August 26, 2022 Amon Amarth – The Great Heathen Army (Album Review)
The future may not be written yet, at least not accurately, but the past sure is. There are also times when musical artists like writing about the past. In the world of Melodic Death Metal, Sweden’s Amon Amarth has done just that again with their newest album The Great Heathen Army. Released on August 5, 2022 through Metal Blade Records, The Great Heathen Army continues to follow a Viking and Norse mythological based subject matter, despite it not being a strict concept album.
Their twelfth overall studio album, impressively, Amon Amarth is still going strong. Sustaining three decades together, with the exception of Jocke Wallgren joining on drums in 2016, the long time lineup of remains – Johan Hegg continuously detonates his heavy, deep vocals, Guitarists Olavi Mikkonen and Johan Söderberg keep on pumping out fast, furious melodies, all while Ted Lundström keeps on creating solid bass lines. With The Great Heathen Army the tribe of Norseman offer nine tracks that can very much be mixed and matched, however, each tune has its foot on solid ground.
With a lot to dig into, the title-track has extreme catchy melodies and a very direct tale to tell which will make it interesting to hear live. There is also “Get in The Ring” which is another hard hitter that opens the album with a brutally fun bang. This is while “Oden Owns You All” again offers some killer melodies along with some more brutal spurts.
Moving along you have “Dawn Of Norsemen,” and it’s not a difficult shot in the dark to figure out the nature of this tune. Pumping the energy along, “Saxons And Vikings” crosses the midway threshold with a stampeding army of pleased Death Metal fans. Furthermore, this track uniquely features the British Metal legends Saxon, and it proves to be a very solid balance of Heavy Metal Saxons and Vikings.
Diving into the latter portion of the album there is also “Skagul Rides With Me” which is another adventure into a familiar land before ending in a safety net of guitar riffs. Finalizing the journey, “The Serpent’s Trial” is a powerful tune of wisdom mixed with a timeless challenge. While it may not travel too far outside of the box of what Amon Amarth excels at, it poses the valid question of, ‘why should it?’
Summing up The Great Heathen Army, it is really just a great representation of what Amon Amarth can do with their musical arrangements. For a potentially heavy, dark album it tends to spark a more cultural and colorful folklore approach at times. The melding of these two vibes seem to carry forth a good message regardless of expectations, and for this, Cryptic Rock gives The Great Heathen Army 4 out of 5 stars.