Jomsviking, by Amon Amarth
Suggested by Noli-Rose Nikitaki
Recently, it’s been discovered that being a “Viking” is not, in fact, a matter of heredity. Rather, it’s a job description.
Apparently, DNA evidence points to Viking raids radiating across Europe from their Scandinavian homeland, where a plethora of non-Scandi Dandies took up the way of the Longship and Horn. In a way, a raiding party was an early form of recruitment drive. That’s right, folks, you too could pillage and burn!
Another amusing Viking aside is the theory that your stereotypical Viking abducted women from far-off lands as they were unable to attract a mate back home. With the higher echelons of Scandi society being male-centric polyamorous, with the Top Brass taking multiple wives. This leaves the ugly, horny beta males, who promptly hop in a longship and go kidnap a wench from across the sea.
Vikings… less your bearded alpha warrior, more your pan-faced Incel teenager.
Amon Amarth claim they are Melodic Death Metal, and not Viking Metal. That’s a claim that may bear weight musically, but thematically this album is 100% Pure Viking. Jomsviking is a concept album that centres on a young man in love with a girl who’s pledged to another. He kills a man, accidentally of course, and flees, but not before vowing to have revenge and win her back.
Is this young man a Viking? I dunno. I’ll list some song titles, see what you think.
On a Sea of Blood. Raise Your Horns. One Thousand Burning Arrows. Back on Northern Shores. The Way of Vikings.
Hmm… Jury is still out, your honour.
Musically, there is indeed melody in this death metal. The sound seems more power metal than the mathy grind of Death, but the vocals are pure growl, like a rasping saw or a farting shirehorse. As usual, it sounds absolutely ridiculous, but this time it’s at odds with the much more approachable symphonic style that’s on offer. Nowhere is this more apparent than in my standout song, Raise Your Horns. In an eminently anthemic chorus, replete with chantable lyrics such as “Raise your horns for brave fallen friends / We will meet where the beer never ends”, the comical growl is hugely out of step. The band foxtrots while the singer moonwalks.
This Viking Furry Cosplay is Serious Business. The songs are huge, the lyrics are deep, the tone is dark, and the mood is sombre. I give Jomsviking 5/10. Crack a smile, Amon Amarth. Put down the axe and have a bloody biscuit.