Amon Amarth on what drew them to baritone tunings over 7-strings and why no amount of pimping can polish a turd of a riff

Amon Amarth: Olavi Mikkonen (left) and Johan Söderberg
Olavi Mikkonen (left) and Johan Söderberg

Over the course of three decades, Amon Amarth have marched forth as standard bearers for a unique brand of melodic metal, which sets epic tales of gods and warriors to a thunderous soundtrack of tremolo-picked riffs, drop-tuned chugs and melodic solos. 

Famed for their theatrical live shows and aggressive-yet-catchy songcraft, the band has risen to a much beloved status among fans of anthemic metal all over the world. Now, under the steam of their 12th studio album The Great Heathen Army, lead guitarist Olavi Mikkonen reflects on how the band’s rise has been more of a stoic campaign than a surprise dawn raid.

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Ellie Rogers

Since graduating university with a degree in English, Ellie has spent the last decade working in a variety of media, marketing and live events roles. As well as being a regular contributor to Total Guitar, MusicRadar and, she currently heads up the marketing team of a mid-scale venue in the south-west of England. She started dabbling with guitars around the age of seven and has been borderline obsessed ever since. She has a particular fascination with alternate tunings, is forever hunting for the perfect slide for the smaller-handed guitarist, and derives a sadistic pleasure from bothering her drummer mates with a preference for “f**king wonky” time signatures.