"Surtur Rising", the eighth studio album from Swedish melodic death metal tyrants AMON AMARTH, sold around 15,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 34 on The Billboard 200 chart. The band's previous CD, "Twilight of the Thunder God", opened with more than 11,000 copies back in 2008 to land at No. 48.
Named in tribute to Surtur, leader of the fire giants of Muspelheim ("flame land") and the oldest being in the nine worlds of Norse mythology, "Surtur Rising", which came out in North America on March 29 via Metal Blade Records, features 10 tracks of sword-wielding, fist-pumping, hyper climactic battle anthems. The album was once again recorded at Fascination Street Studios in Örebro, Sweden with Jens Bogren and features strikingly brutal cover art by Tom Thiel.
"Surtur Rising" track listing:
01. War Of The Gods
02. Töck's Taunt - Loke's Treachery Part II
03. Destroyer Of The Universe
04. Slaves Of Fear
05. Live Without Regrets
06. The Last Stand of Frej
07. For Victory Or Death
08. Wrath Of The Norsemen
09. A Beast Am I
10. Doom Over Dead Man
Vocalist Johan Hegg was interviewed on the January 28-30, 2011 edition of Full Metal Jackie's nationally syndicated radio show. When asked about the title of AMON AMARTH's new album, Hegg said, "Surtur is a very intriguing character in the Scandinavian mythology. Basically, he's one of the oldest existing beings in the Universe. He was there when the Universe was created and also at the end of the world, [during the events of] Ragnarök, which is like the Norse Armageddon, he will arise to burn everything. So he's kind of responsible for... He was there when the world was created, but he's also responsible for when the end comes. He's connected with flames and fire... He's a fire giant, so to speak."
Regarding the the new CD's production, he said, "I think that we felt that with the previous album [2008's 'Twilight Of The Thunder God'], it was good production, but we felt it kind of lacked a little bit of an edge. It's nothing that we noticed right away; it's kind of when you listen to the album for a little while, you realize that it felt like something was missing from the production. We wanted a bit more aggression, a little bit more guitar in the production to make it more heavy and aggressive — an angrier sound, almost — so that's definitely something what we went for. Also kind of trying to explore the more brutal side of the songwriting, so that also came into play."
On the topic of once again working with producer Jens Bogren, Hegg said, "He's very meticulous, he's very thorough in his work, and he cares very much about the production and we felt that when we sat down and talked to him about some of the stuff that we wanted to develop and [achieve] with this recording, we felt that he really had good ideas and we felt that he had a commitment to the band and to the recording that was really something that we wanted to have other than the production. And he's just a great guy to work with; he's almost like a slavedriver when you're in the studio, but then again he gets results, and that's also what we need — somebody to kick us in the butt to get things the way they should be. [Laughs]"