Honesty is the best policy right? I’ve never exactly been a fan of Amon Amarth and it seems you’re either a member of the horde or the conquered. On that note, if The Great Heathen Army doesn’t make you want to fire the flaming arrow with a battle cry, you need to get your pulse checked. From the first to the last, powerful songs of conquering, joyous songs of victory, and even a back and forth vocal perspective on Saxons and Vikings, this album sees Amon Amarth in full swing and on a one way road to Valhalla.
Rather than getting bogged down after touring for their previous album, Berserker, was canceled due to a worldwide pandemic, our Viking heroes instead got right back to work by crafting their most victorious and brutally groovy album yet. Their first single, title track The Great Heathen Army comes at the listener with both heroic leads and bone crushing rhythms. The video takes a… stranger turn than what would be expected, drawing some rather impressive direction from the worldwide television phenomenon Stranger Things. I must say, my hats off with this one. Drawing inspiration from something as revered as the Duffer Brothers masterpiece, they still manage to make it their own, with children opening up a box game that looks suspiciously like DnD, but with TGHA album art on the cover, small Viking figurines, and cards with Amon Amarth’s Viking personas. Shortly after, they gave us another singularly in-your-face track, the aptly named Get In The Ring. The video that accompanies this song is truly a post apocalyptic work of art. Mad Max style vehicles equipped with machine guns? Check. Burning desert scenery? You betcha. Erick Redbeard bare knuckle fighting in a pit with flames shooting everywhere? Oh hell yes. Also recommended is the track Find a Way or Make One, a song described by vocalist Johan Hegg as thus, “You might be facing obstacles, whether it’s the pandemic or something else, and there are no ways around it, so you have to make a way. That’s what the Vikings did. You can’t stop fighting just because there is something in your way.”
Whether it’s simply crushing your enemies, winning your family honor, a seat in the great hall of Valhalla, or just the absolutely beautiful guitar work in the closing track The Serpent’s Trail (my personal favorite), The Great Heathen Army is an album guaranteed to make a fan out of all who listen and make fans from all the way back in 1998 proud to say, “Amon Amarth fucking rule.” Now if you’ll excuse me, I have an entire discography to dive into.