Heavy metal is a way of life, but it is not for the faint of heart. The history of metal is strewn with fading memories of bands that fell apart when times were tough. But history is written by the victors, and Amon Amarth have been marching purposefully from triumph to greater triumph for the last two decades. Formed amid the fertile Swedish metal scene in the mid ‘90s, these dedicated diehards brought a new sense of drama and destruction to the world of heavy music, propagating tales of Viking mythology and mortal combat over a devastating soundtrack of crushing rhythms, refined melody and rousing, rebellious refrains. From the release of their debut album Once Sent From The Golden Hall in 1998, Amon Amarth’s trajectory was firmly upward, as this band’s devotion to touring the world and spreading their inspirational creed began to resonate with ever-growing hordes of like-minded metalheads, first across Europe and then, in true Viking style, across the Atlantic and into North America.
With each successive album, Amon Amarth’s reputation grew; their arsenal of heroic hymns gaining strength and depth at the same time. Perhaps the most significant breakthrough came with cast-iron classic Twilight Of The Thunder God in 2008, wherein the band – vocalist Johan Hegg, guitarists Olavi Mikkonen Johan Söderberg, then drummer Fredrik Andersson and bassist Ted Lundström – seemed to perfect their formula of pulverising, fists-in-the-air anthems and shift into a higher creative gear. The impact was immediate and vast, and since that moment they have been unstoppable, as Surtur Rising (2011) and, most recently, Deceiver Of The Gods (2013) consolidated that success and took Amon Amarth’s explosive and exhilarating live show around the world many more times, and in front of ever-multiplying audiences.
Once again waking from their post-victory slumber, Amon Amarth are due to return with their most monstrous and spectacular album to date. A tour-de-force of cinematic melodic metal that combines the best of the genre’s traditional wing with modern heft and heart, Jomsviking is a concept piece inspired by the elite Viking mercenaries of its title, conceived and written by Johan Hegg and brought to life by the band which for the recording sees drummer Tobias Gustafsson [ex-Vomitory] slotting in neatly as a special guest session drummer.
“Deceiver Of The Gods was very successful for us and we had a good run with that and did some really great tours,” says Hegg. “Even before we changed drummers for this record we had the idea to make a concept album. It was something we’d never done before and it gave us a challenge. I started writing the story, went into it wholeheartedly and once you start going down that path there’s really no turning back.”
By far their most ambitious project to date, Amon Amarth’s tenth album unfolds like a synapse-melting multi-dimensional epic, with countless moments of classic metal grandeur and deathly aggression but also a newfound mastery of atmosphere and evocative dynamics that perfectly compliment the highs, lows and furious battles of Hegg’s narrative.
“It’s a pretty simple story where a young man is in love with a girl but unfortunately she’s being married off. He accidentally kills a man when this happens and he has to flee,” the frontman explains. “But he swears to have revenge and win her back. He can’t let go of the past. He feels that he’s been wronged and his life has been destroyed. The story of the Jomsviking is the background – it’s the way he finds to go back and claim his revenge. The way the story evolves is not a happy story… it’s a tragedy, I guess! But I like sad endings, because they’re the ones that affect you the most.”
Veering from the thunderous attack of opening statement First Kill to the victorious heavy metal sing-along of Raise Your Horns and on to the brooding drama of the closing Back On Northern Shores, Jomsviking sounds colossal – thanks, once again, to the supreme talents of producer Andy Sneap – and confirms that Amon Amarth are bigger, bolder and better than ever before in 2016. Neither deviating from their trademark sound nor restricted by it, they have simply evolved to the next level of metallic might, broadening their sonic horizons while simultaneously glorying in their cherished metal influences.
“When you write an album like this one, you’re basically making music for a movie,” says Mikkonen. “You have to follow certain moods and we had to figure out where we needed the aggressive songs or the more mellow or sad moments, and then we had to find the right ideas for that. It was difficult and it was challenging, but it was more fun! Before we were writing typical Amon Amarth songs, but this time we felt like we had to write something different. After ten albums you really need a challenge. We rose to the challenge and we’re really proud of what we’ve created.”
Bolstered by the regal presence of legendary heavy metal vocalist Doro Pesch, who duets with Johan Hegg on the heart-rending squall of A Dream That Cannot Be, Jomsviking flies the flag for authentic, red-blooded and unapologetic heavy metal while skillfully tapping into metalheads’ unerring love for epic tales of heroism, struggle, love, death and glory. Plainly the finest record of their career to date, Amon Amarth’s tenth album is certain to thrill and delight their global fanbase while the irresistible allure of Jomsviking’s cinematic heart will surely draw many more people into this band’s extraordinary sonic world. This campaign will not be stopped: 2016 will be the year that Amon Amarth conquer the world like never before.
“We just want to be more,” Mikkonen concludes. “Bigger shows, more production, everything bigger and better. I’m pretty sure it’s gonna be that way too. There’s a very good vibe in the band and I think it’s gonna be one hell of a year.”
“The shows are always absolutely fantastic,” Hegg enthuses. “When you’re onstage, performing, whether it’s a festival or a club, and you have that connection with people and you feel that reaction to all the hard work you’ve put in, that’s when you know that all the hardships you’ve experienced over the years were worth it. We are still growing. We grew with each album and we were never a trend. We’ve never followed trends and no trend has ever followed us. We’re on our own. We do what we love. There are so many shows planned in 2016 that it’s almost insane, but that’s what we live for.”
Amon Amarth announced their 2019 album Berserker by way of a music video featuring their first single, Raven’s Flight, on March 20th. The album is set to be released on May 3rd, 2019, via Metal Blade Records.
Berserker / 2019
Jomsviking / 2016
1. First Kill
3. On a Sea of Blood
4. One Against All
5. Raise Your Horns
6. The Way of Vikings
7. At Dawn’s First Light
8. One Thousand Burning Arrows
9. Vengeance Is My Name
10. A Dream That Cannot Be (featuring Doro Pesch; Digibook edition bonus track)
11. Back on Northern Shores
Jomsviking is the tenth studio album from Swedish melodic death metal band Amon Amarth. It was mixed and produced by Andy Sneap and released on March 25, 2016 through Metal Blade Records.
Deceiver of the Gods / 2013
1. Deceiver of the Gods
2. As Loke Falls
3. Father of the Wolf
4. Shape Shifter
5. Under Siege
6. Blood Eagle
7. We Shall Destroy
8. Hel (featuring Messiah Marcolin of ex-Candlemass)
9. Coming of the Tide
10. Warriors of the North
Deceiver of the Gods is the ninth studio album by Swedish Viking metal band Amon Amarth. It was released in Sweden and Finland on 19 June 2013, and in the USA on 25 June 2013. Former Candlemass singer Messiah Marcolin makes a guest appearance on the track “Hel“.
The title of the album and its artwork were revealed on 12 April 2013 and the title song was released on the band’s homepage a day later, available for streaming or as a free download. A video for the song was released in September 2014.
In Canada, the album debuted at number 9 on the Canadian Albums Chart. This would be the band’s last album with longtime drummer Fredrik Andersson before he left the band in March 2015.
Surtur Rising / 2011
1. War of the Gods
2. Töck’s Taunt: Loke’s Treachery Part II
3. Destroyer of the Universe
4. Slaves of Fear
5. Live Without Regrets
6. The Last Stand of Frej
7. For Victory or Death
8. Wrath of the Norsemen
9. A Beast Am I
10. Doom Over Dead Man
Surtur Rising is the eighth studio album by the Swedish melodic death metal band Amon Amarth. It is named after the mythical giant, Surtr. The album was released on March 29, 2011. The album debuted at number 34 on the American Billboard 200 chart as well as number 19 on the Canadian album charts.
On June 27, 2011, the band released a music video, with footage taken during a live performance in Philadelphia, PA and directed by David Brodsky, for the third track on the album, “Destroyer of the Universe“.
Twilight of the Thunder God / 2008
1. Twilight of the Thunder God (featuring Roope Latvala)
2. Free Will Sacrifice
3. Guardians of Asgaard (featuring Lars Göran Petrov)
4. Where Is Your God?
5. Varyags of Miklagaard
6. Tattered Banners and Bloody Flags
7. No Fear for the Setting Sun
8. The Hero
9. Live for the Kill (featuring Apocalyptica)
10. Embrace of the Endless Ocean
Twilight of the Thunder God is the seventh studio album by the Swedish melodic death metal band Amon Amarth. Twilight of the Thunder God was released in September 2008. It is based on Thor’s slaying of the serpent Jörmungandr.
With Oden on Our Side / 2006
1. Valhall Awaits Me
2. Runes to My Memory
4. Hermod’s Ride to Hel – Lokes Treachery Part 1
5. Gods of War Arise
6. With Oden on Our Side
7. Cry of the Black Birds
8. Under the Northern Star
9. Prediction of Warfare
With Oden on Our Side is the sixth full-length studio album by the Swedish death metal band Amon Amarth, and their first album to enter the Billboard charts, the Top Heatseekers and the Independent Albums chart, peaking at number 15 and number 26 respectively.
It was recorded in May and June 2006 and was released in Europe on 22 September 2006 by Metal Blade Records. A limited edition digipak was also released with a second disc that includes live songs, demos, and unreleased recordings. With Oden on Our Side was also released on a limited red LP. The songs “Runes to My Memory” and “Cry of the Black Birds” were both made into music videos, with the former being featured in the 2011 video game Saints Row: The Third by developer Volition.
Fate of Norns / 2004
1. An Ancient Sign of Coming Storm
2. Where Death Seems to Dwell
3. The Fate of Norns
4. The Pursuit of Vikings
5. Valkyries Ride
6. The Beheading of a King
8. Once Sealed in Blood
Fate of Norns is the fifth full-length studio album by the Swedish death metal band Amon Amarth. It was released on September 6, 2004 through Metal Blade Records. This album continued their slower, heavier sound which started on the previous album Versus the World. Before Fate of Norns was officially released by Metal Blade, promo copies were distributed with CD-ROM extras including pictures, biographies, sheets and logos. The album was released in conventional LP format as well as a limited digipak edition. The latter includes a live bonus DVD, Amon Amarth Live at Grand Rokk, which features live recordings and three-camera footage of a live performance in Reykjavík, Iceland on March 5, 2004. “The Pursuit of Vikings” was also made into a music video.
Versus the World / 2002
1. Death in Fire
2. For the Stabwounds in Our Backs
3. Where Silent Gods Stand Guard
4. Versus the World
5. Across the Rainbow Bridge
6. Down the Slopes of Death
7. Thousand Years of Oppression
9. …And Soon the World Will Cease to Be
Versus the World is the fourth full-length studio album by the Swedish death metal band Amon Amarth, released on November 18, 2002 by Metal Blade Records. It was also released with a bonus disc featuring the Sorrow Throughout the Nine Worlds EP as well as their two demos; Thor Arise, The Arrival of the Fimbul Winter (the first being unreleased before) and a German version of “Victorious March” entitled “Siegreicher Marsch” which was on Once Sent from the Golden Hall. The song “Death in Fire” was made into a music video. Versus the World was the first Amon Amarth album to showcase a more midpaced and heavy sound, unlike their earlier faster works. A deluxe edition was released in 2009 that featured the album remastered by Jens Bogren, and a bonus cd of the original album played live in its entirety in Bochum, Germany.
The Crusher / 2001
1. Bastards of a Lying Breed
2. Masters of War
3. The Sound of Eight Hooves
4. Risen from the Sea (2000)
5. As Long as the Raven Flies
6. A Fury Divine
7. Annihilation of Hammerfest
8. The Fall Through Ginnungagap
9. Releasing Surtur’s Fire
The Crusher is the third full-length studio album by Swedish death metal band Amon Amarth. It was released on May 8, 2001, through Metal Blade Records. The album was also released on the Double LP and Picture LP versions on June 29, 2007, which were hand-counted and limited to only 500 copies. A deluxe edition was released in 2009 that featured the album remastered by Jens Bogren, and a bonus CD of the original album played live in its entirety in Bochum, Germany.
The Avenger / 1999
The Avenger is the second full-length studio album by Swedish death metal band Amon Amarth, released by Metal Blade Records on September 2, 1999. It was the first Amon Amarth album with guitarist Johan Söderberg and drummer Fredrik Andersson, Thus completing the line-up that remained up until 2015, following Andersson’s departure from the band. It was also released as a digipak version, containing a bonus track “Thor Arise“, a re-recording of the title track from their first demo, Thor Arise. The album was also released as an LP version. Later, Metal Blade Records re-released the album in 2005 on Picture LP, limited to 500 hand-counted copies. The lineup of the album has continued on to present. A deluxe edition was released in 2009 that featured the album remastered by Jens Bogren, and a bonus cd of the original album played live in its entirety in Bochum, Germany.
Once Sent from the Golden Hall / 1998
Once Sent from the Golden Hall is the first full-length studio album released by the melodic death metal band Amon Amarth, released by Metal Blade Records. On February 10, 1998, Once Sent from the Golden Hall was released. The album was originally limited and only 1000 copies were sold on CD and LP versions. Later the album was re-released by Metal Blade in 2005 on Picture LP with 500 hand-counted copies. A deluxe edition was released in 2009 that featured the album remastered by Jens Bogren, and a bonus CD of the original album played live in its entirety in Bochum, Germany. Martin Lopez left the band soon after the release of this album to join Swedish band Opeth.
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DID YOU KNOW?
Vocalist Johan Hegg made his movie debut in Northmen – The Viking Saga where he played a character called Valli.