Amon Amarth

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Amon Amarth


Writing solely about Vikings and Norse mythology could be seen as a bit of a risky move in today’s music industry as there is a chance it could alienate a lot of potential fans who can’t really relate to the subject matter, however, Amon Amarth have managed to gain themselves a huge international following. I ask whether he is worried about the icey, fantastical lyrical themes not translating to the laid back, “sun, sea and surf” way of life in Australia. “It’s a good question actually, we can’t really tell for Australia but I know that for a fact that everywhere we go, like if it’s in Latin America or North America or Asia or wherever, the audience seem to really enjoy the lyrics we have and the Norse mythology. I guess it’s kind of exotic to them. They’re really interested in it, so after the shows they come up to us and they’ll ask questions about the lyrics and Gods and everything.”

Speaking of which, Amon Amarth really do take pride in their lyrics, and with 2,000 years of history as their starting point, they certainly have a wealth of material to draw from. Whereas most lyricists draw from personal experience and explore an infinite range of themes, it may seem to some that they have created more work for themselves in that department due to the amount of research that must go into getting the stories and historical facts right. Luckily for them they have Johan Hegg, their giant Viking of a vocalist, who takes an almost scholarly approach to their lyric writing.

“Our singer is very interested into the whole history of Vikings and Norse mythology so he will take care of that. Musically we don’t try to do ‘Viking’ music, we just play death metal. But it’s his thing, his real interest, so it’s easy for him to come up with the lyrics.”  When we were young they didn’t really teach much about old Nordic religion and history, it was all about the big religions and stuff but the kids today learn more about it that we actually did, so that’s one of the reasons why we wanted to write about Vikings, because of the interest we had. We wanted to explore more because we didn’t get enough from school.” He gives a modest laugh when I suggest that it’s way cooler to learn about your country’s culture and history from a death metal band than from a teacher.

The bands last album Surtur Rising was released last year on Metal Blade records. The album is loosely based on the story of the Norse God Surtur, a mythical giant with a flaming sword, and by all accounts was received well by critics and fans alike, debuting at 34 on the American top 200 Billboard album chart. “I mean, it’s exactly a year old now, and it was received really well all over the world. From both media and fans the response was excellent so it’s been a pleasure being out touring this album. People like it and they come to the shows and are happy when we play the songs from it, but now we are starting to work a little bit on the new album. We’re concentrating on touring at the moment but we have a few parts of songs ready for when we finish touring so we can start work on [the new album].”


AMON AMARTH bring the Sutur Rising tour to Billboard The Venue on Monday April 16.