2008's 'Twilight of the Thunder God' catapulted Swedish death metallers Amon Amarth to new heights -- sold-out shows, new countries, and their biggest sales in the US. In a recent chat with Noisecreep, guitarist Johan Söderberg admitted that expectations were quite high when it was time to begin work on their eighth album, 'Surtur Rising,' which caused some stress when writing.

"I felt big pressure when we started to write the songs," said Söderberg. "['Surtur Rising'] had to top the last album, which [was] hard because the last album [was] so good." With the new album, the band has branched into newer territories, letting melody go toe-to-toe with the ferocious battle cry of frontman Johan Hegg. The result may be Amon Amarth's heaviest album to date.

"With each album we try to think of something new, even if it's small," says the guitarist. "On this album we used acoustic guitars. We never used those before -- also more orchestral parts are in the background."

These new additions to the Viking metal sound of Amon Amarth came mostly from the band spending more time recording than ever before. As Söderberg explained, this led to less experimentation than most would think. "More has to be recorded. The more time you have in the studio the more tracks you want to put down. To overdub everything takes the most time."

The quintet are so proud of 'Surtur Rising' that they will play two full sets each night of their upcoming tour: one regular headlining set; and another set of playing 'Surtur Rising' straight through.

"We wanted to try something new, to challenge ourselves," said Söderberg about the decision to play two sets. "We'll see how this goes, and if it feels good, like it's not too hard to play so long every night, then we might do it again on another tour."

'Surtur Rising' comes out March 29th via Metal Blade Records.

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