I have to say that the Swedes never disappointed me before. Even if the scourge of true metal warriors continues to deprecate them year after year, personally I enjoyed every one of their releases. But this is the time when things changed suddenly. I should explain.
This album gives me the impression that they had to release it because it was in their contract. Most of the compositions seem pretty simple. Without the big surprise, without many distinctive parts, without the songs that will give you right away the feeling that they will become classics. I mean, listening to the main riff of “Crack The Sky” that is clearly a rip-off of the one in “Varyags Of Miklagaard” I can’t stop but thinking: did they did it on purpose or their inspiration is long gone?
Of course, there are times that the band gives us memorable compositions, but there are only a few. “Raven’s Flight” is one of them, the first single of the album, and I think this was to create the necessary hype because it may be the best song in it. Very good also are “Shield Wall” (you hear it and know that it will be a live dynamite), the epic feeling of “Valkyria” and maybe the very melodic and mid-tempo “The Berserker At Stamford Bridge” (dedicated to Sturridge?) and “When Once Again We Can Set Our Sails”.
After listening to it for many times, I reached to the conclusion that this is a mediocrity. Amon Amarth can write songs like these just for fun, but the point is not to release something because they have to, but something that will stand out and will be worthy of the other ten that came before. I don’t know if “Berserker” is the beginning of the fall or a parenthesis in a back catalogue with excellent releases. I really hope for the second.