I find that when my musical listening patterns have wandered too far afield, jumping straight back into the belly of the beast can seem a bit unappealing. I mean, I love Incantation, and I know that. But right now, after the past several months of listening to lighter, more pop-oriented music, the idea of blasting myself with Craig Pillard's demonic bellows just feels like a bit too much. It's almost like drinking Dr Pepper while you're sucking on a peppermint: you need time to get the flavor of the first thing out of your mouth or the taste is disgusting.
To that end, I've found myself thinking a lot about "gateway" metal bands recently. Not so much in the Slipknot/Killswitch Engage vein (since I don't need an introduction to the world of metal) but rather in a way that asks the question: "What real metal band can I get into even when I'm not feeling in a 'br00tal' mood?" There are several options in such a situation, but I found myself naturally gravitating toward one in particular. Given my penchant for Swedish melodeath, it comes as no surprise that it was good old reliable Amon Amarth that raised their Viking fists in greeting and ushered me back home to the frozen northern wastes. On a less dramatic note, it really is true (at least for me) that Amon Amarth's infectious, bouncy, melodic-yet-heavy sound is so universally appealing that there really is no way not to get into it when they start playing. I love In Flames to death, Bathory are amazing, Electric Wizard absolutely crush, but if there's one metal band I can always listen to at any time and in any mood and enjoy the hell out of it, it's Amon Amarth.