Protector of mankind
Ride to meet your fate
Your destiny awaits!
Thor! Hlódyn's son
Protector of mankind
Ride to meet your fate
Amon Amarth is a Swedish Melodic Death Metal band from Tumba, founded in 1988, and is named after the Sindarin name for Mount Doom (literally "Hill of Doom" or "Hill of Fate"), a location in J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth. They are known for a very dark sound with imagery taken largely from Vikings and Norse Mythology.
The band comprises vocalist Johan Hegg, guitarists Olavi Mikkonen and Johan Söderberg, bassist Ted Lundström and drummer Jocke Wallgren. Amon Amarth has released eleven studio albums, one EP, one DVD, and six music videos.
- Once Sent from the Golden Hall (1998)
- The Avenger (1999)
- The Crusher (2001)
- Versus the World (2002)
- Fate of Norns (2004)
- With Oden on Our Side (2006)
- Twilight of the Thunder God (2008)
- Surtur Rising (2011)
- Deceiver of the Gods (2013)
- Jomsviking (2016)
- Berserker (2019)
- The Great Heathen Army (2022)
Valhall awaits me...
Tropes of the Thunder God:
- All Myths Are True: At least as far as the ones concerning Norse gods. They sing about the death of Norse gods, ascending to Valhalla, and the coming of Ragnarök as if they're all true.
- Apocalypse Wow: Many songs depict Ragnarök or allude to it, such as Tattered Banners and Bloody Flags, and half the songs of the Surtur Rising album.
- Attack! Attack! Attack!: This is an actual line in "Cry Of The Black Birds".
- Ax-Crazy: "Valhall Awaits Me" has the singer block an attack with his shield, drop the shield, grab his axe and sword, then kill a bunch of his enemies while Dual Wielding. The whole time, he's singing about how great it is to be "covered in blood and brains".
- The Berserker:
- "Valhall Awaits Me" has the singer killing hordes of enemies with a sword in one hand, and an axe in the other hand.
- In "One Against All", the song's protagonist and the crew of his ship are attacked at sea by the Jomsvikings. While the protagonist's crew members attempt to flee (and are all killed), the protagonist fights against the entire Jomsviking crew all by himself while wielding a sword in each hand. The leader of the Jomsvikings is so impressed with the protagonist's bravery and ferocity in the face of certain death that he orders his men to stand down.
- Big Badass Battle Sequence: Quite a few, of course. "An Ancient Sign of Coming Storm" is only this.
- Big Damn Heroes: Thor shows up in "Twilight of the Thunder God" to "grab the snake, firmly by its tongue" and kill Jogrmandr by smashing it with his hammer.
- Bittersweet Ending: The protagonist of Jomsviking is rejected by the woman he desired for years, and his quest for vengeance against the Earl results in him falling into the ocean and drowning during a battle. But after his death, he is escorted into Valhalla by Freya herself.
- Blood Knight: A lot of characters in their songs. Arguably the best example is the Ax-Crazy protagonist of "Where Silent Gods Stand Guard":The last head falls to the ground
No one is left alive
They thought that they could take me down
But it's not my time to die
I wipe the blood from my sword
And slide it in my belt
This is the sweetest of rewards
The best rush I have felt!
- Bragging Theme Tune:
- "Twilight of the Thunder God" and "Asator" are both about how Thor is awesome. This is despite Thor dying in the former, because he dies in battle with the World Serpent.
- "Cause we are! We're the guardians! GUARDIANS OF ASGAARD!"
- "Down the Slopes of Death", which is about Odin's last stand.
- Call-and-Response Song: "A Dream that Can Never Be", with Johann voicing the protagonist of the album, now a Jomsviking, and Doro Pesch singing as his Old Flame who refuses to join his new life.
- Concept Album:
- Once Sent from the Golden Hall seems to tell a story about five Viking warriors who invade a Christian country and Rape, Pillage, and Burn everything in sight in order to get revenge for the death of the son of one of them.
- Jomsviking is explicitly based on the Jomsvikings, a semi-legendary band of devoutly pagan Norse mercenaries and brigands of the 10th and 11th centuries.
- Cool Horse: Sleipnir, featuring in "Hermod's Ride To Hel / Loke's Treachery Part I", "Down The Slopes Of Death", briefly in "The Sound Of Eight Hooves" and on the cover art of With Oden On Our Side.
- Creator Thumbprint: Songs about dying in battle or Norse mythology.
- Deadly Sparring: "The Way of Vikings" depicts a sparring match between two Jomsvikings who are best friends but are still fighting all-out. The second verse ends:Sun beats down with intense heatThe swordsmen start to breakPain shoots through their tired feetWith every step they takeIn this fight of iron willsOne man takes a kneeThe other goes for the killLike an enemy
- Death by Adaptation:
- In the original Norse Myths from the Eddas, Surt survives Ragnarök and his fate in the new world is unknown. In Destroyer of the Universe he drowns in the flood that destroys the old world and heralds the arrival of a new one.
- On the flip side, in Norse mythology Baldr is said to resurrect after Ragnarök, likely a motif borrowed from Christianity. In Tock's Taunt / Loke's Treachery Part II there's no mention of the idea Baldr will ever return.
- Decapitation Presentation: In "War of the Gods", the Vanir send Mimir's head to Odin's court after decapitating him in rage/retribution for Honer being a weak ruler.In a fit of violent rage
Mimir's blood was shed
And to Odin's court
They sent Mimir's severed head
- Decisive Battle: Every fight referenced that belongs to Ragnarök ends with virtually everyone dying. The War to End All Wars, indeed.
- Despair Event Horizon: Fate of Norns tells of a Norse warrior who is laying to rest his six-year-old son, calling out to the gods and the Norns and stricken with grief demanding to know why they took his child from him. In the end, he chooses to lie on the funeral pyre with his son.
- Disproportionate Retribution: The plot of Once Sent from the Golden Hall. One guy's son dies, so he and his friends go to the homeland of the ones responsible and kill the men, rape the women, and burn down the towns.
- Downer Ending:
- "Embrace of the Endless Ocean" is about someone who was Made a Slave but managed to regain his freedom and is sailing back to his homeland. The title should give you a clue as to what happens.
- "The Fate of Norns" is about a Norse warrior who is mourning his six-year-old son and carrying his child's body to lay him to rest. He's completely heartbroken and his faith in the gods and the Norns is absolutely shattered, so he chooses to commit suicide by lying on his son's funeral pyre. Starts on a downer, ends on a downer.
- Jomsviking's story has one. In "A Dream That Cannot Be" the protagonist Did Not Get the Girl—she tells him to "leave and never come back / or I'll cut you ear to ear"—and then while attacking the Earl's ship in "Back on Northern Shores", he freezes up when he sees his father in the Earl's guard and is knocked into the sea and drowns.
- "The Last Stand of Frej" ends with Freyr's death at the hands of Surtr.
- Driven to Suicide: The narrator of "The Fate of Norns" is so devastated by the death of his only son that he builds a funeral pyre for the boy, ignites it, and lays down atop it beside the body of his child.
- Droit du Seigneur: Strongly implied in "First Kill" off of Jomsviking (the video makes it more explicit): the protagonist flees into exile (eventually joining the Jomsvikings) after killing "the earl's right-hand man / When he came to take her away".
- Evil Gloating: Tock's Taunt / Loke's Treachery Part II which is a Villain Song in which Loke gloats about how he won't allow Baldr to return from Hel.
- Evil Is Burning Hot: Destroyer of the Universe, which is about Surtur, the fire giant who destroys the world..
- Fighting for a Homeland: "Shield Wall" is about Vikings raising the shield wall to defend their homeland from an oncoming invasion of enemies.
- Götterdämmerung: All over their discography. Half the songs talk about Norse characters and their eventual fate in the Ragnarök event, and the other half probably references it in some way anyway.
- Glory Seeker: Quite a few songs. "Valhall Awaits Me", for instance, is about how Valhalla awaits the singer upon death, because he's such an Ax-Crazy bastard that he'll only die on the field of battle, which will please Odin.
- Grim Up North: They are a death metal band about Vikings after all.
- Guttural Growler: Johan, both normally and - obviously - on record.
- Harsh Vocals: They sound more like death metal gurgles than the average melodeath shrieks, though Johan is also much more clear with his growling to the point that even non-death metal fans can understand him pretty clearly.
- Heavy Mithril: Almost their entire discography is about Norse Mythology. Essentially, they are to Norse Mythology as Sabaton is to Horrible History Metal.
- Hidden Disdain Reveal: Happens in Töck's Taunt: Loke's Treachery P.II. The world itself weeps for Balder, so that he may return from Hel's halls, per the conditions of Hel's bargain with Hermod. Loki, under the guise of a giant named Töck, utters this curse, resulting in his imprisonment beneath the earth, and Baldur's imprisonment in Hel until Ragnarök.My name is Töck!
And I won't cry,
I won't let Balder return!
Let Hel keep her treasured prize,
Let his soul forever burn!
- Hold the Line: "Shield Wall" is about Vikings raising the shield wall to defend their homeland from an oncoming invasion of enemies. The chorus of the song is "Vikings! Raise the shield wall! Hold the front line! Fight to death!" repeated four times in a row.
- I Have No Son!: "First Kill" has the main character of the song shunned by his father for killing the Earl's right hand man.
- Heavy Meta: "Raise Your Horns" seems like its about this, but is actually referring to drinking horns, and is closer to an Ode to Intoxication.
- Horny Vikings: Raise Your Horns, with the twist being that it refers to drinking horns (as well as the "horns" gesture made by metal fans). In live shows, the band drinks a toast to the audience from drinking horns before playing it. The music video also shows several other metal band members (such as David Draiman of Disturbed) raising drinking horns to the camera.
- Horrible History Metal: Berserker has a few songs about specific historical events and figures of The Viking Age: "Raven's Flight" is about the Great Heathen Army and the destruction it spread across England, "Ironside" is about the semi-legendary king of Sweden Björn Ironside and "Berserker at the Stamford Bridge" tells the tale of the epic Last Stand of the legendary lone berserker at the battle of the Stamford Bridge in 1066.
- I'm a Humanitarian: The protagonist of "Where Silent Gods Stand Guard".
- Insistent Terminology:
- The band strongly resents being referred to as "Viking metal", and prefers to be thought of as a death metal band that happens to sing about Vikings a lot.
- According to them, it's because "Viking metal" is associated with either Norwegian black metal or folk metal, neither of which is what they do.
- The Last Dance: Quite a few songs, such as "Valhall Awaits Me", are all about dying in glorious battle. "No Fear For the Setting Sun" is more explicitly about this, as the lyrics are about how the singer is going to die soon because he's completely exhausted. With that in mind, he figures that he may as well take some enemies with him.
- Last Stand: Lots of their songs involve hopeless battles, especially those involving Ragnarök.
- Leave No Survivors: "Vengeance is My Name" has the warrior singing the song actively pursue an opponent who was running away from him. It's both to kill all of his enemies and to punish the betrayer for acting like a Dirty Coward.
- Lonely at the Top: "Doom Over Dead Man" is all about a man who pursued coin all of his life, and has acquired more wealth than he could ever spend. However, now that he's reaching the end, all the money in the world isn't going to save him, and he realizes too late that he's wasted his life on greed.
- Lyrics/Video Mismatch: "The Way of Vikings" is about well... take a guess. But the video is about an underground fighting ring set in modern times.
- Manly Facial Hair: Amon Amarth is a whole band of fairly beardy fellows who play songs of war, bloodshed, and Viking glory, but Johan, of course, most readily applies to both functions of the trope with his massive frame, roaring vocals, and positively legendary chest-length chin carpet. A great deal of the fun of the band's music videos comes from Johan gloriously windmilling not just his hair, but his beard.
- Manly Tears: The narrator of "The Fate of Norns" cries these when his only son dies. The song itself may induce these as well, as he decides to join his son on the pyre rather than go on.
- Martyrdom Culture: It certainly has a big influence in their songs (check "Live Without Regrets"), what with the dying in battle or nothing thing, as the title of "For Victory or Death" puts it.
- Melodic Death Metal: Which they'd prefer you call them instead of "viking metal", thank you very much. It's a personal Berserk Button for them.
- Metal Scream: Hegg is famous for his deep, powerful Type 2 growls — unusual for a melodeath band.
- Not Afraid to Die: "Without Fear", "Live Without Regrets", "The Last Stand of Frej", "Death in Fire", "The Pursuit of Vikings".. The list goes on and on. Generally speaking, the average Viking warrior believes that dying in battle will please the Norse gods, so they actually look forward to it.
- Numbered Sequel: The saga Loke's Treachery, so far, features songs "Hermod's Ride To Hel / Loke's Treachery Part I" and "Tock's Taunt / Loke's Treachery Part II", and the myth is far from over yet.
- Ode to Intoxication: Raise Your Horns. The music video depicts fans and celebrities submitting videos of themselves drinking out of horns.
- Off with His Head!:
- Mentioned in "War of the Gods", this is the ultimate fate of Mimir at the hands of the Vanir. The spoken Swedish in the song reveals that Odin managed to keep his head alive however.
- Also mentioned in As Loke Falls, with Heimdall decapitating Loki in their battle.
- Onrushing Army: Featured in An Ancient Sign of Coming Storm. Much more unusual in this case as it happens in the sea.
- Outliving One's Offspring: The narrator of "The Fate of Norns" cries Manly Tears when his only son dies. The lyrics are partially lamenting his fate, part cursing the gods for taking his son, and finally jumping onto the pyre himself rather than go on without his son.
- Pay Evil unto Evil: "Blood Eagle" is about the protagonist torturing someone to death for killing his family.
- P.O.V. Sequel:
- "Abandoned" is from the perspective of a man killed by the protagonists of the Once Sent from the Golden Hall album.
- The songs "Destroyer of the Universe" and "The Last Stand of Frej" from Surtur Rising both deal with the final battle between Surtur and Freyr, the former from Surtur's perspective and the latter from Freyr's.
- Rape, Pillage, and Burn: Several examples given the theme of the band, but the most prominent is probably "Gods of War Arise", which is about Vikings sacking a village, slaughtering anyone who stands in their way, and carrying off valuables and slaves.
- Rated M for Manly: They're a metal band that does a lot of songs about Vikings and music videos containing epic battles.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: the songs "Destroyer of the Universe" and "The Last Stand of Frej" feature mortal enemies Surtur and Frej's points of view against their battle. The mood for Surtur's fiery red apocalypse is a fast and brutal track, while Frej's Blue Blood martyr POV makes a melancholic and almost angsty song.
- Rescued from the Underworld: "Hermod's Ride To Hel / Loke's Treachery Part I", where the guy-to-be-rescued is Baldr.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After the attack to his Doomed Hometown in the song "Arson", the protagonist goes into one of these for the song "Once Sealed in Blood".
- Savage Wolves: "Live for the Kill," and the wolf named Fenrir features in "A Beast Am I".
- Screaming Warrior: A big deal is made about battle cries in many songs.
- The Scrooge: "Doom Over Dead Man" is about a Scrooge on his deathbed, lamenting that all his money didn't buy him any more time.
- The Spartan Way: "The Way of Vikings" is about two best friends fighting "a two-man practice war" in training, treating each other as an enemy. One of the lines even mentions one of the Vikings going in for a killing blow, on the man he considers his best friend.
- Special Guest:
- Spell My Name with an S: They use some of the less common spellings for the names of Norse gods, such as Oden for Odin and Loke for Loki. These are spellings more commonly found in Swedish, although technically there are multiple possible spellings for their names, depending on both the method of translation and the original language.
- Stand Your Ground: "Shield Wall" is about Vikings defending their homeland from a horde of invaders. "Guardians of Asgard" is much the same, but for the realm of the gods instead. In both cases, the lyrics of the songs are about how their charges will never fall as long as they're the ones guarding it.
- Stalker with a Crush: "A Dream That Cannot Be" is sung from the perspective of a man and a woman. The man trying to win her heart, while the woman says he can't understand that she will never be his. Telling him to leave her alone.
- Suicide Mission:
- "The Last Stand of Frej", what with fighting the flaming-sword-wielding giant who started The End of the World as We Know It.
- There's also "Twilight of the Thunder God," where Thor faces down the Jormungandr, a battle that those who know the original myth will end with both falling.
- Surprisingly Happy Ending: Somewhat surprisingly, Amon Amarth has written a few songs with happy endings. For example "Destroyer of the Universe" which ends with the world being reborn.
- "Twilight of the Thunder God" appears to be this as it leaves out Thor's own death, though for those who know the original myth it's more of a Bittersweet Ending.
- The song "Back On Northern Shores" ends with the protagonist's death after his quest for revenge, and despite the crimes he committed against his tribe, he's allowed into Valhalla.
- To Hell and Back: ''Hermod's Ride to Hel which is about Hermod's journey to Hel (the place) to try to convince Hel (the goddess) to allow Baldr to return.
- Twist Ending: "The Beheading Of A King". The titular king is captured by Vikings, released for a ransom, and beheaded... by his own people, who apparently staged a revolt in his absence.
- Villain Protagonist:
- The POV character of the rather misleadingly-named "The Hero" basically sings about how evil he is.
- Could also apply to the POV character for "Gods of War Arise", who gleefully sings about burning a village, looting it, and enslaving the survivors.
- Villain Song: "A Beast am I", "Destroyer of the Universe", and "Tock's Taunt / Loke's Treachery Part II" which are sung from the perspectives of Fenrir, Surt and Loki respectively. The newly released song, "Deceiver of the Gods", also counts.
- War Is Glorious: "Valhall Awaits Me", "First Kill", "Shield Wall", and "Twilight of the Thunder God" are all about battles themselves or telling them, and all of them paint war as a glorious affair for a warrior. The former two songs are about personal glory and pleasing the Norse gods; the latter two are about defending those who cannot defend themselves and Fighting for a Homeland.
- Wild Hair: More of a music video and live performance trope for them, but it applies. The members of the band all have long hair and long beards. So when they headbang during their performances, this hair goes everywhere. "Cry of the Blackbirds" has all of the members headbanging during the intro of the song, their hair spinning as they do it. Though Johan tops them all with his ability to pinwheel with his beard.
- Where Is Your X Now?: Where X stands for God. "...does he hear your prayers? Does he even care for you? His silence speaks loud and clear!"
- Worthy Opponent:
- In "Prediction of Warfare", the Fighting Irish are this to the Vikings. They fight with great ferocity and courage but even they fall eventually as the Vikings gradually gain the upper hand.
- In "One Against All", the album's protagonist and the crew of his ship are attacked at sea by the Jomsvikings. While the protagonist's crew members attempt to flee (and are all killed), the protagonist fights against the entire Jomsviking crew all by himself while wielding a sword in each hand. The leader of the Jomsvikings is so impressed with the protagonist's bravery and ferocity in the face of certain death that he orders his men to stand down. The Jomsviking leader then offers the protagonist "Join our crew or join your friends in Hel."
- You Can't Go Home Again: The protagonist of the Jomsviking album is banished from his homeland in "First Kill" after killing a nobleman to keep him from taking his lady love for Droit du Seigneur. When he returns in "A Dream that Can Never Be" to get her, she refuses him.
- You Shall Not Pass!: "Guardians of Asgaard" is a warning to anyone who would attempt to invade Asgard that they are doomed to fail, because the camaraderie and strength of the Viking warriors that guard the place makes it impregnable.
...when I'm dead!