, Emmure, Butcher Babies, and Man with A Mission.

NUCLEAR BLAST STAGE:  Whitechapel, Combichrist, Carnifex, Loathe, SIM, and ONI.

 

Ozzfest Meets Knotfest is currently scheduled to be held Saturday, September 24th and Sunday, September 25th at San Manuel Amphitheater and Festival Grounds in San Bernardino California.  As a special holiday celebration, fans can purchase single 4-day ticket packs for $84.  The limited-time special is going on now and ends July 4th at 11:59pm PT.  Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.ozzfest.com and http://www.knotfest.com.  More information on the inaugural Ozzfest Meets Knotfest is available online at:

 

 

OZZFEST

 

Website: http://www.Ozzfest.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ozzfestofficial

Twitter: http://twitter.com/theozzfest

 

 

 

KNOTFEST

 

Website: http://www.knotfest.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/KNOTFEST

Twitter: http://twitter.com/knotfest

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Jomsviking Is A Dominating New Effort From Amon Amarth

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

The day is here and the wait is finally over.  A little less than three years after the release of its 2013 album Deceiver of the Gods Amon Amarth has returned with its latest full-length studio recording Jomsviking.  The band’s tenth full-length studio recording, it is also the band’s first ever concept album.  Considering Amon Amarth’s history one can only ask how the band could possibly make a concept album, let alone one that works.  The fact of the matter is that the band has done just that and has succeeded at doing so for that matter.  The main reason for that is the story that the band crafted for the album.  It lies at the center of the album’s presentation.  While it is a purely fictional story, there is in fact some history behind it that will interest listeners as much as the story.  It is just one of the album’s most important elements.  The music that serves as the album’s foundation is just as important to the album’s presentation as its story.  Rounding out the album’s most important elements are the story’s transitions.  Each element is important in its own way to the whole of this powerful new offering from the veteran “Viking Metal” act.  All things considered, the album has officially made this year’s field of new hard rock and metal albums all the deeper and richer.  Regardless of listeners’ familiarity with the Swedish metal band’s body of work, Jomsviking proves to be a good addition to any metal aficionado’s music library.

Amon Amarth’s latest full-length studio recording Jomsviking is a good addition to any metal aficionado’s music library.  This is regardless of said listeners’ familiarity with the veteran Swedish metal band’s body of work.  This is proven centrally through the album’s story.  Jomsviking marks the first time ever that Amon Amarth has crafted a concept album in its almost twenty-five year run.  One might not think that a concept album about vikings, love, loss, and revenge would work.  But this record proves otherwise over the course of its eleven songs and fifty-two minutes.  It is hardly the happiest story.  But as frontman Johan Hegg explained in an interview, he likes stories with sad endings because “they’re the ones that affect you the most.”  Hegg has a point considering that some of Shakespeare’s greatest works were tragedies (E.g. Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth, Julius Ceasar).  Hegg explains of the story’s background that it centers on a young man that has lost the woman that he loves because she is being married off to another man.  He ends up accidentally killing the man in question and in turn is forced to leave his land.  The story that follows is one that honestly plays out like a Shakespearean tragedy believe it or not, thus making it well worth the experience.  It’s just one aspect of the story that makes it so worth the listen.  The story is actually based on the well-known Viking mercenaries known as Jomsvikings.  The Jomsvikings were pagans that worshipped the Norse gods, and basically fought for anyone that paid the right price.  The thing is that the Jomsvikings’ headquarters has never officially been found.  Because of this, confirming their overall history has been difficult.  Regardless of fact or fiction, that the band would craft a story based on such a well-known group of figures is in itself impressive.  That the band would craft a story that is so vivid and in turn engaging makes the story even more important to the album’s overall presentation.  It is just one element that proves the album’s value to any metal aficionado’s music library.  The album’s musical content is just as important to its presentation as its story.

The story that lies at the center of Jomsviking is in itself an important part of the album’s presentation.  That is because on one level it is historically based (at least to a point).  That in itself could lead listeners on their search into the history behind the album’s story.  On another level the story itself is a vivid tale that is so rich in its crafting that seeing its events unfold in one’s own mind is extremely simple.  It’s like a story that came from the mind of a major blockbuster screen writer.  Speaking of that a clear reason that it comes across as vividly as a major motion picture is the album’s musical foundation.  Guitarist Olavi Mikkonen discussed just that in the band’s interview.  Mikkonen went so far as to say of the album’s music that crafting the album’s songs is “basically making music for a movie.”  “You have to follow certain moods and we had to figure out where we needed the aggressive songs or the more mellow or sad moments,” he said of developing the album’s musical foundation.  “And then we had to find the right ideas for that.”  He went on in his discussion to note the amount of fun that the band had in balancing everything in terms of the album’s music.  The band got each of the moods right from beginning to end.  There are familiar elements incorporated into the album’s body along with some metalcore riffs as well as some speed/thrash material, too.  Those elements, when set alongside Hegg’s vocal delivery and the attention to each song’s mood, make a musical foundation that holds its own from start to finish even without the album’s story.  The album’s story set atop that foundation makes the album all the more worth hearing and worth the addition to any fan’s music library.  Even with both elements taken into consideration they are not the only important parts of the album’s whole.  The story’s transitions are just as important as anything else in this record.

That story that sits at the center of Jomsviking and its musical content are both key elements of this tenth full-length studio recording from one of the metal community’s most respected acts.  While both elements are pivotal in their own way to the album’s presentation they are not the only elements that should be noted in examining this record.  The story’s transitions are just as important as the story and its musical foundation.  The transitions may not seem important to the story.  But since the album does center on a full-length story, its transitions are in fact more important that people want to think.  The reason that they are so important to the album is the way in which they were executed.  So many concept albums out there have clear transitions in their stories.  That is a given.  But at the same time, those transitions are rather fluid to say the least.  In other words there is no real division between the stories’ “chapters” so to speak.  Everything runs together in those stories.  In the case of Jomsviking the band has clearly separated each of the story’s chapters from one another over the course of its eleven tracks.  What this does is ensure listeners’ engagement from beginning to end.  That is because it gives listeners the chance to stop and catch their breath and make sure that they understood the events of each of the story’s chapters.  Given Jomsviking isn’t the only concept album to take this approach in its storytelling.  Even with this in mind the fact that the band has done so with its first ever concept album shows why it is so important.  It is a very wise way to keep the story progressing while keeping listeners engaged at the same time.  That smart writing style works alongside the album’s musical content and the album’s central story to make the album in whole not just another impressive record from Amon Amarth but also another clear candidate for any critic’s list of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums in an already very crowded field.

Amon Amarth’s latest full-length studio recording is one of the best concept albums to be released within the rock and metal communities in many years.  That is because on the surface, it presents a story unlike any presented by any other band in said communities.  It takes the band’s familiar Viking themes and made them into one complete story that plays out so richly and vividly that listeners can clearly see each scene play out in their own minds.  It’s like something right out of a major big screen blockbuster.  And considering how dark and gritty so many of today’s movies are, it would potentially even fit in very nicely.  Just a thought for the band should any of its members read this review.  The music that serves as the story’s foundation is just as important to the album’s overall presentation.  The story’s transitions round out its presentation.  Unlike so many other concept albums out there, the band didn’t just string all of the story’s songs together in one long presentation.  Rather, the story is broken up into distinct “chapters” separate of one another.  Again, Amon Amarth is not the first band to take this smarter route with a concept album.  But at the same time considering the number of concept albums that don’t take that route.  Thankfully Amon Amarth is one of the band’s that opted against that route.  Because of that it ensures the maintained engagement of listeners regardless of their familiarity with the band’s body of work.  And regardless of that familiarity listeners in whole will come out of this record agreeing that, again, it is one that every metal fan should have in his or her own music library.  Those same listeners will also agree that it is one more candidate for a spot in what is an already crowded field of albums deserving of a spot in 2016’s list of the year’s best new hard rock and metal albums.  It is available now in stores and online.  The band is currently touring in support of Jomsviking.  The band is live today in Berlin, Germany.  It is the last date on the current European leg of the band’s tour in support of Jomsviking.  The band will launch the North American leg of its tour on Thursday, April 7th in San Diego, California.  More information on Jomsviking and Amon Amarth’s upcoming tour schedule at:

 

 

Website: http://www.amonamarth.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OfficialAmonAmarth

Twitter: http://twitter.com/amonamarthband

 

 

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