Guitars that slice like battle-axes, head-spinning polyrhythms, and the huge grizzly roar of vocalist Johan Hegg: Amon Amarth’s particular blend of death and thrash metal is a bestial one. The Swedes’ Fate of Norns rips relentlessly, but it also billows with melodious songcraft not typically found in the extreme scene. The band has always had a thing for violent Viking mythology, and several tunes on Norns celebrate Nordic nautical exploits; during the brawny opener, “An Ancient Sign of Coming Storm,” you can virtually hear the icy waves slapping, as Hegg croons about the “thunder of sword and shield.” Jeff Perlah
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