October 7, 2022

Amon Amarth – The Great Pagan Army Review

Label: Metal Blade Records

Genre: Melodic Death Metal

EU release date: August 5, 2022

Line up:

Olavi Mikkonen
John Hegg
Ted Lundstrom
Johan Soderberg
Jocke Wallgren

List of tracks:

Get in the ring
The Great Heathen Army
Heidrun
Oden belongs to you all
Find a way or create one
Dawn of the Normans
Saxons and Vikings
Skagul ride with me
The trail of the snake

The iconic Swedish musical Vikings Amon Amarth started in 1992 in Tumba and has become a leading force in heavy metal over the past 30 years. After signing a deal with Metal Blade, the guys were able to release a solid debut album, “Once Sent From the Golden Hall”. This record was the gateway to a journey around the world that continues to this day.

These days, Amon Amarth brings his latest proof of work to record stores. “The Great Heathen Army” is the title of the recording, which has nine new songs and plenty of great material to offer.
“The Great Heathen Army” is the powerful, hard-hitting new record fans have been hoping for from the heroes of melodic death metal. Of course, it is again the combination of the impressive voice of Johan Hegg and the melodically preserved tracks, on the other hand, hallmarks that Amon Amarth also combines perfectly on their new record. In this context, the very well done “Find a Way or Make One” should be mentioned.

That Hegg and his men have a great sense of melody proves ‘Heidrun’ which almost invites you to sing along. The track isn’t the most complex on the album, but with its catchy beat it has an element that makes the song blossom immediately. Don’t miss the powerful title track. ‘The Great Heathen Army’ is a dark and energetic song that reflects the overall heaviness of the album. The title track follows “Get in the Ring”. The latter is a fast and characteristic song by Amon Amarth, which deservedly sits at the top of the tracklist.

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There’s a little surprise with ‘Saxons and Vikings’. Not only is this song a small highlight on an overall well done record. One of you might remember NWoBHM legend ‘Predator’ Saxon from 2018. Johan Hegg made an appearance and four years later the support is going the other way. Hegg shares vocals with Saxon’s Biff Byford, which gives the melody extra flavor. It is interesting to hear how the two voices complement each other and fit perfectly with the theme “Saxons and Vikings”. ‘The Serpent’s Trail’ closes the album. It’s the longest song on the album and draws its power from the slow, powerful rhythm. Overall, the song diffuses a dark atmosphere and presents Hegg as a kind of storyteller, alternating between the typical growls and almost narrative moments.

‘The Great Heathen Army’ is a very well executed Amon Amarth album. The quintet from Stockholm proves once again that it is possible to skilfully stage their trademarks while incorporating new and constantly evolving elements. Like the Vikings, Amon Amarth conquers new shores, if only musically. Nevertheless, Vikings remain Vikings and that also applies to the Stockholm quintet. Amon Amarth fans can look forward to “The Heathen Army.” This record is impressive and shows why the band has been one of the spearheads of melodic death metal for years.

Written by: Markus Wiedenmann

Ratings: (9/10)

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