Label: Metal Blade Records
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Release Date EU: August 5th, 2022
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
Sweden’s iconic musical Vikings Amon Amarth began in 1992 in Tumba and has become a prominent force in heavy metal over the past 30 years. After signing a deal with Metal Blade, the guys were able to release a strong debut album, ‘Once Sent From the Golden Hall’. This record was the gateway to a world-spanning journey that continues to this day.
These days Amon Amarth bring their latest work proof to the record stores. ‘The Great Heathen Army’ is the title of the recording, which has nine new songs and a lot of good material to offer.
‘The Great Heathen Army’ is the expected smashing and powerful new record that fans had hoped for from the melodic death metal heroes. Of course, it is again the combination of Johan Hegg’s impressive voice and the melodically kept leads, on the other hand, trademarks that Amon Amarth perfectly combine also on their new record. In this context, the very well-done ‘Find a Way or Make One’ should be mentioned.
That Hegg and his men have a great sense for melodies proves ‘Heidrun’ which almost invites you to sing along. The track is not the most complex on the album, but with its driving rhythm, it has an element that makes the song blossom immediately. Not to be left unmentioned is the powerful title track. ‘The Great Heathen Army’ is a dark and energetic song that reflects the overall heaviness of the album. The title track follows ‘Get in the Ring’. The latter is a fast and characteristic Amon Amarth song, which is rightly located at the top of the tracklist.
There comes a little surprise with ‘Saxons and Vikings’. Not only that the song is a little highlight on an overall well-done record. One of the other of you may remember ‘Predator’ by NWoBHM legend Saxon from 2018. Johan Hegg made a guest appearance and four years later the support goes the other direction. Hegg shares vocals with Saxon’s Biff Byford, which gives the tune an extra flavor. It’s interesting to hear how the two voices compliment each other and fit superbly with the ‘Saxons and Vikings’ theme. ‘The Serpent’s Trail’ closes the album. It is the longest song on the album and takes its power from the slow and powerful beat. Overall, the song spreads a dark atmosphere and presents Hegg as a kind of storyteller, alternating between the typical growls and nearly narrative moments.
‘The Great Heathen Army’ is a very well-executed Amon Amarth album. The five-piece from Stockholm proves once again that it is possible to skillfully stage their trademarks and at the same time integrate new elements that show a constant evolution. Like the Vikings, Amon Amarth conquers new shores, even if only musically. Nevertheless, Vikings remain Vikings and this also applies to the quintet from Stockholm. Amon Amarth fans can look forward to ‘The Heathen Army’. This record is impressive and shows why the band has been one of the spearheads of melodic death metal for years.
Written by: Markus Wiedenmann