Anthony Toto of Pop-Break.com recently conducted an interview with vocalist Johan Hegg of Swedish death metallers AMON AMARTH. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Pop-Break.com: 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.
Pop-Break.com: 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.
Pop-Break.com: 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.
Pop-Break.com: 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.
Pop-Break.com: 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.
Playfalse Events officially announced that Amon Amarth return to Greece for two live events, in Athens on Friday 9th at Fuzz Live Music Club and Thessaloniki Saturday 10th of May 2014 at Principal Club Theater!
See bellow the official poster.
Johan Hegg (AMON AMARTH), Lars Göran Petrov (ENTOMBED) and Tomas Lindberg (AT THE GATES, THE GREAT DECEIVER, LOCKUP, DISFEAR, THE CROWN) joined Swedish death metallers VOMITORY on stage at the band's last-ever show on December 27, 2013 at Metal Clüb / Nöjesfabriken in Karlstad, Sweden. Fan-filmed video footage of the concert can be seen below.
VOMITORY announced its decision to disband in February 2013, explaining in a statement: "After 24 years, eight albums and hundreds of live shows across 30 countries, we have finally come to the end of the road. We in the band — Tobias, Urban, Erik and Peter — have made the collective decision to end VOMITORY by the end of 2013. It has been a blast on all accounts, but all good things come to to an end, and for VOMITORY, it is now."
VOMITORY's eighth full-length album, "Opus Mortis VIII", was released in 2011 via Metal Blade Records. The CD was recorded at Leon Music Studios outside Karlstad, Sweden with producer Rikard Löfgren.
Erik Rundqvist - Bass/Vocals
Mark Holmes of Metal Discovery conducted an interview with drummer Fredrik Andersson of Swedish death metallers AMON AMARTH on November 13 in Manchester, England. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Metal Discovery: You've experienced your biggest sales and highest ever chart positions with the new record, "Deceiver Of The Gods", so how good did that feel when the general industry trend is a decline in record sales?
Fredrik: Well, we've been fortunate enough to have had the success chart from our first album. The next album has always done a little bit better than the last one, so we don't really see any big differences from album to album. I mean, it's not really that important; the chart positions aren't really that important to us. The only benefit to us is, I guess, to put us on the map for promoters to get shows booked and stuff like that. People know that we will pull a crowd.
Metal Discovery: You've done three albums in a row with Jens Bogren producing but you came over [to England] to Derbyshire to record with Andy Sneap for the latest one. Why did you decide to change producers at this stage?
Fredrik: I think we felt that, after three albums, we needed some fresh blood into the system and we felt that we had reached the level of what we could reach with Jens Bogren. So we needed something new and some new input onto the music and the band. Obviously, Andy Sneap has been in our mind for many years, I think even before we started working with Jens, but it didn't work out schedule-wise for whatever reason. So, this time, it worked out and it was the right time.
Metal Discovery: It was also mentioned in press materials for the last album, "Surtur Rising", that you were aiming for a more "aggressive and rougher sound" too. Looking back now, having worked with Andy, do you think Jens fell short of the aggression and raw energy you were trying to capture?
Fredrik: Well, I think we had a little bit of a disagreement on the last album with which direction we wanted to go. And that's also one of the reasons why we felt we needed to move on, because he took decisions that the rest of the band weren't really okay with. It was like having a sixth member but the sixth member was taking charge, basically. We didn't feel comfortable with that.
Metal Discovery: You had the legendary Messiah Marcolin [CANDLEMASS] guest on the track "Hel", so how did that come about?
Fredrik: I think he and our singer [Johan Hegg] met many years ago and just became friends, so he came up to one of our shows in Stockholm a couple of years ago and we ended up on the bus, drinking all night and talking about doing a duet with him and Johan. And nothing really happened about it but, when we wrote the music for this song, it has this doomy feeling and we felt that would be the perfect opportunity to call him in. And he was still up for it.
Read the entire interview at Metal Discovery.
The official lyric video for the song "As Loke Falls" from Swedish death metallers AMON AMARTH can be seen below. The track comes off the band's ninth studio album, "Deceiver Of The Gods", sold around 17,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 19 on The Billboard 200 chart. The record arrived in stores on June 25 via Metal Blade Records.
In Germany, "Deceiver Of The Gods" entered the Top 100 chart at No. 3, the official Media Market/Saturn chart at #3 and the German Media Control Weekend Trend chart at No. 2.
"Deceiver Of The Gods" came in at No. 9 on Canada's Top 200 chart, No. 2 on the Hard Music chart and No. 21 on the Digital Music chart. Additionally, the record came in at No. 2 on the iTunes Metal chart, No. 2 on the iTunes Rock chart and No. 7 on the iTunes Top 200.
In the U.K., the record entered the official album chart at No. 67, the Rock/Metal chart at No. 4 and the Independent chart at No. 14, marking the highest U.K. chart placements for the band yet.
Elsewhere, "Deceiver Of The Gods" came in at No. 9 on the Top 100 album chart in Switzerland, No. 7 on the Austrian Top 100, No. 9 in Sweden, No. 27 in Denmark, No. 51 in France, No. 34 in Czech Republic and No. 51 in Hungary.
Recorded at Backstage Studios in Derbyshire, United Kingdom, and produced, mixed and mastered by Andy Sneap (OPETH, MEGADETH, EXODUS, ARCH ENEMY, KILLSWITCH ENGAGE), "Deceiver Of The Gods" delivers ten fiery battle hymns made of buzzsaw riffs and epic harmonies all driven by vocalist Johan Hegg's commanding Viking roar and absorbing accounts of Norse crusades and treachery.
"Deceiver Of The Gods" comes adorned with another outstanding Tom Thiel-created cover portraying a mythical battle between the Norse Gods Loki and Thor. As an added bonus,Messiah Marcolin (CANDLEMASS) makes an appearance as guest vocalist on eighth track,"Hel".
AMON AMARTH will embark on a U.S. headlining tour in January. Very special guest on the dates will be ENSLAVED, with additional support from SKELETONWITCH.
Swedish death metallers AMON AMARTH have provided an exclusive track-by-track breakdown of "Deceiver Of The Gods", their ninth studio album, to Sweden's Access: Rock. Check it out in two parts below.
"Deceiver Of The Gods" sold around 17,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 19 on The Billboard 200 chart. The record arrived in stores on June 25 via Metal Blade Records.
AMON AMARTH's 2011 CD, "Surtur Rising", opened with around 15,000 units to debut at No. 34. The band's 2008 album, "Twilight Of The Thunder God", registered a first-week tally of more than 11,000 copies to enter the chart at No. 48.