Amon Amarth “The Great Heathen Army’ Review

Amon Amarth
The Great Heathen Army
Metal Blade
Released: August 5, 2022

Swedish Viking gods Amon Amarth once again pillage and plunder their way across the globe with new album The Great Heathen Army.

With two hundred ships and one thousand men strong, the year AD 865 saw The Great Heathen Army take to treacherous northern waters in an effort to soak the fertile soil of England with the blood of retribution. The Viking army was seeking revenge for the murder of legendary warrior, Ragnar Lodbrok, at the hands of Northumbria’s King Ælla. As always, the heathens used any excuse to plunder and pillage. It is more than likely this was one of those situations. Nevertheless, the campaign of death and destruction lasted fourteen years and saw the Viking army gaining control of much of northern and eastern England.

See Also: Spirit Adrift “20 Centuries Gone” Review

Some 1200 years later, the Viking-obsessed world of today is finally getting the soundtrack deserved of this unbelievable undertaking. Of course, there exists only one band that can truly capture the spirit and ethos of this time… the mighty Amon Amarth. With their twelfth studio album, aptly titled The Great Heathen Army, the Swedish berserkers have once again proven why they are the Iron Maiden of extreme metal. Much like their last few efforts, The Great Heathen Army is filled to the brim with epic, battle-worthy anthems. I often wonder if the Amon Amarth guys intentionally write songs with the Euro-fest season in mind, as it seems with every successive album the songs become even more anthemic… perfect fodder for riling up hundreds of thousands festival goers!

The Great Heathen Army doesn’t stray too far from the formula, but it does throw a few welcome surprises. The folk-soaked polyphony of Heidrun is a medieval-metal romp into the ethnomusicology of their homeland, a romp that channels the cadence and melodic guitar methodologies of Einherjer and Tyr. The album highlight belongs to the intensely-monikered Oden Owns You All. This is Amon Amarth at their most brutal – true-to-form death metal savagery that has been sorely lacking over the last couple of albums. Vocalist, Johan Hegg, summons some truly inhuman gutturals, not heard from him since… well… forever. Arguably the most anthemic song on the album is the fist-pumping, old-school vibe of Saxons & Vikings, which features the legendary vocals of Saxon’s Biff Byford. Not at all surprising, as Hegg guested on the Saxon song Predator from a few years back. This song once again proves how incredibly well these two vocalists pair.

At the end of the day, the majority of tracks on offer were most certainly composed with fan-service as the primary objective. If you aren’t already onboard the Amon Amarth longship, with oars in hand, sailing into battle, then you probably never will be. For those of us with helmets adorned and swords on back, well, onward to battle we row!

Pre-orders of The Great Heathen Army are available now through Metal Blade. Many variants are at your fingertips.

For Fans Of: Týr, Ensiferum, Insomnium
Track Listing:

01. Get In The Ring
02. The Great Heathen Army
03. Heidrun
04. Oden Owns You All
05. Find A Way Or Make One
06. Dawn Of Norsemen
07. Saxons And Vikings
08. Skagul Rides With Me
09. The Serpent’s Trail

Author Rating

  • overall
  • composition
  • enjoyment
  • production
  • variety
  • memorability