Metal Wani's Anne Catherine Swallow recently conducted an interview with guitarist Johan Söderberg of Swedish death metallers AMON AMARTH. You can now listen to the chat below. A couple of excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the decision to enlist guest drummer Tobias Gustafsson (VOMITORY) to play on the band's upcoming album, "Jomsviking":
Johan: "Actually, Tobias, he's an old friend of the band, and we instantly contacted him to make the album with us, because we knew he's a very positive guy and has great, creative ideas. We wanted to have somebody we knew very well when we wrote the album. Because it would have felt strange to start to write an album with somebody we never met before. He was only in the band for the making of the album. Now we're actually looking for a new drummer that's gonna be a permanent solution for the touring season. We have one guy we're trying at the moment that's gonna start the touring cycle, and then we will see if he has the potential to grow into the band on a personal level."
On how Doro Pesch came to guest on the song "A Dream That Cannot Be":
Johan: "Because this story has a very prominent character in the shape of a woman, so it felt… When he goes back in the story to try to win her back. We felt like that part of the story needed to have also female vocals. And then we started to think who could fit… which voice would into our style of music, and pretty much instantly we were thinking about Doro, since she has [a lot of character and a] heavy metal-sounding voice."
Drummer Fredrik Andersson left AMON AMARTH in March 2015 after 17 years.
"Jomsviking" will be released on March 25 via Metal Blade in North America and Sony Music internationally. The first concept record in AMON AMARTH's storied career tells a tragic tale of love and revenge, backed by the Swedes' trademark melodic, anthemic metal, which was produced and mixed once again by Andy Sneap (MEGADETH, TESTAMENT, ACCEPT). The epic original story is set in the world of the Jomsvikings, the legendary order of mercenary Vikings.
AMON AMARTH frontman Johan Hegg explains: "The Jomsvikings were a shadowy and legendary sect of Viking mercenaries, as shrouded in myth now as they were when they fought across Europe and the Middle East. Ruthless and deadly warriors who fought for the highest bidder, their code was simple: Show no fear. Never retreat. Defend your brothers, and when called upon, avenge their deaths."
He continues: "I felt we were finally ready to use their story as the jumping off point for an AMON AMARTH album. The Jomsvikings and their world is the background for the story of a young man that is in love with a girl but unfortunately she's being married off. He accidentally kills a man when this happens and he has to flee — but he swears to have revenge and win her back. He can't let go of the past. He feels that he's been wronged and his life has been destroyed. The way the story evolves is not a happy story."
By far AMON AMARTH's most ambitious project to date, "Jomsviking" is available for pre-order in various formats now at AmonAmarth.com, where fans can also view the video for the album's first single, "First Kill". Produced by Grupa 13 and directed by Darek Szermanowicz (BEHEMOTH), "First Kill" was filmed in Gohrweide (Germany) and Warsaw (Poland) and features a cinematic depiction of the violent, brutal lyrics, along with powerful live footage of the band performing with their full dragon head and pyro stage set.
"Jomsviking" track listing:
01. First Kill
03. On A Sea Of Blood
04. One Against All
05. Raise Your Horns
06. The Way Of Vikings
07. At Dawn's First Light
08. One Thousand Burning Arrows
09. Vengeance Is My Name (bonus track - for digibook, digital, LP, and viking ship editions)
10. A Dream That Cannot Be (feat. Doro Pesch)
11. Back On Northern Shores
Adds Hegg: "'Deceiver Of The Gods' was very successful for us and we had a good run with that and did some really great tours. Even before we changed drummers for this record we had the idea to make a concept album. It was something we'd never done before and it gave us a challenge. I started writing the story, went into it wholeheartedly and once you start going down that path there's really no turning back."
Following "Jomsviking"'s release, AMON AMARTH will tour North America with fellow Swedes ENTOMBED A.D. and young USA metal upstarts EXMORTUS. For the first time, AMON AMARTH will be offering special VIP packages for the trek, which can be found here.