Veteran Viking metal outfit Amon Amarth is set to release its latest album, The Great Heathen Army very in less than a week through its longtime label home Metal Blade Records. Scheduled for release Aug. 5, the 9-song record will come more than three years after the release of the band’s then latest album, Berserker. The 43-minute presentation is everything that Amon Amarth fans have come to expect from the band both musically and lyrically. At the same time, the record’s musical content actually shows some growth from the band this time out. The record’s musical and lyrical content will each receive their own examinations here. The album’s production rounds out its most important elements and will also be examined here. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation. All things considered they make The Great Heathen Army one more of the greatest of this year’s new hard rock and metal albums.
The Great Heathen Army, the 12th new album from Amon Amarth, is another largely successful offering from the veteran metal outfit that has made a career of making songs about Vikings. The record’s appeal comes in part through its featured musical arrangements. The very first thing that the band’s established audiences will note through the record’s nine total arrangements is that they are not all the same semi-symphonic/death metal approach that the band has taken in so many of its albums. Right from the record’s outset, its lead single, ‘Get in the Ring,’ the band takes more of a modern hard rock/metal approach. It is a notable change of sound and style for the band considering the compositions that the band has crafted over its decades-long career. It is just one of the songs that shows that branching out, too. Late in the record in ‘Saxons and Vikings,’ the band goes in a vintage hard rock style approach, even bringing in famed Accept/U.D.O. front man Udo Dirkschneider to add to the mix. Just as interesting is that the band does make sure to include some of its more familiar death metal riffs to mix things up a little bit along the way. The pairing of those leanings together, complete with a powerhouse solo, makes this song’s arrangement yet another standout addition to the record that continues to show the band’s musical growth this time out. The band offers up a little more of that vintage hard rock leaning in the record’s closer, ‘The Serpent’s Trail.’ The way in which the guitars are used here almost mimics some string arrangements, and the classical guitar approach here along the way just adds that much more to the record. It is just one more way in which the musical arrangements feature in this record show their value to the album’s presentation. When these arrangements are considered along with the works that lean more in the band’s familiar sounds and styles, the whole makes The Great Heathen Army a presentation that succeeds if only through its musical content.
The musical content that is featured in The Great Heathen Army is just part of what makes the album worth hearing. The lyrical content that accompanies that musical content makes for its own appeal. That is because it is far more familiar to those noted established audiences. From ‘Oden Owns You All’ to Saxons and Vikings’ to ‘The Serpent’s Trail’ and more, the themes featured in the record’s lyrics all center on the familiar topics of all things Norse and Vikings. Now there are a couple of sings – ‘Get In The Ring’ and ‘Find A Way Or Make One’ – that do break that mold. ‘Find A Way Or Make One’ delivers an all too familiar but always welcome message of pushing through life’s difficulties. This is clear as front man Johan Hegg sings here, “Stand tall/And fight/The world will quake/Stand tall/And fight/I will never break.” Some of the lyrics are a little difficult cult decipher fully sans lyrics, but he also makes note here of fighting the battle when all hope is lost and gone. This is, again, a powerful and familiar message, especially as he adds that he will not kneel, no matter what the odds. Yet again, here is more proof of the song’s message of personal strength. The battles and situations do not necessarily have to be warfare, but just personal battles. To that end, again, this familiar message is just as welcome from the band here as from any other band. What’s more, that it is set here alongside so much other more familiar content shows growth, lyrically from the band.
‘Get In The Ring’ meanwhile is actually a song for one of the rising stars of All Elite Wrestling (AEW). It is fitting that it was crafted for a pro wrestler, as its lyrical theme is in fact a fight song. It is an anthem that could and will get anyone pumped up who has ever been done wrong by someone. It is that challenge to those people who would stand in our way metaphorically or lyrically. To that end, it is another familiar lyrical theme in general that shows in its own way, why the lyrical themes in record are just as appealing as the album’s musical content. All things considered the record’s lyrical content pairs with its companion musical content to make the album’s overall content a strong foundation for the presentation. It is just one part of what makes the album so appealing. The record’s production rounds out its most important elements.
The production that went into The Great Heathen Army is important to its presentation because of its role in the record’s general effect. Every song in this record is loud and heavy. Each work is so rich because of the pairing of the instrumentations and vocals. Thanks to the time and effort that went into the production, no one part overpowers the others (including the vocals) at any one point in the album. That is, again, due to the production. Every part of each song is so powerful, leading each work to be fully immersive. The result is that the album proves just as successful in its aesthetic presentation as in its content. When all of this is considered together, the whole of The Great Heathen Army becomes one more of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.
The Great Heathen Army, the 12th new album from veteran metal outfit Amon Amarth, is another strong new offering from the band that will entertain the band’s established audiences just as much as metal fans in general. That is evidenced in part through the record’s musical content. The arrangements featured throughout the album are familiar, but also show a certain level of growth. The band tries its hand at some vintage hard rock and metal styles as well as some more mainstream sounding heavy rock at points throughout the record. That diversity offers audiences something “old” and something “new” which along the way makes for plenty of engagement and entertainment. The lyrical themes featured alongside the album’s musical content is just as important to its presentation. That is because of its overall familiarity, too. There are plenty of Viking themes once again, along with some themes of overcoming diversity, which the band has handled less, but is still familiar in the rock and metal communities. The record’s production puts the finishing touch to the presentation, ensuring that the best of each song is brought out from one work to another. Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of the record. All things considered they make the album overall another welcome offering from Amon Amarth that belongs among the best of the year’s new hard rock and metal albums.
The Great Heathen Army is scheduled for release Friday through Metal Blade Records. Amon Amarth will hit the road this fall in support of its new, forthcoming album. The band will launch the “The Great Heathen Tour” November 11 in Las Vegas, NV in support of the record.
The tour features support from Carcass, Obituary, and Cattle Decapitation, and is expected to run through Dec. 17 in Los Angeles, CA and also features scheduled performances in cities, such as Charlotte, NC; Cincinnati, OH and Seattle, WA.
The tour’s schedule is noted below.
THE GREAT HEATHEN TOUR
US HEADLINE RUN W/ CARCASS, OBITUARY AND CATTLE DECAPITATION
Friday, November 11 – Las Vegas, NV @ Brooklyn Bowl*
Saturday, November 12 – Phoenix, AZ @ Arizona Federal Theater
Monday, November 14 – San Antonio, TX @ Aztec Theater
Tuesday, November 15 – Houston, TX @ Bayou Music Center
Wednesday, November 16 – Dallas, TX @ Southside Ballroom
Friday, November 18 – Atlanta, GA @ The Tabernacle
Saturday, November 19 – Orlando, FL @ Hard Rock Live
Sunday, November 20 – Charlotte, NC @ The Fillmore
Tuesday, November 22 – Philadelphia, PA @ The Fillmore
Wednesday, November 23 – Boston, MA @ MGM Music Hall at Fenway
Friday, November 25 – Detroit, MI @ The Fillmore
Saturday, November 26 – Chicago, IL @ The Aragon Ballroom
Sunday, November 27 – Cincinnati, OH @ The Andrew J Brady Music Center
Wednesday, November 30 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE**
Thursday, Dec 01 – New York, NY @ Hammerstein Ballroom
Friday, Dec 02 – Toronto, ON @ History
Saturday, Dec 03 – Laval, QC @ Place Bell
Monday, Dec 05 – Madison, WI @ The Sylvee
Tuesday, Dec 06 – Minneapolis, MN @ The Fillmore
Wednesday, Dec 07- Kansas City, MO @ Uptown
Friday, Dec 09 – Denver, CO @ The Fillmore
Saturday, Dec 10 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex
Monday, Dec 12 – Seattle, WA @ Showbox SODO
Tuesday, Dec 13 – Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater
Thursday, Dec 15 – Wheatland, CA @ Hard Rock Live
Friday, Dec 16 – San Diego, CA @ SOMA
Saturday, Dec 17 – Los Angeles, CA @ Kia Forum
** Non-Live Nation date
The new fall U.S. dates will follow a European run with Machine Head, that is scheduled to run from Sept. 8 in Nottingham, UK to Oct. 22 in Stuttgart, Germany. The Halo Effect is also scheduled to take part in the tour, dubbed the “Vikings and Lionhearts Tour 2022.”
The tour’s schedule is noted below.
Thursday 8 – NOTTINGHAM, UK, Motorpoint Arena
Friday 9 – CARDIFF, UK, Motorpoint Arena
Saturday 10 – LONDON, UK, The SSE Arena, Wembley
Monday 12 – MANCHESTER, Uk AO Arena
Tuesday 13 – DUBLIN, Ireland, 3Arena
Friday 16 – ZURICH, Switzerland, Hallenstadion
Saturday 17 – VIENNA, Austria, Stadthalle
Sunday 18 – KRAKOW, Poland, Tauron Arena
Tuesday 20 – TALLINN, Estonia, Saku Arena
Wednesday 21 – HELSINKI, Finland, Ice Hall
Friday 23 – OSLO, Norway, Spektrum
Saturday 24 – STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Hovet
Monday 26 – COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Forum Black Box
Tuesday 27 – HAMBURG, Germany, Barclays Arena
Wednesday 28 – FRANKFURT, Germany, Festhalle
Friday 30 – OBERHAUSEN, Germany, König Pilsener Arena
Saturday 01 – BERLIN, Germany Velodrome
Sunday 02 – AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands, Afas Live
Tuesday 04 – MILAN, Italy, Lorenzini District
Thursday 06 – BARCELONA, Spain, Sant Jordi
Friday 07 – MADRID, Spain, Vistalegre
Saturday 08 – LA CORUNA, Spain, Coliseum
Sunday 09 – LISBON, Portugal, Campo Pequeno
Wednesday 12 – PARIS, France, Zenith
Friday 14 – MUNICH, Germany, Olympiahalle
Saturday 15 – LEIPZIG, Germany, Arena
Sunday 16 – PRAGUE, Czech Republic, Tipsport Arena
Tuesday 18 – BUDAPEST, Hungary, Barba Negra
Thursday 20 – ESCH SUR ALZETTE, Luxembourg, Rockhal
Friday 21 – BRUSSELS, Belgium, Forest National
Saturday 22 – STUTTGART, Germant, Schleyerhalle
More information on Amon Amarth’s new album and tour is available along with all of the band’s latest news at: