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I have to admit that I, for sure similar to the major part of the band's current fans, first started to really dig Amon Amarth a few records into their career, and even if I at this point also appreciate parts of their early material, it's definitely the work from 2002's Versus The World and onwards that has made me always look forward to listen to another newly written and recorded album from these Swedish metallers. Although I'm very aware of the unwritten motto "Listen first, evaluate later.", I still set my expectations for this release high, but luckily, just a few focused spins happen to be enough to see my preconceived thoughts clinch.
Just like they started, to a greater degree, on the last album Deceiver Of The Gods, the band has now taken yet another little step closer to heavy metal. The vocal performance of Johan Hegg will however make it nearly impossible to ever fully depart from the Death Metal institution and still there are things that are really heavy and way too aggressive and massive to ever be considered heavy metal.
The band is in a violent environment capable of bringing forth an epic and melodic sound and the harmony guitar is as usual precise and pretty easy to execute and is indeed a distinguishing element in the music and an efficient way to add another dimension to the full performance. Quite often it's so exact and reachable that it seems very hard to not get attracted to it.
The band has after 8 straight records with the same lineup parted ways with its drummer Daniel Andersson and uses session drummer Tobias Gustafsson's duties for this album instead. Naturally there's often quite a lot of things that sound different with a new guy behind the drum kit and that's the case on this album too of course, but at the same time I think that the music as an entirety really isn't affected so much by this whole scenario, because it still has its massive effect and without a doubt the rest of the guys are just as coherent as before.
Even though some new stuff appear with every album released and some never heard before rhythms and approaches are clearly present on Jomsviking, the band doesn't break new grounds overall with this concept album. The band stays kind of on the safe side and seem to choose to change things carefully instead of rushing into unknown territories and in this case I think it's absolutely nothing negative since they do what they do so well.
In my eyes Amon Amarth has been capable of building together yet another attractive achievement and to me this unit is definitely still the undisputed leaders of melodic death metal.