Album Review: Amon Amarth – The Great Heathen Army (Metal Blade Records)

By: Jesse Striewski

It’s honestly taken me a minute to fully appreciate Amon Amarth since initially I just thought the whole “viking metal” thing was a bit too on the “gimmicky” side. But I’ve found myself coming around to them more and more with each new album of theirs for the past two or three releases.

I don’t typically find myself going out of the way for metal with guttural vocals like theirs these days either, but I find frontman Johan Hegg’s style far more tolerable than say, Randy Blythe of Lamb of God. But the sick guitar riffs and heavy blast beats are a welcomed assault on the senses on The Great Heathen Army.

The band introduced the world to the album with “Get in the Ring,” a hard-hitter with an equally heavy video featuring pro wrestlers like Erick Redbeard. Other songs like “Heidrun,” “Find a Way or Make One,” and “Dawn of Noresman” are all equally worth a listen. But the track that definitely caused me to sit up and listen the most was “Saxons and Vikings,” appropriately featuring guest vocals from legendary Saxon frontman Biff Byford; I knew then I was becoming a fan.

Bands like Amon Amarth aren’t for everyone’s tastes, certainly not your average mainstream rock music fan. But if you’re rock palate goes beyond the likes of Korn, you’ll probably find something to appreciate here (I for one am personally looking forward to hopefully catching the band live on their current tour now, too).

Rating: 3/5 Stars