Since their formation in 1992, mighty Swedish metal gods Amon Amarth have forged an extraordinary legacy of thunderous, anthemic metal that is rich in Viking history, folklore and culture. With thirty years of experience under their belt, the band are set to release their twelfth studio album The Great Heathen Army on August 5th
The first two tracks on the album were released as singles in June and July respectively: “Get In The Ring” (which was written for pro-wrestling star Erick Redbeard, who also stars in the music video), and the album’s title track “The Great Heathen Army”. Both of these are a great introduction to the new album, and feature the classic Amon Amarth sound that fans know and love, with Johan Hegg’s instantly-recognisable vocals.
There are some heavier tracks on the album – such as “Oden Owns You All” – and , based on quotes from the band this seems to have been a conscious decision:
“Overall The Great Heathen Army is one of the heavier albums we’ve made. There are some dark and heavy songs that are really powerful and in-your-face, but we obviously have some trademark melodic Amon Amarth songs on there as well, and a few surprises too. It’s a really well-balanced album. It sounds great.” – Johan Hegg (vocals)
“We’ve been away making new music and we’re back with a new darker, more death-metal sounding album. If Berserker was our “heavy metal” album, then The Great Heathen Army is our “death metal” album. But with that said, it’s still very much contemporary Amon Amarth, but perhaps style-wise we have gone back to our roots a little bit.” – Olavi Mikkonen (guitar
A couple of other tracks that stood out to me were “Heidrun”, which has a sing-along riff and a glorious key-change, and “Find A Way Or Make One”, which has a satisfyingly chuggy riff and is probably one of my favourite tracks on the album. Another of my favourite tracks, and featuring a little surprise, is “Saxons and Vikings”. I won’t spoil the surprise for you, but give this track a listen once the album is out and you will understand what I mean.
Stand-alone single “Put Your Back Into The Oar” (released in February 2022) wouldn’t have been out of place on The Great Heathen Army, but it also works as a transition track between 2019’s Berserker and this new album.
All in all I think that this is another great Amon Amarth album. For a band to be going for thirty years and still producing consistently banging albums is really something. Have all the songs about Vikings been written? Clearly not, and I am sure there are even more to come in the future.
I am looking forward to hearing some of these new tracks when Amon Amarth return to the UK in September on a co-headlining tour with Machine Head (plus support from The Halo Effect), calling at the following:
- 8 September – Nottingham Arena
- 9 September – Cardiff Arena
- 10 September – Wembley Arena, London
- 12 September – Manchester Arena
- 13 September – Dublin 3 Arena
The Great Heathen Army is available to buy in multiple formats (including some very sexy vinyl variants) from the band’s official store, EMP, Metal Blade Records, and Eyesore Merch, plus is available on all the usual streaming platforms.
The Great Heathen Army tracklist:
- Get In The Ring
- The Great Heathen Army
- Oden Owns You All
- Find A Way Or Make One
- Dawn Of Norsemen
- Saxons And Vikings
- Skagul Rides With Me
- The Serpent’s Trail
The Great Heathen Army is out on August 5th