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Amon Amarth - The Great Heathen Army

Amon Amarth
The Great Heathen Army
by Metal Wim at 18 September 2022, 11:36 AM

When AMON AMARTH started their career they immediately caught my attention. These Swedes did that by combining their Viking roots with extremely loud, crass and unfiltered Metal. They actually sounded like the proverbial bull in a China shop. Something that made them stand out in between all those slick sounding productions I usually prefer. When they released heir debut album in 1998, they had already been going for some six years, so knew what they were doing.

To my disappointment they have gradually shed that extremely harsh and rough sound, at least on their studio recordings. They merged into one of those bands who know how to write good music, but are losing the edge. And even though they are still valid, they have lost some of the edge they used to have, due to releasing a few lesser albums. It sounds like they have found their way back up on their latest offering “The Great Heathen Army”. I am being treated to some good songs, albeit mixed with some dubious ones, like “Heidrun”, a song about a goat. Need I say more? It feels and sounds like the band is tired, ready to retire. But that is just my perception.

Thankfully the band are still as heavy as an obese rhinoceros in winter gear when playing live, making their shows something to rave about to this day. And AMON AMARTH has produced some tunes on “The Great Heathen Army” that will be a great addition to their already impressive repertoire. Especially at the end of the album you will find some songs that will go down well with a live audience. “Saxons And Vikings” is the one that needs a separate mention, as it tells you about fights between those two races. Johan Hegg sings the parts of the Vikings, and who better to sing the Saxon part than the major SAXON Biff Byford. It might not be the best song, but it is good.

“Skagul Rides With Me” starts off with a good riff and gets heavier when the double bass drums kick in, and “The Serpent's Trail” is the most epic song of the album. all together I can only conclude that although nothing I heard is really bad, there was also nothing that made me go crazy with excitement. Therefore, I can only say that I still like AMON AMARTH, but the real admiration has evaporated. Unfortunately, “The Great Heathen Army” is not going to rekindle that feat.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 9

3 Star Rating

1. Get In the Ring
2. The Great Heathen Army
3. Heidrun
4. Oden Owns You All
5. Find a Way or Make One
6. Dawn of Norsemen
7. Saxons and Vikings
8. Skagul Rides With Me
9. The Serpent's Trail
Johan Hegg: Vocals
Olavi Mikkonen: Guitar
Johan Söderberg: Guitar
Ted Lundström: Bass
Jocke Wallgren: Drums
Record Label: Metal Blade


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