Since their humble start in 1992 as an underground band from Tumba, a suburb in southern Stockholm, AMON AMARTH have managed to establish themselves as one of Europe’s top death metal acts through hard work, relentless touring, and consistently solid albums. “In the beginning it was just fun to play in our own band with our own songs, and getting a gig at the local youth recreation centre was a goal big enough,“ recalls guitarist and main songwriter Olli Mikkonen. “Of course, goals change as you fulfill them. I always thought we had something special going on, it was just matter of time to convince everyone else.”
What has set AMON AMARTH apart from the rest of the death metal scene since the very beginning, is their use of Viking mythology and imagery in lyrics and artwork, as well as a talent for writing epic, memorable melodies, which underline their solemn yet barbaric approach to heavy music. “For me the ‘Viking theme’ and the Norse mythology is more a philosophy of life”, explains singer Johan Hegg. “It's a topic we all can stand for and that I think appeals to a lot of people, even though it also meant we had to fight a lot of prejudices. Especially here in Sweden, where the stereotypical view is that people who sing about the Viking heritage are racists. I think we made the right choice though, and I think our music and our lyrics are very closely connected. They suit each other perfectly!“
The band went through the usual demo recordings and line-up changes in the beginning stages, but soon made its first mark with the MCD “Sorrow Throughout The Nine Worlds”. A one-off affair with (of all places) Singapore’s Pulverized Records, this MCD did not only plant AMON AMARTH’s flag in the underground metal landscape, but also gained the band a multi-album deal with the renowned Metal Blade Records. The recording sessions for “Sorrow…” also turned out to be the beginning of a fruitful working relationship with Peter Tägtgren at his Abyss Studios, a relationship that would last until Tägtgren’s “retirement” from producing in the year 2001.
“Once Sent From The Golden Hall”, the group’s Metal Blade debut, was released in 1998, and saw the band touring with such genre greats as Deicide, Six Feet Under, and Brutal Truth. The same year, drummer Martin Lopez left the band to pursue a career with Opeth, being replaced by Fredrik Andersson (previously in A Canarous Quintet). This would be the last line-up change in the band’s career. With a steady formation and an admirable work ethic, AMON AMARTH went on to record and release the albums “The Avenger” (1999) and “The Crusher” (2001) within a time period of two years, touring the European continent extensively in support of these releases. Sharing the stage with the likes of Morbid Angel, Marduk, and Vader, and touring the US for the first time in 2002, the band developed their live act into an unstoppable force, which by now has become one of the pillars of their ever-growing popularity.
Following a glorious gig at Wacken 2002, the band went into Berno Studios to record “Versus The World”, an album where all the elements that comprise the band’s style, sound, and essence fell right into place. AMON AMARTH toured incessantly to promote this album (3 American and 2 European tours, no less), the press woke up to their qualities, and legions of followers put the band on one level with those acts who had dominated the scene for years on end.
“Fate Of Norns”, Amon Amarth’s new album, was again recorded at Berno Studios. When asked about the difference between it and their previous efforts, Mikkonen said: “However clichéd it might sound, I have to say the difference is stronger songs. Johan Söderberg contributed to the songwritting much more this time than on previous albums, which gives the songs a new touch and a new vision. We also left a few songs unfinished until we entered the studio just to get a chance to improvise and try out different stuff, as well as getting another point of view on the songs, in this case from Berno Paulsson, the main guy at Berno studio. We put much more energy in the production than we've done before.“
A heavy and majestic offering, “Fate Of Norns” will thrill the fans and win over many more. The band will again tour extensively, for the first time enjoying a hard-earned headliner status in Europe. “As I see it, we still have much more to give,” concludes Mikkonen, “and, as long as we are hungry, we will continue to do what we love: Play metal in AMON AMARTH!”