Amon Amarth - Once Sent From the Golden Hall LP (Black vinyl)
The only word to describe this album is EPIC. This is what we have since come to expect from Vikings Amon Amarth, though this stunning debut is still hailed by many (including me) as their best.
Production wise, it sounds exactly how it should - magnificent melodies on the guitars, thundering drums and of course the ripping, triumphant, screaming vocals. Most of the music on the album is based around the same sort of rhythm, to which I can easily imagine Nordic longboats battling across dark stormy seas. It is therefore the less frequent grooving war-march sections, the odd melancholy solo and the well-placed samples (such as tolling bells and swordfights) that really add spice to the album, making it nothing less than a wild ride!
Something of the pounding repetitive sections such as a few of the middle tracks really get your head banging, and some of the faster earlier tracks are brilliant - all without being over the top. I would usually expect from Viking metal some sort of pomp, but it is not so with this album - there is something very honest and basic about it that I really appreciate. I can also envisage this album never growing old in the metal world - I believe that there will always be a place for this album in the metal (golden) hall of fame. It has a certain ageless quality about it, something that can be accepted by the majority of Metallers, something which can be played between bands at a gig and no one will complain about.