Monday, January 7, 2019

in case you missed it: Amon Amarth

Fans of melodic death metal and dedicated fans of Amon Amarth have something to really dig into. Collectors of all things Amon Amarth should be pleased with band's effort to give you something that is much more than a routine live album. There is lots of music to digest and it can't be done in one sitting, basically. In addition, the story of the band is told for those that do not know it or that only know it in parts. The band is known for putting attention to detail and making quality albums that the band and its fans can be proud of, and this is no different. Check out the official information below.
Amon Amarth
The Pursuit of Vikings: Live at Summer Breeze
Metal Blade Records
Release: 16 November 2018
The name says it all - The Pursuit Of Vikings: 25 Years In The Eye Of The Storm. Since their inception, Amon Amarth have consistently - and increasingly - proven themselves a true force of nature in modern metal, and this timely set stands as a testament to everything that they have achieved. A retrospective documentary that includes a wealth of live and behind the scenes footage alongside extensive interviews with the members, it tells the Swedish quintet’s story through both their own eyes and those of the fans that have supported them along the way, and it is a thrilling collection that pays respect to their faithful as well as making for a detailed and riveting introduction for those new to their inspiring story. Furthermore, it includes the band’s two outstanding sets at 2017’s Summer Breeze Festival, both as audio and video, capturing the unit at their very best.
For the band, producer Alexander Milas and director Phil Wallis, The Pursuit Of Vikings has been a true labor of love. “I think I first became conscious of Amon Amarth around the release of 2002’s 'Versus the World',” Milas states. “It was a really transitional time for metal, and it seemed there wasn’t a credible band on the heavier end of the scale that hadn’t in some way responded to or been influenced by the pioneering sounds of the Swedish death metal scene, but I distinctly remember thinking that there was something unique about these guys: the artwork, the thematic underpinnings, even that curiously timeless logo.” While their sound certainly displays strong echoes of the nation that birthed them, Amon Amarth arguably wield a unique aura, a “lusciously crafted escapism” that Milas likens to the classic bands he grew up with: Dio, Maiden, and others who exist on a spectrum of their own making.
Through a combination of incredible songwriting, exemplary consistency across their ten full-lengths, ferocious live shows and a work ethic that is second to none, Amon Amarth have managed to remain relevant without ever compromising the things that have always driven them. Never once wavering from the vision that has been around since their early days, their longevity can also be attributed to their status as outsiders, something that has never ceased working in their favor. “They were never really a product of the Swedish death metal scene, which was very centered on Stockholm,” Milas explains. “They were from a humble suburb, and so they were never really perceived as an integral part of that community. There's no question that was a challenge at the beginning, but not having to conform to the sometimes bullshit unwritten rules of local scenes has contributed to their strength, I think. It's like they're immune to trends and fashion, and certainly scene politics. It gives them and their music a genuineness and sincerity that comes from a real integrity about what they're doing.” This is something that became very apparent while in the process of making The Pursuit Of Vikings, and time and again the band demonstrating great savvy when it comes to knowing what is right and wrong for Amon Amarth as a unit, which is also a product of them being a true democracy of genuine friends. “On top of that, they’ve also got this incredible commitment to making things great for their fans, and it’s the respect with which they treat their audience that keeps people coming back, I think. There’s a real culture and community around Amon Amarth that you just can't build overnight.”
That the package also features the band’s triumphant showing at Summer Breeze truly hammers home that after a quarter of a century they are at the height of their powers. Having played the German festival numerous times over the years, and loving the family vibe they have always experienced there, Amon Amarth leapt at the chance to appear twice in the same year. Playing a secret, smaller scale set that focused primarily on older material and then headlining the main stage with full production - including their giant sea serpent and lots of fire - allowed them to showcase their songs at their best, though putting together setlists from such a mighty catalogue was not the easiest of tasks. “For the first night we wanted to write a set that the fans would enjoy by wholly diving into our back catalogue, but we knew we needed to add some newer material too,” explains guitarist Olavi Mikkonen. “Putting the shows together also made us realize that we have a lot of songs to choose from!” The riveting performances combined with the fevered reaction of those in attendance get the viewer as close as possible to having been there. “Both shows were amazing, and the crowd was insane for the headline show,” Mikkonen enthuses. “It looked like a sea of people that never ended, and for me, that was the highlight, just looking out and seeing everyone having a good time and singing along.”
On a personal note, Milas’ involvement follows on from a lengthy career in music journalism that includes flying the flag for heavy metal at Kerrang! as a contributor, at Metal Hammer as editor and then as an award-winning editor-in-chief - and successfully spearheading an initiative to get Heavy Metal logged as a religion on the 2011 UK Census - before starting his own creative solutions company, Twin V Ltd. in 2016. “At the end of such an immensely rewarding project it was a huge honor and a near-impossible task to be asked to write the foreword for this collection - and to try to summarize my feelings about these awesome people who I've come to know. To say something worthy of their remarkable career was a real challenge, and I felt very humbled to be asked.” There is, of course, no doubt in his mind that there is no better way to commemorate this point in their career than The Pursuit Of Vikings, and this is undoubtedly something that fans will echo. “Something that was immediately apparent to myself and our tireless director Phil, who went to tremendous lengths to capture the band’s voice, is that Amon Amarth really walked through fire to get to that point, and I think it's a function of their humility and possibly their culture that they've never really disclosed what they experienced to get here. Phil’s directed a truly remarkable story, and crucially I think it gives dimension not just to their music, but to who they are as people.” Likewise, the members of Amon Amarth are understandably proud of The Pursuit Of Vikings and everything that it represents, and are thrilled to be able to share the finished product. “We hope that this documentary inspires you, and that you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed making it,” states vocalist Johan Hegg. “We finally tell our tale of being heavy metal kids from a small suburban town, and we turned something we loved into our careers.” --Bio by: Dan Slessor.
Amon Amarth line-up:
Johan Hegg - Vocals
Ted Lundstrom - Bass
Johan Soderberg - Guitar
Olavi Mikkonen - Guitar
Jocke Wallgren - Drums

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