It took six full-length albums, but with With Oden on our side Amon Amarth finally cracked Billboard. The record, released on Sept. 22, 2006, debuted at No. 15 on the Top Heatseekers chart and No. 26 on the Independent Album Chart.
While the disc isn’t a marked departure from the marauding Viking metal of the band’s previous releases, songs like “Runes to my memory“and”Cry of the Black Birds” are heavier and more direct. Even when the band changes rhythms, it’s with a new fluidity that keeps the album from sounding disjointed.
Some of the songwriting improvements on With Oden on our side came from the musician’s increased dedication to the band. “We made Amon Amarth our full-time priority,” drummer Fredrik Andersson told Deadtide.com. “Before, Amon Amarth was just a hobby and we did it in our spare time. What we did was we quit our day jobs and thought, ‘we’re going to try this full time.’ It made us very focused.”
sonically, With Oden on our side has more in common with early Amon Amarth releases, including the 1998s Once sent from the golden hall, than it does with the meandering, gloomy sounds of the 2004s The fate of the Norns. Melody and heaviness exist equally, and while there’s plenty of double bass drumming and thunderous riffage in “Valhall is waiting for me“and”Asator“, every song is flush with hooks and many feature carefully worded guitar leads.
Amon Amarth, “Valhall Awaits Me”
In addition to demonstrating a new level of commitment to their music, Amon Amarth decided to hire a producer who would be more hands-on than Peter Tägtgren or Berno Paulsson had been with the band’s first five releases. “Change of study [was a big thing for us], Andersson said. “We used a producer who got involved with the songs early on and also helped us a lot to make the best album.”
Amon Amarth named With Oden on our side after the all-powerful Norse god Odin, who wields a spear and rides a flying, eight-legged horse named Sleipnir. “Oden is of course the highest god in Scandinavian mythology and he is the god of war, wisdom, poetry and art, vocalist Johan Hegg told Pyromusic.com. “The reason we chose the title is because it fit the lyrical concepts of the album and meant the feeling we had during the writing and recording of the album. We literally felt like we had the gods on our side.”
Amon Amarth, “Asator”
With Odin on our side was released as a conventional nine-song album and as a digipack, which contained a bonus disc, with album two containing demos and live recordings and studio sessions of tracks from the band’s other records.
Loudwire contributor Jon Wiederhorn is the author of Raising Hell: Backstage Tales From the Lives of Metal Legendsco-author of Louder Than Hell: Metal’s Definitive Oral Historyas well as the co-author of Scott Ian’s autobiography, I’m the Man: The Story of That Guy From Anthraxand Al Jourgensen’s autobiography, The Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen and the Agnostic Front book My riot! Grit, Guts and Glory.