November 13, 2008

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Godhead, At the Edge of the World
Driven Music, Sept. 30
Amon Amarth, Twilight of the Thunder God
Metal Blade Records, Oct. 7

New and old schools of sword-and-dragon-metal, represent. “The Puppet,” the album opener from Godhead’s newest, shows promise after a Meshuggah-as-doom-band fashion (hint: things don’t get much better than that nowadays), so it’s greatly disappointing when the Styx-like “Stay Back” follows in all its nancy-boy glory immediately afterward, but such is the trip here, hair-metal surrounded by evil monster heads on pikes, Tesla when it’s not being that; in general an evolutionary step up from the ’80s-L.A. ooze.

Swedish chest-thumpers Amon Amarth aren’t your average Metal Blade tosspot – this one comes with a thick booklet guaranteed to shorten the life of the CD’s jewel case, and it got a Billboard chart spot right out of the gate. As with many new-schoolers, their tempos vary from slow-bounce to Slayer, in other words an old-school Metal Church environment, and the vocals lend some Fields of the Nephilim-style goth that betrays a Mastodon fetish. The title tune opens the album and pretty much exhausts their spleen, leaving the other nine songs to race around roaring like the Cookie Monster on angel dust all in the name of Beavis. Godhead Grade: B- Amon Arath Grade: B-Eric W. Saeger