Heavy Metal Viking Style: Amon Amarth
One of the most appealing qualities of heavy metal has always been its defiance of popular trends. While other genres of music groveled for ‘crossover appeal’ and mainstream acceptance, heavy metal has always been unapologetic about what it is. In the 1990’s, the plague of ‘nu metal’ struck. ‘Nu Metal’ fused watered down heavy metal riffs with mopey, introspective lyrics more commonly associated with bad ‘adult contemporary’ artists.
Fortunately, the cancerous tumor in the body of heavy metal is now in remission and the tide is turning back. Part of the cure has blown across the Norse sea like a cold winter monsoon and has now reached American shores. Amon Amarth is a band from Tumba, Sweden founded in 1992 who are the latest”and most commercially successful”proponent of a genre known as Viking metal. As the name implies, bands from the Viking metal genre sing about important topics such as sailing, lusting for adventure and conquest, furious winds and treacherous seas. Viking metal bands are too busy metaphorically conquering and pillaging to worry about such trivialities as their feelings, let alone grooming themselves.
Amon Amarth took their name from a location in J.R.R. Tolkiens Middle Earth, and their name means Mount Doom in the Elvish language of Sindarin. Drawing musical inspiration from bands such as Bolt Thrower and their Viking metal predecessors Bathory and Enslaved, who in turn took their cue from the great American band Manowar, Amon Amarth plays their own unique style of melodic death metal. While they are hesitant to identify themselves as Viking metal, they take most of their lyrical content from Viking history and Norse mythology.
The band signed with Metal Blade Records in 1998 and their popularity has skyrocketed worldwide. 2006s With Oden On Our Side earned the band headliner status in North American and has made them one of the most popular metal acts in the US.
Amon Amarth recently extended their deal with Metal Blade records and released their latest album in September 2008 called ‘Twilight of the Thunder God’. The album continues their thematic examination of their Viking ancestors, and has become their biggest seller to date.
Heavy metal is gaining strength and resuming its powerful greatness under the marauding sound of Amon Amarth. The band tours constantly, so dont miss their brutal onslaught when they come to a town near you.