Anthony Toto of recently conducted an interview with vocalist Johan Hegg of Swedish death metallers AMON AMARTH. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below. On “Deceiver Of The Gods”, the sound is heavily focused on melody with guitar leads and musical passages reminiscent of bands like IRON MAIDEN. You guys weren’t afraid to wear your influences on your sleeve this time around.

Johan Hegg: We always were influenced by a lot of bands before us but they were just never put into the albums or music before. On this album, we weren’t really afraid of showing those influences so that’s why you could notice it more. I think we managed to use those influences and make it onto our own but with a new twist. One thing I appreciate about your band is the usage of imagery in your music; your lyrical content paints a picture of the stories you are trying to convey. The lyrics on your albums read like novels.

Johan Hegg: Yeah, I mean, that’s the way we always worked when it comes to writing lyrics. It’s nothing really new and it’s just the way we have done it throughout the years. Bringing up IRON MAIDEN again, you look at different IRON MAIDEN album covers and Eddie‘s [IRON MAIDEN‘s mascot] presence draws in listeners from a visual standpoint. In a similar sense, your albums “Twilight Of The Thunder God”“Sulfur Rising” or “Deceiver Of The Gods”, the covers have such an incredible mystique. What is the importance of having a great album cover? What does it mean for you in terms of showcasing your music?

Johan Hegg: For us, especially growing up in the Eighties with IRON MAIDEN album covers and stuff like that, we loved those types of album covers; all of them. The album covers are definitely important for us. We want them to be powerful, majestic, epic, and all those themes to fit the music. That’s why we wanted to do that with our album covers. We wanted the covers to properly sit in front or our albums and CDs. That’s because of where come from as music fans ourselves. Consistency in writing and performing has played a huge role in keeping this band alive and growing in terms of popularity. This lineup of the band has been together since 1998; could describe the chemistry of working with the same group of musicians for such a long time?

Johan Hegg: Yeah, I mean, it’s hard to describe why it works and why it doesn’t work for some other bands because obviously, I have only been in this band. Laughs] I have no other reference really. We’re just five guys with the same kind of goals, determination, and love of music. Obviously, that helps. I think the fact that we share everything equally; workload and money-wise as well. It’s always been a team effort for our band and I think that’s very important. Being from Sweden, what is your take on AT THE GATES recording a new album?

Johan Hegg: I think it’s awesome and I’m really curious to see how that comes out. I listened to them a few weeks ago and they are still a big influence on my band. I’m very excited. I think it’s the right move for them if they want to continue doing this reunion. They need to put something out there. I have feeling that it is going to be something spectacular because I don’t think they would release anything less than what they would be satisfied with themselves. I’m really looking forward to hearing what they come up with.

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