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Interview: Johan Söderberg of Amon Amarth

We just did it for fun, and to go out and play shows, and get free beers (laughs), that was pretty much the goal in the band from the start

Comprising 12 monstrous heavy metal anthems that bulge with irresistible melodic hooks, bursts of thrilling savagery and moments of spine-tingling dynamic drama, Amon Amarth’s new album Berserker is the result of the huge surge of creativity and a collective desire to keep moving forward with no compromise. From the disarming melodrama and explosive riffing of opener “Fafner’s Gold” and the brutish simplicity of the rampaging “Crack The Sky” to the epic fury of “Raven’s Flight” and the grim, gritty storytelling of “Ironside” and “Skoll and Hati”, Berserker is an album full of trademark Amon Amarth bluster and bite but with every aspect of the band’s sound somehow refined, sonically enhanced and made vastly more potent, both in terms of metal oomph and emotional power. We caught up with guitarist Johan Söderberg to talk about the new album and more

H2Z: Berserker is now out, to my ears it has a much wider and thicker sound, what do you attribute that to?
JS: One thing is we have a new drummer in (insert name), and while he has been in the band for three years, this is our first time recording with him. He has made quite a significant change in our sound. Also this album is the first album we recorded with Jay Ruston and we also recorded in a new studio. Those three things really made this album so different

H2Z: How long was the writing process for the album?
JS: Pretty much a full year of just writing, and we did a lot of demos in real recording studios, so by the time we got to the studio in Los Angeles the songs were petty much finished like you hear on the album.

H2Z: I’m sure that made the process so much easier when you got to start work with Jay?
JS: Absolutely, I think so. Also we had a lot more time than before to listen back to the songs, and change stuff we didn’t like and also change the arrangements, here and there, and also pretty much we had 3 times to make changes to the songs before we started with Jay

H2Z: Amon Amarth is a two guitar band, how do you choose who plays the solos on particular songs?
JS: Usually if I write the songs, I will play the lead melody, and of course if Olavi writes the song he will play the lead melody, thats usually how we divide it up.

H2Z: What are some of your stand outs on Berserker?
JS: I really love the songs “Valkyria” and “Fafner’s Gold”. They would probably be my favourites on the album

H2Z: You also have the single “Raven’s Flight” out which will be the first in a trilogy of videos. Who comes up with the concept for the videos?
JS: That was the director Robosho’s idea to do the trilogy and the overall concept

H2Z: Berserker is your 11th album, did you ever think that 11 albums ago this would be your life?
JS: (laughs). We never really thought ahead that much when we started the band, We just did it for fun, and to go out and play shows, and get free beers (laughs), that was pretty much the goal in the band from the start. We just kept doing what we love and its grown and grown and grown, and here we are 11 albums later and our full time jobs

H2Z: Hopefully still with the free beers?
JS: Yeah (laughs) that will never stop being our goal (laughs)

H2Z: And finally, describe Amon Amarth in one word and one word only?
JS: Powerful!

We would like to thank Johan for his time. Amon Amarth’s “Berserker” is out now via Sony Music Australia

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