Amon Amarth invade our aural senses once again with their twelfth studio album of valorous Viking metal.
Release Date: 5th August 2022
Label: Metal Blade
Format: CD / Vinyl / Boxed Set / Digital / Cassette
Amon Amarth are consummate pros in the music game. Formed in the early 90’s, the band are the very definition of playing the long game. Through great music, incessant touring and a constant striving to better themselves at every juncture, they constantly show that hard work and commitment bring their rewards.
The Great Heathen Army is another fantastic collection of songs choc full of bluster and belligerence. Opening with Get In The Ring, you can immediately hear that this is Amon Amarth; they have ‘their’ sound and it is glorious to hear it being put to the test again. The opener is a song written for AEW Wrestler Erick Redbeard; a person who has made his affection for metal bands clear in his ring attire (which has seen him wearing band shirts of Amon Amarth, Behemoth, Cannibal Corpse, Solstafir and Nekrogoblikon amongst others). As an entrance theme, this clearly works on the same level for the album; a brilliant pulse pounding opener with a more contemporary twist on the usual Amon Amarth themes.
By the time the title track hits, we’re immediately transported back to 865AD. As the title suggests, it is an ode to The Great Heathen Army and their conquests. It will be a monster of a track live with rousing chorus lines around ‘Hail! Hail! The Great Heathen Army! A change hits up at the next step as Heidrun (a goat in Norse mythology) uses a swing element in it’s swishing tempo. It is really refreshing to have a little change in style to keep listeners on their toes.
Oden Owns You All takes us back to the tried and tested formula with furious blast beats and hell raising tempos. Hails are offered again as the band really push the tempo. The latter part of the songs has a wonderfully tempting headbanger of a section; again, another song that is going to be a monster on stage. Find A Way Or Make One has a tinge of 80’s power rock in the opening. Big, open chords and riffs are set to more standard drum times. There is also time for a tidy solo in the song that evokes Iron Maiden in more ways than one; what’s not to like?!
Dawn Of Norsemen is a swashbuckling ode to the great Norse warriors; this is Amon Amarth doing what they do best. Johan Hegg is in truly terrifying form as he sings of destroying the church of God. Saxons & Vikings is a clever title for more than one reason. For a start, the title is befitting of a band of this type, but it also features Biff Byford of the mighty Saxon. Byford’s unique vocals add a completely new dimension to the song and again shows the diversity on show as the album progresses. The guitar solos on the song are also absolutely killer; Amon Amarth use solos so well in that they don’t litter every track with them. There is power in restraint.
Twin guitars blaze in emphatic fashion and choral voices soar as Skagul Rides With Me sets up the album closer; The Serpent’s Trail. Ethereal and ardent, the closer has a hulking riff amongst atmospheric vocals and haunting guitar lines. As the song progresses, different layers are added to make a truly epic ending to one of Amon Amarth’s finest efforts yet.
The Great Heathen Army further cements Amaon Amarth’s legacy as the kings of Viking metal. Forging all their trademarks with a few flourishes that add to their already huge sound, Amon Amarth will be a must watch on their forthcoming tour which sees them stepping up to arenas in the UK and Ireland alongside Machine Head, in September 2022.
Watch the video for Get In The Ring from Amon Amarth below.