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TRACK LIST: 1. Death In Fire 4:54 2. For the Scabwounds In Our Backs 4:56 3. Where Silent Gods Stand Guard 5:46 4. Versus the World 5:22 5. Across the Rainbow Bridge 4:51 6. Down the Slopes of Death 4:08 7. Thousand Years of Oppression 5:42 8. Bloodshed 5:13 9. And Soon the World Will Cease to Be 6:57 All tracks: by Amon Amarth. LINE-UP: Johan Hegg - vocals Olli Mikkonen - guitar Johan Soderberg - guitar Ted Lindstrom - bass Fredrik Andersson - drums Produced by Amon Amarth & Berno. Engineered by Berno & Henrik at "Berno" st., Malmo, Sweden.
Prolusion. "Versus the World" is the fourth full-length album by Sweden's Amon Amarth. The band's previous albums: "Once Sent From the Golden Hall", "The Avenger", and "The Crusher" were released in 1997, 1999, and 2001 respectively (all by Metal Blade, too).
Synopsis. All nine of the songs on "Versus the World" (no instrumentals here) are of a unified stylistics representing a melodic Death Metal with elements of Thrash and Black Metal, the latter of which are evident mostly in vocals. Being a chameleon, Johan Hegg uses both of the Death and Black vocals 'related' registers of his voice, though all the sorts of Johan's singing are relatively soft, and most of the lyrics here are comprehensible. Compositionally, the music on "Versus the World" is hardly progressive (or even proto-progressive) and is as accessible as most of the works of traditional Hard Rock, for instance. With the exception of a couple of tracks, to which I'll return to a bit later, all of the songs here were composed by quite a simple scheme representing the alternation of couplets, refrains, and instrumental parts with the bright guitar solos. Furthermore, this album isn't that rich in genuine (magnetic) energy, which often happens when 'Mistress Melody' trespasses on the domain of Extreme Metal (any true Metal though) and rules there. There are only two songs on the album, the contents of which are more or less diverse: Across the Rainbow Bridge and Soon the World Will Cease to Be (5 & 9). The first of them features the nice interplay between passages of semi-acoustic guitar and solos of bass and elements of guitar-based Art-Rock, and the latter the more or less large-scaled instrumental arrangements of a dramatically epic character.
Conclusion. Although I haven't heard any of the previous albums by Amon Amarth, I am almost sure that the band had certain commercial purposes while working on "Versus the World". Indeed, this album has quite a solid commercial potential, which though, concerns the department of demand parameter rather than that of quality performance. In my view, "Versus the World" is the weakest Extreme Metal album released by Metal Blade for the last year. As for the best one, this is (IMHO) > "Front Toward Enemy" byThe Fallen.
VM: April 29, 2003
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