AMON AMARTH — The Great Heathen Army

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AMON AMARTH - The Great Heathen Army cover
3.71 | 4 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 2022

Tracklist

1. Get in the Ring (4:24)
2. The Great Heathen Army (4:04)
3. Heidrun (4:42)
4. Oden Owns You All (4:17)
5. Find a Way or Make One (4:30)
6. Dawn of Norsemen (5:32)
7. Saxons and Vikings (4:55)
8. Skagul Rides with Me (4:34)
9. The Serpent's Trail (6:01)

Total Time 42:59

Line-up/Musicians

- Johan Hegg / Vocals
- Olavi Mikkonen / Guitar
- Johan Söderberg / Guitar
- Ted Lundström / Bass
- Jocke Wallgren / Drums

About this release

Label: Metal Blade Records

Release Date: August 5th, 2022

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AMON AMARTH THE GREAT HEATHEN ARMY reviews

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siLLy puPPy
And then it hit me one time when i was watching Dethklok on Metalocalypse. Much of melodic death metal = melo-death is really just traditional classic 80s heavy metal with growly vocals. These two distinct features of metal have created a great divide in the world of metal. Those who hate growly vocals yet love melodic dominance gravitate towards Dio, Judas Priest, Metallica and all those old school metal bands however those who gravitate towards the world of extreme metal seem to have an aversion towards melody and sugary sweetness in their metal. Well, then there are those like me who can endure the most saccharine of metal experiences and outshine the most extreme metalheads in avant-garde adventurism. Seriously it’s not a competitive sport. It’s just where you can derive pleasure from in an unjust universe.

AMON AMARTH has been around 30 years having formed in Tumba, Sweden all the way back in 1992 and has steadfastly crafted one melo-death album after another as well as enjoying a popularity unlike any other in the world of death metal. As a result this band has been disdained by some in the extreme metal community for selling out while others who enjoy a melodic hook underpinning have found this band to be their top dog in providing that necessary bridge between heavy metal and death metal. I for the life of me can’t understand why metalheads can’t have a varied diet and experience the joys of both dissonant mayhem as well as melodic downtime that doesn’t resort to dipping back to the 1950s with calypso hits from Harry Belofante. (hey, i do dig that music from time to time!)

Thirty years into its career and AMON AMARTH is still going strong with its twelfth album THE GREAT HEATHEN ARMY. It is very true that AMON AMARTH plays it way too safe but that is the fate of many successful metal bands that simply don’t want to risk fanbase alienation for the sake of experimenting. It’s a capitalist world, ya know? Well it’s true that AMON AMARTH stopped evolving around the “Surtur Rising” album which personally i feel the band hit its stride and now is simply recycling the stylistic approach that it had been working up to until about 10 years ago. This is very common and not surprising one bit. THE GREAT HEATHEN ARMY basically carries on with business as usual but that doesn’t for a second mean that B.A.U. can’t be enjoyable! This album basically continues where “Berserker” left off. Love it or leave it, AMON AMARTH has established its sound and not likely to release an electronic album soon!

Really not much to say about this one. If you are already indoctrinated into the AMON AMARTH fan club then this album will deliver exactly what you want. If you expect the band to evolve and move on to the next chapter of its logical conclusion then you will be sorely disappointed. It’s definitely AMON-by-the-numbers. When i say this i have to admit that i really love the melodic deathened metal sound of AMON AMARTH and despite its commercial appeal adds enough extreme metal grit to get my juices flowing. Yeah, this is the new pop metal but so what. There’s more than enough twisted convoluted metal to keep my extreme interests activated. Sometimes it’s just nice to sit back and enjoy the ride without any head trips. One thing that i can say about AMON AMARTH and that is that this band is consistent in delivering the goods of its craft. A very pleasant new offering if not as satisfying as previous efforts.
Kev Rowland
There are a few bands in the world where one can see there is a new release and pretty much have a good guarantee of what it is going to sound like and what the lyrical content is going to be about. One of these is Sabaton, and another is the mighty Amon Amarth. They still have three founder members in Ted Lundström (bass), Olavi Mikkonen (guitars) and singer Johan Hegg while guitarist Johan Söderberg has been there for nearly quarter of a century and even newbie drummer Jocke Wallgren has been around since 2016. When I noticed it had been produced by none other than the mighty Andy Sneap I knew we were in for a fun ride, and indeed we were. This is Viking metal with a groove, strongly commercial and a long way removed from the melodic death they used to deploy, incredibly heavy with powerful vocals and songs which people could even dance to if they wished as opposed to just losing dandruff.

It might sound like they are getting soft in their old age, but nothing could be further from the truth as they continue to expand their sound, even bringing in folk influences into the likes of “Heidrun”. This is epic metal, full of anthems which are designed to fill the largest halls, with a space and grandeur even when they are crunching hard. It is music which demands to be played as loud as the speakers and eardrums can bear, yet while aggressive there is a passion within which is far more than hatred, it is pride. They are proud of their Viking heritage and need to explain it to the world, with the title track based on a famous invasion of England. As Hegg says, “It is about when the invading Viking fleet arrived in England in 865 AD. The Vikings had been raiding England for a long time, but this army was something else. It was an invasion army and deadly effective against the British. It's a massive historical event. It's fascinating. Somehow, the English won, and they defeated the heathen army, so anything is possible!" Putting it bluntly, if you have ever enjoyed Amon Amarth in the past then this is indispensable as here on their twelfth studio release, they stay true to their roots yet expand in different directions to make this one of their most complete works to date.

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