AMON AMARTH Guitarist Felt 'Huge Pressure' Making New Album

Joe Matera of recently conducted an interview with guitarist Johan Söderberg of Swedish death metallers AMON AMARTH. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below. When it came to the songwriting process for the new album, "Surtur Rising", what was it like?

Söderberg: It was pretty much the same as the last two albums. I started to write in January last year. Basically, the process is like this; I just play guitar to some simple beat in my home studio until I come up with stuff I like. I did that for about three months and then we started to rehearse. Olavi [Mikkonen] takes his ideas and I take mine, and we start to put it together in the rehearsal place. That's when Johan [Hegg] listens to the songs and he starts to write the lyrics. Usually we will rearrange some of the songs in the rehearsal place, too. Then we did a U.S tour in April, and when we got back from that, we continued to work out new songs and some days at home, to come up with new guitar parts. And then we went back to the rehearsal place to put it all together. When it came to this new record, was there much pressure on the band to top the success of the previous album "Twilight Of The Thunder God"?

Söderberg: I personally felt a huge pressure because "Twilight" is a great album and those songs are not easy to top. Lots of riffs and song ideas had to be put in the bin before they even made it to the rehearsal place. And it usually takes us about ten months to come up with ten songs that we feel are as good, or better than the last album. So the biggest pressure is that you know it has to be done by a certain time 'cause the date for when the recording starts, is not easy to move because then everything else has to move to along with release date and tours. If you postpone the recording by two weeks, you might have to postpone the release date by six months. Do you prefer the studio environment to the live stage?

Söderberg: I think they are both equally fun. When I have been touring for maybe one and a half years or more like we usually do on each album, I start to miss the songwriting process and the studio. And when the new album is finished, I can't wait to go out on tour again to play the new songs live. I can't really write any new material after the recording is done either, as I have to be out touring for some time to get the urge back to start writing again. It is like a continuous cycle. What do you think of the association of death or metal bands in general and their association with Satanism, do you think this is an ignorant notion and one perpetuated mostly by Christians?

Söderberg: If someone makes a movie about Satan, nobody thinks that the director or the actors are sitting at home worshiping Satan. But if a band writes songs about Satan, some people instantly make the assumption that these guys are sitting at home worshipping Satan. I think that almost all bands that have lyrics about Satanism, have them in order to make the songs have a dark feeling about them, just like a horror movie. If you make the most brutal riff you can, it doesn't really fit to have lyrics about flowers in spring time.

Read the entire interview from


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