Amon Amarth

As with most genre-blending acts, purveyors of melodic death metal usually lean toward one camp or the other. This tendency has odd results, frequently leaving such bands stranded between scenes, with neither the New Wave of British Heavy Metal revivalists nor the die-hard Death dealers willing to fully embrace them. Of course, this has become increasingly immaterial, with a scene coalescing around the sound's roots in Gothenburg, Sweden, and branching out to encompass much of the frigid north. For those keeping score, though, Amon Amarth owes a bit more fealty to Ozzy Osbourne than to Chuck Schuldiner. With a stripped-down approach to songcraft and arrangement, the five Swedes manage a focused assault without being punishing — it's about as lovely as Viking war songs and cookie-monster vocals can be. The band's most direct connection to death metal is, well, most of its songs are about death and violence. Even there, though, Amarth serves as a side-step from genre fixation; as Pitchfork reviewer Cosmo Lee said last year, "Even its songs about death are stirring — think Valhalla, not hell."
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Nicholas L. Hall is a husband and father who earns his keep playing a video game that controls the U.S. power grid. He also writes for the Houston Press about food, booze and music, in an attempt to keep the demons at bay. When he's not busy keeping your lights on, he can usually be found making various messes in the kitchen, with apologies to his wife.
Contact: Nicholas L. Hall