Amon Amarth - Versus The World Reissue (Metal Blade/Riot)

The big Swedes return again to smash your face in with the third of four thunderous reissues.

No doubt there will be some sceptics in the metal world who believe that Amon Amarth are simply trying to cash in on their relatively recent success by reissuing the albums that came out prior to them hitting the big time. Truth be told, this is more likely to be Metal Blade's doing but in all honesty, who gives a fuck? Amon Amarth are notoriously hard-working individuals and they deserve the recognition, plus albums such as Versus The World Reissue give late-comers to the band a chance to hear how the trademark atmospheric guitar and thunderous riffs have developed since the late 1990s.

The first disc of this reissue shows Amon Amarth starting to establish the sound that broke them through with 2006's With Oden On Our Side. Johan Hegg's voice has the satanic bass that makes the band's sound so instantly identifiable. Drummer Nico Kaukinen shows infinite examples of how a shit-hot drummer doesn't always have to pound the living scrotum out of every available skin; his restraint and impeccable timing nestles behind guitarists Olavi Mikkonen and Anders Hansson, and bassist Ted Lundstrom, to produce some of the most harmonious death metal you will ever hear.

As an album, Versus The World  is frankly phenomenal from start to finish, with stand-out songs such as When Silent Gods Stand Guard showing early signs of epic future anthem Cry Of The Blackbirds.

The greatest part of the Amon Amarth ...Reissue series is the second disc; the album played out in full at a venue in Bochum, Germany. Like The Crusher Reissue it's on the live tracks that you can really hear how much Amon Amarth has improved over the years. It also adds an extra layer to the band, with Hegg's interludes between songs showing genuine grattude and appreciation for the fans.

Cranking the volume up during blistering number Down The Slopes of Death is absolutey essential, and the melodic opening of Thousand Years Of Oppression, complimented by the uniform, well-timed hand claps you could only get from a German crowd, will have you standing on furniture strumming a low-slung air guitar and throwing the horns at all and sundry.

Final track And Soon The World Will Cease To Be is the culmination of 50-odd minues of fucking excellent live musicianship and  "Hey! Hey!" chanting.

Coming in at just under 100 minutes, the two-discs of Versus The World Reissue are a worthy addition to a fan's collection, if only for the live album and extensive sleeve notes, and it is an essential purchase for the Amon Amarth newbie.

Amon Amarth versus the world? I'm on their side.

Versus The World Reissue is out now on Metal Blade/Riot. You can get your copy here!