Swedish death metallers AMON AMARTH will release their new album, "Berserker", on May 3 via Metal Blade Records. The disc was recorded at Sphere Studios in North Hollywood, California with producer Jay Ruston, who has previously worked with ANTHRAX, STEEL PANTHER, URIAH HEEP and STONE SOUR.
The album's first single, "Raven's Flight", can be streamed below.
"The previous album was a concept album, but we didn't want to get into a situation where every album has to be a concept record, so this is different," stated frontman Johan Hegg. "We wanted to step away from that and look at being a little bit more diverse, with the lyrics and everything else. I got ideas from lots of different things, from history stuff and mythological sources. Sometimes you just get something in your head and there doesn't have to be a bigger meaning behind it — sometimes it's just a great metal lyric that fits with a great metal song. And these are fucking great metal songs.
"For me, this is AMON AMARTH 2.0," Hegg continued. "I think what we've done here is give ourselves the space to explore other parts of our musicality and who we are as a band. If you're content with where you're at, what's the point of continuing? We always want to come up with new ideas and find new ways of doing things and to create bigger and better shows and really try to improve every aspect of what the band is. We want to try to keep growing and to do this for as long as we have the possibility to do so, because this is the best fucking job in the world."
"Berserker" track listing:
01. Fafner's Gold
02. Crack The Sky
03. Mjolner, Hammer Of Thor
04. Shield Wall
06. Raven's Flight
08. The Berserker At Stamford Bridge
09. We Can Set Our Sails
10. When Once Again
11. Wings Of Eagles
12. Into The Dark
Hegg told Revolver magazine that the only lyrical idea he had before the music was done was a song called "The Berserker At Stamford Bridge".
"A friend of mine told me about the story and said I should write lyrics about it, which I thought was a great idea because it's such an awesome story," he said. " Basically, it's at the end of the Viking era. The Vikings are in England, and they've been very successful in beating the English, because what the Vikings did better than the English is that they moved fast and they moved during the night. But at the Battle of Stamford Bridge, the English used the Vikings' tactics against them, so they caught the Vikings by surprise. The Vikings were too far away from their supply ships, so they had to retreat. The Vikings were about 3000 men, and the English were 15,000. So they retreated over Stamford Bridge, but in order to halt the English army, they sent one guy with an ax out on the bridge."
Asked if there are any other songs based on specific events, Hegg said: "Not specific events, though 'Shield Wall' is based on a real Viking battle tactic — but it's also about sticking together in the face of adversity. Then there's more introverted stuff, as well — songs that kind of relate to my private life, and I got the ideas for those songs from my wife. I got a lot of ideas from other people on this album, actually. I like working in metaphors, though. Mikael Stanne from DARK TRANQUILLITY told me that when he writes lyrics, he keeps them intentionally vague so that people can interpret the lyrics in a way that benefits them most. I like that, and I realized it's something I've done as well."
"Jomsviking" debuted at No. 19 on The Billboard 200 chart in March 2016. The disc was released via Metal Blade in North America and Sony Music internationally. The first concept record in AMON AMARTH's career was produced and mixed by Andy Sneap (JUDAS PRIEST, MEGADETH, TESTAMENT, ACCEPT).
AMON AMARTH enlisted a session drummer, Tobias Gustafsson (VOMITORY, CUT UP), during the recording sessions for "Jomsviking", following the departure of longtime drummer Fredrik Andersson. The band tapped OCTOBER TIDE drummer Jocke Wallgren as Andersson's permanent replacement three years ago.