For roughly three decades, Amon Amarth singer Johan Hegg has been writing epic metal lyrics. As of this month, the band have released their 12th studio album, The Great Heathen Army. While the album does involve more of Hegg’s trademark Viking fantasy lyricism, the writer-singer also features a greater range in his storytelling chops.
During a conversation with Metal Injection, Hegg was asked if there is a lot of research involved in writing such albums like The Great Heathen Army and that of 2016’s Jomsviking (given how much Viking lore and mythology makes up Amon Amarth’s lyrics). Speaking to his writing process, Johan Hegg shares the following:
“I mean, for Jomsviking it was definitely a lot of research going in. I actually wrote a movie script basically that we based the whole story on. The story is loosely based on the saga of the Jomsvikings, which is an actual book from the 12th century. So it’s loosely based on that. I’ve used that story as the backdrop for the general story. So there was a lot of research going into writing that story, obviously, but otherwise I do a bit of both.
“Depending on what type of lyric and what I want to talk about and whether it’s more historical, mythological or actually sometimes more temporary where I want to use metaphors, I can loosely take a story that I know and kind of use that as a backdrop or even create my own story based on what I know about Vikings and the Viking mythology. But other times, like for instance the title track and ‘Saxons and Vikings,’ I definitely did a lot of research about the Heathen Army and what they did to get it correct, you know? So yeah, it’s a bit of both.”
Johan Hegg was then asked if that movie script might ever be turned into an actual movie, to which the singer shared this:
“The problem with historical movies is that they’re really, really expensive to make. But I think that the story is really good. I really love the story. And yeah, maybe I’ll send the script to someone who can clean it up for me. There’s probably a ton of unnecessary stuff in there, but who knows?”
What are your thoughts on the new Amon Amarth album, The Great Heathen Army? Of the band’s current catalog, what is your favorite album of theirs?