Album review: Amon Amarth – The Great Heathen Army

Metal’s favourite Viking berserkers Amon Amarth proudly return to pick a fight. A big one…

Album review: Amon Amarth – The Great Heathen Army
Dan Slessor

Over their last few records, and particularly on 2019’s Berserker, Amon Amarth have steadily roamed in the direction of traditional heavy metal, arguably losing some of their bite in the process. However, on The Great Heathen Army, their 12th, they take a step back towards their melodic death metal origins, and it is definitely to their betterment, delivering perhaps the strongest collection since 2008’s Twilight Of The Thunder God.

Opener Get In The Ring was – as the title suggests – written as the entrance music for a pro wrestler, Erik Redbeard, and it is suitably rowdy. It kicks things off with a whole lot of attitude before the rousing title-track backs it up with some serious muscle. There is a pleasing variety of tones and styles across the tracks, from the brawny thrash and stomp of Oden Owns You All to the almost graceful, wide ranging Dawn Of Norsemen, and Johan Hegg’s immediately recognisable roar is as formidable as ever.

Fans who have enjoyed their more trad metal direction will definitely be placated by Saxons And Vikings, which as the title unsubtly hints features a guest vocal from Saxon’s Biff Byford, and it is perhaps the most ‘fun’ moment on the record.

Wrapping things up with the epic and partly spoken word The Serpent’s Trail, they end the record on the same high note maintained across its nine tracks. It might not quite be the best they have ever done, but it's assuredly up there among Amon Amarth's most superior offerings.

Rating: 4/5

For fans of: In Flames, Iron Maiden, Trivium

The Great Heathen Army is released on August 5 via Metal Blade.

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