AMON AMARTG The Last Stand of Frej

Now we can definitely say that Amon Amarth is one of the biggest metal acts that are coming from Europe. As a matter of fact Amon Amarth has already become the legend when it comes to metal scene. They are indeed respected and popular as well. Lots of touring, great live performances and the excellent works made this band indeed big. ”Surtur Rising” is yet one more stone in their fortress which is definitely stronger than ever before.

bySteveBrown_001

 ”Surtur Rising” is the title for your upcoming record. So, what can you tell us about it? In my opinion it is even more melodic comparing to your previous release ”Twilight of the Thunder God”. As a matter of fact ”Surtur Rising” is musically much linked with your previous two full-lengths ”Twilight of the Thunder God” and ”With Oden On Our Side”. It’s like a natural development.
Yes it’s kind of natural development from our past records. I guess we’ll expanded our radar a little, some of the songs are probably the most brutal ones we ever done while others are the most epic and melodic. Our goal is not to write completely different style of music, instead we continue in the same line while adding some new elements such as orchestral parts and stuff like that. We wanted to make the widest album we could and I think we succeed pretty well.

So it seems that you have found the perfect way for Amon Amarth’s sound. But, none the less how would you like to label your music? It is noticeable that you would like to make a difference from so called Viking bands as Borknagar and Einherjer.
Well, I guess some people in the band made that comment. However I personally don’t mind the term Viking Metal, to me it makes sense since we have Viking lyrics and we play Metal. Indeed we found our style long ago and we try our best to maintain without repeating ourselves and adding some freshness into it.

Some tracks from the forthcoming record are indeed melodic with very catchy riffs. Even some songs have dose of keyboards in the background. Would you like to agree with me if I say that this is the most melodic album of Amon Amarth that you have composed so far?
When the album was done I had a feeling that this was the most epic and brutal album we done and at the same time also very melodic. Not sure if this is the most melodic album we done as whole album, however some of the songs are definite the most melodic we done. We used some orchestral arrangement to spice up things a little. We also used way more effects on some of the guitar parts to create more dynamics in the mix. Ever since Versus The World we started to add more and more traditional Heavy Metal riffing into our music and for every album we made ever since it also got more and more melodic, so I guess this is just our natural development just as I said in the begging.

Where did you record the new album and who was the producer? Also, who has done the cover artwork for the new issue? Both production and the cover are perfectly suiting for the music of Amon Amarth!
Album is produced and recorded by Jens Bogren at Fascination Street Studios and the cover artwork is done by Tom Thiel. Of course both production and cover fits us, otherwise we would not have used neither of it. This was the third album we did with Jens and we already made plans together with him on how we wanted it to sound before we started to write any music for it. Tom did tree album covers for us in the past and we always liked his style and when we had the idea for Surtur we knew Tom would make it phenomenal.

 What can you say us when it comes to the name of the album ”Surtur Rising”? Why did you entitle album like this and what is the lyrical background of the lyrics? It seems that this time you were more interesting in some mythological topics.
We had an idea for the cover and we knew quite in the beginning of the process that Surtur should be in the title. So when we got the first sketch of the cover, Surtur Rising was one of the first things that came into our minds. However the song that is based on the title is Destroyer Of The Universe, so in the end we decided to go for Surtur Rising instead of Destroyer… as title. Title track is about Surtur fighting Frej during the end of the world, Ragnarök. Mythological topics always interested us and this time I guess we had more ideas, however not all songs are mythological.

There are going to be various versions of ”Surtur Rising” record. Aside of regular CD version there is going to be big Digi-pack and LP releases with some bonuses as well. Please, can you say something about these different versions and the bonus tracks that these different versions are going to have.
As you already mentioned we have of course the regular CD version, then we have limited version with CD and DVD and Deluxe version with CD, DVD and a Action figure of Surtur. DVD on Limited and Deluxe is the four Bochum shows we did in the end of 2008, Bloodshed Over Bochum were we played four shows during four nights and four albums entirety. Once Sent…Avenger, Crusher and Versus… Deluxe version not only contains a very cool Action figure of Surtur, but also two cover songs. There is also some different LP versions as well.

There are going also to be two different covers on the new album War Machine (Kiss Cover) and Balls to the Wall (Accept Cover). It will be indeed interesting to check out these covers. So, why did you decide to do the cover versions from Kiss and Accept, is there any particular reason?
Both of these songs are something we grew up to and music you grew up to will always have a special place in your heart. There is of course tons of music we could have choose from, but in the end we felt that these two songs would be quite fun to cover. Accept song we didn’t do any re-arrangements at all, we just played it more or less how the original song is, except for heavier and growling vocals of course. On the Kiss song we really flipped out, we re-arranged a lot and I think it turned out as a great mix of Kiss and AA.

Are you going to perform these covers at some live shows? Also, I noticed that there will be many shows in North America and definitely in Europe some countries and cities are missed this time. Are you going now to be more focused on American market since you are already very big in Europe? Also, how about Japan market?
I honestly doubt we ever play them live since we have trouble finding room for all great AA song we would like to include in the set, but who knows, maybe we do some special sets in the future. No we are not focusing on any market more than any other. We just want to be at all “main” markets when the album comes out and we do not want to tour during the summer and therefore can’t do everything this spring. However we will do a full scale European tour after the summer and we will come back to Serbia as well. We played Japan for our first time last October at that was fun, so we’ll see what’s happening over there.

So far you have filmed many videos. Do you have any personal favorite if you need to choose between your videos? If you have bigger budget for one video does it automatically needs to be the best video? Do you plan to film any new videos for some tracks from the upcoming full-length?
My personal favorite is Cry Of The Black Birds, to me it’s very nice and stylish. More money doesn’t always have to make the video better, but it sure helps. We have plans to record a new video, however we will try something new and different this time, at least for us. I can’t really reveal the song yet, sorry.

And the final question. Through years Amon Amarth has become one of the most popular bands in Metal genre. There is no doubt that every magazine would like to have you guys on the cover. How do you feel about it? You must be very satisfied by the result so far. Are there any goals that you would like to reach in next years?
Of course we are satisfied, we could not ask for more and it feels really great that hard work finally pays off. I would just be happy if we can maintain where we are now, to me more success isn’t priority one, I rather prioritize that we can keep friends in the band and continue making music without any compromises. So my goal for next years would be to continue same path and way as we always done.

  • Answers by Olavi
    Interview was done by Marko Miranovic