Some folks will claim that the revealing of album art isn't really news. If the art is for an album I'm anxiously anticipating, you can bet your battleaxe it's newsworthy to me. But then again, perhaps I'm alone in my superstition that an album's cover is a harbinger of its quality.
When the band in question is Amon Amarth, the question of cover art is another thing altogether. Amon Amarth's academic obsession with Norse mythology speaks directly to my inner nerd, stoking some deep desire to don armor and storm across Bifröst. Starting with the landmark Fate of Norns, Amon Amarth's album covers graduated from abstract Viking imagery to integrate more closely with the mythological matters at hand.
When Surtur Rising was announced, I had to dig back into my Norse literature (Kevin Crossley-Holland's "The Norse Myths" is a personal favorite) to get the dish on the album's titular jötunn. True to form, the album cover depicts the giant, carrying the flaming sword he'll wield in battle against the gods of Asgard at Ragnarök. It's foretold that the fire he bears will consume the earth when the battle concludes. Sounds perfect to me.
Amon Amarth's music has the power to turn off all intelligent function in my brain and replace it with a raging desire to destroy. Alcohol has a synergistic effect on this inhuman state. Anyone who has seen the band live can attest to their ability to turn a room of people into a slobbering mass of berserker beasts.
At this point, Amon Amarth's martial, semi-melodic brand of death metal is foolproof. These guys can churn out infectious, neck-snapping riffs in their sleep. I have no doubt the band will continue the streak of excellent songwriting they've been riding for almost a decade. I'm dying to get my hands on Surtur Rising, and I can assure you the gorgeous album art stokes that rabid anticipation. If nothing else I'm jealous of the Metal Injection folks packing up for the 70000 Tons Of Metal cruise next week, where Amon Amarth will perform.
Below is the track listing for Surtur Rising:
01. War of the Gods
02. Töck’s Taunt – Loke’s Treachery Part II
03. Destroyer of the Universe
04. Slaves of Fear
05. Live Without Regrets
06. The Last Stand of Frej
07. For Victory or Death
08. Wrath of the Norsemen
09. A Beast Am I
10. Doom Over Dead Man