Album Review: Amon Amarth - The Great Heathen Army
Viking Berserkers Amon Amarth have stormed in to August with their 12th studio album The Great Heathen Army, quite possibly their strongest record since 2008’s hugely popular Twilight of the Thunder God. Having taken a turn towards a more traditional heavy metal sound in previous records, The Great Heathen Army sees the return to their more Melodic Death Metal roots.
Vocalist Johan Hegg says on the album: “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.”
The record opens with ‘Get In The Ring,’ a rousing and thunderous introduction which was specifically written for AEW pro-wrestler Erick Redbeard who also appears in the music video for the track. A dark, mid-tempo offering, the atmosphere is electrifying with crushing drums and blistering riffage. The title track continues in the same vein telling the tale of the invasion carried out by the greatest Viking hoard in history with the sole intention to destroy and conquer the four ancient kingdoms that made up England. ‘Heidrun‘ is a more light-hearted, catchy, folk-inspired track about the goat who nibbled the foliage of Læraðr thus turning her milk to mead.
‘Oden Owns You All‘ returns to a chugging stomp with soaring riffage and another rousing delivery. ‘Find A Way Or Make One‘ is another fist-pumping, catchy, crowd motivator guaranteed to have you chanting along with your Viking brethren. ‘Dawn of Norsemen‘ is a layered, cinematic anthem with impassioned growls and atmospherically soaring solos; it tells the tale of the Vikings first expeditions West.
‘Saxons and Vikings‘ features guest vocals from Biff Byford of the English heavy metal band Saxon. A fun, fast paced track very aptly named with epic solos and blistering drums. Each vocalist recounting the tale of the opposing sides during the invasion of Wessex. ‘Skagul Rides With Me‘ is a melodic, cinematic track which takes flight and soars. ‘The Serpent’s Tail‘ is a crushing yet melancholy conclusion to the record with a spoken-word account of a warrior’s demise before descending in to brutal growls and ferocious riffing flourishes.
Full of fist-pumping riffs and catchy hooks, The Great Heathen Army is both fun and epically raging. It’s formidable in nature yet still maintains Amon Amarth‘s signature sound marred in melo-death elements of their earlier years
Released By: Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 5th August 2022
For Fans Of: Powerwolf, Iron Maiden, Sabaton
Favourite Track(s): Get In The Ring, Find A Way Or Make One, The Serpent’s Tail