"If you throw the towel in as soon things are getting tough, you won’t get anywhere with anything."
For a band that has been on and off since 1984, you could easily forgive Candlemass for considering to take things a little easy... like hell they are. They've just put out their latest EP "The Pendulum" which dovetails their latest album "The Door To Doom" released last year. Pioneers of the Epic Doom Metal style, this Swedish leviathan of the ages shows no signs of giving up even if things like COVID-19 have halted some of their plans, as Leif Edling put it verbatim "If you throw the towel in as soon things are getting tough, you won’t get anywhere with anything."
Take those words of wisdom and imprint them in your mind, especially if you're an upcoming band because these guys have done, seen it, sold the xxxxx amount of t-shirts...
Leif spoke to GMA during his interrogation about how the band has managed to thrive since their inception, why the vinyl resurgence is a huge thing for him and why metal at first in Sweden was largely ignored.
You released your latest EP "The Pendulum" back in March, what was the reception like? Will this lead to an album in 2021 perhaps?
"Oh no, that is too early. The "Pendulum EP" was something of a revived thing after "Door To Doom", so people could hear the whole thing; all of the songs. Now I think the metal world needs to rest a bit after this Candlemass overkill of material 😊. Personally my guess would be 2022 for a new album. But the overall reception was great. We had a terrific year 2019 with loads of great gigs and Grammy festivities."
It was released on vinyl as well as CD and digitally, what are your thoughts on the vinyl resurgence? What was it like growing up with vinyl?
"I love vinyl so it is absolutely super that this format is experiencing a comeback. Sure, some used records are way too expensive, but overall I think that it’s a good thing because vinyl has got a value again, and that means that instead of having the old albums in boxes in the attic or basement, people bring it in the record shops to sell it and get OK money for it. Then all of a sudden, old favourite records are up for grabs again. A bit pricey sometimes, yes, but they are there for you to buy IF you want it. They weren’t before.
It was great to grow up with vinyl. You heard the music in the way it was meant to sound, and also, had a pretty good collection before the prices went through the roof 😊.
Would it be fair to say that Sweden has always been a heavy player in the world of music; all genres? Do you take influence from outside of metal?
"Not at all. When we started C-mass nobody got signed from Sweden. No Swedish label wanted to touch a metal band. We were one of the first “underground” bands that got out of Sweden and got signed to a foreign metal label. The guys from Entombed told me that when they saw that we managed to do it, break out of Sweden, then they knew it was possible and tried even harder to get signed abroad. And after that we had the so called ketchup effect he he….. "
For a band who has been on and off since 1984, what were the toughest challenges you've faced as a band? How did you over come these?
"Through hard work and total dedication for metal! We were born to do this! Won’t stop for any bumps on the road to doom hahahaha!! We’ve been through the book of f**k ups from A to Z many times. Been dropped from labels, changed singers more often than Ozzy’s been to rehab. And it has paid off. We have a pretty good career going now, great gigs, headline some even, Grammies, you name it. If you throw the towel in as soon things are getting tough, you won’t get anywhere with anything."
Speaking of which, what advice could you offer to upcoming bands who are trying to navigate the music industry?
"Don’t give up, get a good manager and GO FOR IT!"
How are you as a band coping with the COVID-19 pandemic? What plans had to be put on hold or cancelled? What have you been doing in your spare time?
"We had to cancel 2 great sold-out shows at a theatre in Stockholm in April. Been moved to August, and now it looks like they have to be moved again, to spring 2021. Crap! We also moved many gigs to the autumn, an autumn that is very intense now with loads of cool gigs here, in Europe, the States etc. Big risk that those will be up for a rain-check too… sucks. But it’s the hard reality.
I read a lot now, take it easy, watch series on HBO and Netflix, sorting my record collection out, take long walks in the nearby forest. If it wasn’t for all the cancelled gigs, I really don’t mind taking it easy. This relaxed situation now suits me quite well actually 😊. "
Obviously there's a lot to do in Stockholm, but what gems do you like the most? What venues / bars and sights and attractions would you recommend to metalheads visiting Stockholm?
"I have no idea. Haven’t been to a metal bar or concert in ages. But some nice attractions are Skansen (the Zoo), the Wasa ship, the view from Kaknästornet and the amusement park Gröna Lund. They also have Ghostwalks in the Old Town that they say are quite popular 😊."
Are there any greetings or thanks you wish to send out to friends, family, fans etc?.
"Stay in, stay healthy, stay Heavy!!"
Arguably Cinematic Metal is the biggest and freshest metal genre to emerge in the past few years, although it's closely related to the Symphonic Metal style, it's theatrical nature is what adds to it's uniqueness. Heeding the call and bringing the style to the Swedish metal frontier is Nocean, a quartet from Stockholm with big plans. Having started off in the Hard Rock style and progressively got heavier and more symphonic, Nocean are set to cause a buzz in the underground as they went to explain. They told GMA during their interrogation that they plan on bringing out an animated movie to complement their third album, how art, music and production all filter into their hobbies and job histories and why Nocean are not like any other metal band Sweden has seen before... this is no pantomime, they is the star of the show.
For those who have not heard of Nocean, could you give us a brief history of the band? What does the band name mean?
"Nocean is a Swedish Cinematic Rock / Metal band who are currently writing our third album, combining music with a gothic, animated short film and a theatrical live show! Kind of like a musical. The band name plays on the words - “Notion” - and “Ocean”. An ocean of ideas!"
Tell us about this venture you're undertaking in 'Who Is The Creature?' and the subsequent saga you have laid out before you?
"‘Who Is The Creature?’ is the first chapter in our saga, our concept album, and with the music video we want to let people dive into the world for a bit. The saga is a gothic tale about a young girl, trapped inside a castle garden..."
How would you differentiate yourself from the plethora of Symphonic / Cinematic Metal bands out there? What enticed you to play this style of metal?
"From my side, I think this is our way to differentiate from Rock and Metal in general. Here in Sweden, there are lots of AC/DC-sounds but not so much Symphonic or Cinematic Metal. We have our own unique sound, attitude and image. We are creating more than just an album, we are creating a world, a saga and a live show that we haven’t seen from any other band at all before. Concept albums are common, but not metal musicals with animated movies made and written by the band members themselves. We are also truly independent, therefore it’s harder but I also see that it’s nice to be doing exactly what we want. It all started when we were discussing our third album, how we should proceed and develop even more. We were a Hard Rock band from the start, going into Alternative Rock / Metal and now this. We always want to think outside the box and when it came to genre, it felt natural as we began to write powerful, film-inspired Metal and all of us like this kind of music very much."
You're writing your 3rd album, what can you tell us about it so far? When will it be out?
"We are about half way through the writing process right now, with lots of ideas. The next single will be out this summer! The whole album is planned to be released during spring 2021, but that is depending on a lot of stuff like when we can finish the movie; COVID-19 depending, etc."
Outside of Nocean, individually what hobbies or interests do you have and do these filter into the band?
Hanna: "I work as a freelance TV editor, so that definitely filters into the band as I am producing almost all of our music videos and video content on social media. I also like to work with animations, so I will be doing that for the animated movie to (background sets and lightning). Other than that, watching movies and especially Tim Burton’s movies are my favourite. For me, his style (and Danny Elfman’s music) is a big inspiration for this album."
"I have been drawing and making art since I was very young and when music became my biggest hobby the two interests started to play off each other and I now usually draw whilst listening to music because it conjures emotions and images. I have created some visuals for this project and I am looking forward to keeping that going and see what these new songs and themes can bring out. I too am a movie enthusiast and John Williams in particular has created some of the most iconic movie scores I have ever heard, so that is a huge inspiration for me whilst writing melodies and cinematic parts."
"Lately I have been really into audio production and would also say that’s my biggest hobby outside the band, it’s just something fun and inspiring about striving for perfection in audio. But I have also always been inspired by great movies and especially the movies with good music in them. My latest job was as a movie theatre manager outside Stockholm."
"My big creative outlet has and always will be music and I’m not exactly talented when it comes to drawing and things like that, even though I would really like to! So right now my focus is on learning new instruments like guitar and piano. Other than music I have a big interest in comedy, mainly stand up comedy which is something I’d like to try myself at some point, gaming, science and movies that are so bad they’re good."
For metalheads visiting Stockholm, what sights / attractions and bars / venues could you recommend?
"When COVID-19 is over, you should check out venues like Slaktkyrkan, Fryshuset or go to pubs like Harry B James and Pub Anchor!"
What are your plans in late 2020 / early 2021? Were any plans cancelled / postponed due to COVID-19?
"Our main focus is to write the album, make the movie, plan the tour for the album etc. But we will do a couple of shows as well, and hopefully not only on live streams… We had a couple of shows / festivals cancelled so that was really sad. We really hope to play more during fall 2020. During spring 2021 we hope to tour with the new album!"
Are there any thanks or greetings you wish to send out to friends, fans, family etc?
"Oh yes, a big thank you to all who have supported us through our “Who Is The Creature?”- release (including Global Metal Apocalypse!). Since we are independent, we don’t have the economical muscles as a record label, and we totally depend on our followers to reach out. People have been sharing, streaming, above our expectations and we are so grateful for that! We also just started a Patreon page so if you want to support us there, go to http://patreon.com/nocean."
This time round our interview interrogations turn to one of Sweden's most underground record labels, one that specializes mainly in Extreme Metal (Black, Death, Doom, etc) from far flung countries, from Colombia to Morocco and from Pakistan to a forthcoming release by a band in Kazakhstan.
Salute Records is run solely by one Satanic Tony Sundstrand, who also owns various projects amongst his band Demorian. It is also very safe to say he has seen the Swedish Metal scene expand and grow ever since 1981 when his musical career began; he also used to run Pure Black Heart Productions until it was closed around 2012 (it started 30th December, 2009 and catered for Extreme Metal)
With an ongoing list of releases forthcoming and a terrific catalog of years by-gone, GMA felt it was time to shine the spotlight on one of Sweden's greatest underground musicians and record label owners, what Tony has to say is an absolute eye-opener to those thinking of setting up their own label and / or distribution channel. Take note.
Hi there Tony, so how long has Salute Records been going, why 'Salute' and what bands do you generally sign / release material of?
I started the label in December 2007, and from the beginning the plan was to put together a compilation album with some smaller and very underground bands that I liked or felt that needed extra support. This is because I knew all the way back since the 1980´s and 1990´s how hard it was for myself to play in a band and get anywhere further from nothing. So it was more of a fun idea and from that everything grew bigger, nowadays the label has almost produced 200 releases with bands from almost the entire world; ranging from Extreme Black Metal, Death, Doom, Crustpunk, Dark Ambient, DSBM, Thrash, NSBM, Grindcore and regular Heavy Metal and Rock.
You have your own projects and bands, could you give a brief overview on what they are and what the future plans are?
Yes I am active in several bands and a couple of one-man band projects, but some of those also involve guest musicians. The bands that I am involved and active with are Demorian (active first from 2001, but fully since 2007) and have released a couple of albums, EP´s, demos and splits, and are working on a new release called "From Marduk To Gaia", this will be very different & will come out in 2014.
Then we have Wintercold which has been active since 2008 and has released five full lengths so far and features a mix of both Doom, Goth Rock & raw Atmospheric Black / Folk Metal, Curse Of Wotan is another band / project that first started playing acoustical Black Metal (which I think is very original) and released the last album in early June this year, future plans include having a forthcoming album, however the band will be put on hold or will end with this last album; which features more regular Black Metal in it.
Magiska Krafter is another band that I am involved in, it is an Indian / Swedish band and the front man is from Skool of Dead & Burn The Water, who I appeared with as a guest vocalist. The band released one album back in 2012 and are now working on something new.
Luciferian Blood is another band that is international & features me as vocalist, the rest of the line-up is as follows: Martin from Prayer of The Dying (Malta) on drums and Invisus from Terra Australis (Australia) on guitar & bass. The band started in the early summer of 2013 and plays very raw old school Black Metal, we are no working on a second demo or EP / mini album to be released later this year.
Doomsday Prophet is another project that was created back in 2012 and has released two demos / EP´s & one full length so far, with this project I play funeral-like Doom Metal with a high dose of Ambient / Drone in it.
Voxra is also another project, but it is now buried after two albums and one demo.
Another band that I can also mention is Dawn of Apocalypse, it is very new and features me taking up all instrument duties and my wife and soulmate Malin "Big Blondiee" on the lead vocals. We have done one demo and when this is written, we also have a debut mini album "Forces of Darkness Reigns" out on Satanica Productions.
Some work for splits and a compilation to come out in Bangladesh is also in my plans. Also I can inform all that a number of months back I became lead vocalist for the Black Metal / Ambient band Nostalgie Depression from Chile as well, so my vocals are on the band's first album and an EP.
One other band that you can look for in the future is called A Perfect Day, this band I will be playing guitars in, the band plays some kind of Depressive Post-Black Metal / Shoegaze and it will be interesting to see what more things await us around the corner.
One thing for sure is that the older I get, the more I burn for creating music and have no plans to stop ;)
In your opinion what countries are the most obscure for metal?
The countries that I think have some of the most obscure and unique Extreme Metal / Extreme Music scenes, are also ones that I have had the honor of releasing band music from, therefore these must be: Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, China, Tunisia, Morocco, Bahrain, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Saudi Arabia.
What would you say is the hardest challenge for labels these days?
To survive as underground label without losing the right feelings and grip for it I guess. One thing that is often the hardest thing to get is money to last for more than you actually have and then of course another thing that I know many complain about (same for myeslf) is the expensive cost to send cds and tapes across the world to other countries.
That is one truly hard challenge for all small and underground labels. But one thing that I have learned all through the years is to never quit just because some things go straight to hell for a moment. Simply because before you know it, some things can really change to become more positive. A way that you never really expected to see. For me it has happened several times.
You seem to deal with mainly bands from far flung countries, do you feel more labels should do this?
Hmmm that is up to them. I think it is better nowadays than back in 2008 / 09, as more labels these days are concentrated and have more focus on bands from obscure countries and areas. So I think that the feeling and support for bands has reached even to the more small and obscure distant places.
And then it is of course good and positive that not all labels do it the same way. I have through theyears discovered that many labels start up their activity and believe that they can and want to become big and famous, but that is not the right goal to choose (same with many bands I believe). As you can often see, many of these labels that follow those terms are born to fail in the end.
What was the hardest and greatest challenge for Salute Records?
One of the hardest challenges must be last year when I recently released the second album for
the Egyptian Symphonic / Black Metal band Zatreon and the "so called" twist that went shortly after with the Dutch Metal band Toxic Grind Machine. The issue is now history and I don´t want to do some explanation on that topic here.
My conclusion after that problematic situation is that I still love the band Zatreon and their music, and what is true or false I now don´t really give a f*** about anymore ;) The release with Zatreon is nowdays "officially" sold out ;). One of the best or some of the most positive feedbacks and feelings for running Salute Records must begin with all of the great contacts I have with numerous bands, people, zines and labels, there are too many to count as it is more than you can find on any of the pages for Salute Records, haha.
And then of course from time to time when regular people make some really huge orders from the label as this really helps the label to survive and continue the work and plan for the future. For that I say thanks to you all.
What future releases can we look forward to?
Planned releases that you can expect from us include firstly from the band Detention from Kazakhstan, it is really nice to co-operate the release together with the Ukrainian label Depressive Illusions Records.
Then it is the Mexican Black / Death band Seed of Evil. We have Nigra Locust (Black Metal from Mexico) and it is a re-release of their only & first demo from 2012. A coming split with Wintercold (Sweden) and Nicrotek (Indonesia). A split with Nostalgie Depression (Chile) and Nicrotek (Indonesia). A four way split with bands like Necrolepsy from Bangladesh and more. A big Grindcore / Death Metal compilation (probably out when this interview is written) with 24 various bands. Some of the bands are Multinational Corporations, Pro-Past, Yattai, Parasite, Sloppy Teen Pussy, Fetus Slicer and many more. Another planned production is a new bigger compilation for download and perhaps on CD too. Discussions and plans with bands for a sort of deal and coming releases is always in my plans (every day), haha :)
Finally are there any greetings you wish to send out?
A big thanks for this interview (the first officially made one so far), a big thanks to all those who support me, any of my bands / projects and all who in some way or another supports Salute Records and the bands on it. You know who you are, so it is not needed to write some kind of long list here. Don´t support the profit labels as they destroy it for all of us. Support the real underground! Hails & salutes from the land in north \m/
Finally coming out of the darkness and rejoining the music world, Deathstars have been priming themselves up for their forthcoming album "The Perfect Cult", succeeding their third outing "Night Electric Night". After five whole years of burying themselves down in the deep Swedish bunkers and playing shows across the globe including dates in Australia, the quartet (Cat Casino left the band in July, 2013) are ready to release another bout of Gothic Industrial hell as well as embark on a European tour towards the back end of 2014:- dates can be viewedhere. (more dates added soon for R.O.W.)
This album serves as a nice springboard for the band as they approach their 15th anniversary next year, so this album will be an interesting one. We believe it will gain the approval from the masses. But for now, GMA managed to catch up with front-man Whiplasher Bernadotte and ask him what the future holds, why they are not a metal band, revisiting past events such as the well known 'Blitzkrieg Boom' music video and how they 'nearly' represented Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest via Melodifestivalen.
Interview by Rhys Stevenson
Whiplasher on Deathstars celebrating their 15th anniversary next year:
Hi Whiplasher, how are you doing?
I am very good.
It's been five years since you released the album "Night Electric Night", so what has the band been doing during this time?
Well we started recording our fourth album around three years ago in Los Angeles and we felt like we were 'stressing' it, so after that we ended up on doing some more tours and everyone was tied up with projects, and wanted some changes and stuff, so all these things added up, so hence it took such a long time. So yeah we kind of stalled ,but we wanted to get this done, but hopefully it won't be as long next time.
Since "Night Electric Night" you have had a line-up change, Cat Casino left the band, how did this happen?
Yeah Cat left us because he was tired with all of the touring and missed his family more, he was tired of just traveling and we were all tired so, we respected that decision and he still remains our friend, but we're continuing as a four-piece now and also Ole Öhman our drummer started to have problems around like 6, 7 years ago and so he left too in time.
What is different between your new album "The Perfect Cult" and "Night Electric Night"?
I think "Night Electric Night" was more outgoing and this one is more futuristic, dark and much more massive and assuring in a nutshell. It's got pop music in it, it has more rock music in it and as such we've never been a metal band. It's more varied in that sense so, there's a darker story in "The Perfect Cult" in a bigger sense.
So you're not a metal band?
Noooo, that would be stupid. A metal band for me would be something like Darkthrone so we never claim to be a metal band, so let's just call it more of a 'Dark Rock' band.
It seems that throughout the Deathstars discography the band has changed their image in accordance to the albums, would you agree with this or not? What are your thoughts?
We never really discuss what kind of album we want to make, like we never say 'ok let's make an album that sounds like this', because Nightmare and I started playing Black Metal in the early 90's so we've been working in the same way always I guess, so we just listen to each other, so we can have an idea on what direction we're going, so when it comes to the album writing we can visualize what we may do imagery-wise AFTER the album is done, this is usually what happens. So we go in a direction as a band and not just by ourselves.
It seems that Industrial / Gothic music hasn't really been in the limelight in the last few years (that is not spoken well about), so with Deathstars do you feel that you bring something new to the table?
Yeah, I think we always have since when we started off in the underground metal scene, then we met Ole and Jonas so for us it's kind of an ongoing experiment and hopefully we brought something new to the genre (I'm not going to be the judge of that), so for us it's more like it's getting better and better as a band and looking over our career we feel we have been successful, so it's more about continuing to do what do we best.
Your original tour dates for the UK have been pushed back to November, could you perhaps shed some light on this? (Plus this won't be the first time you've played here, more like your 3rd or 4th?)
This was because the album was not done, our booking agency wanted us to go on tour without the album being released and to us that did not make sense, we felt it would be better for people to have heard the album before going on tour so that's the reason. So there was some communication problems.
Yeah I can't remember I mean we've been there so many times, I think we must do about 200 shows in a year, but with England we've been there many times. It seems that this was the best for us because for us and the UK it has always been kind of special.
With the November tour are you playing alongside bands from Sweden or bands over here?
We have a support band this year, The Dead & Living will join us for some weeks during the European tour and as for the rest of the world, I don't know as it's very different. We're going to South America and so will probably just play by ourselves and then we're going to North America, again not sure about that one and also Asia, so this year is going to be different. So I can't really comment on that, but everyone should check out the support band we have, in fact we're very happy that they are going on tour with us - they are a very good band.
Would that be your first time playing in South America? If not what was the crowd reception like?
Oh no, nope, we've been touring there before and the crowd reception was very good, we've noticed that some fans sleep outside the venues the night before, it's so different from Europe and they're so much more passionate and dedicated. You'll even find them meet you at the airports and so on, it's another thing and of course in Russia it's kind of the same thing, but we're really looking forward to going there - I just gotnews that we're probably going to be starting there with 5 shows in Mexico now, before the European tour. It's a lot of touring again...
This might be a bit of an obvious question, but does the heat really affect you guys?
Yeah I guess it's always tough even when it's hot, so we take care when out in the warm weather even though I now live in Italy and heat is not really my favorite thing, nope you know I'm from Scandinavia; I like that kind of weather (laughs) - dark and cold and permafrost.
Regarding some of the music video's you've done over the years, which one was / is your favorite?
Videos... yeah I mean it's hard with videos as I think it's something that is kind of outside to what the band is doing, in one way because it's the director, the one person putting the visual theme on a song, so it's more like kind of a spectacle (music videos).
But I think maybe, I like 'Blitzkrieg' a lot because I wanted it to be on a graveyard for airplanes - that was even my plan - and we humored on the idea of a graveyard of planes a lot, but planes from the war in Serbia but didn't seem to cut it into the final video so there was this other stuff, but yeah I'd say 'Blitzkrieg'.
And what of the meaning behind the music video?
(Laughs), people shouldn't ask me because they can look at it and place any interpretation onto it however they want and really, they should ask the director of the production company we used. In the beginning we have like screens and on the set during a couple of days, there's a lot of scenes that we kept doing, then when it was edited we wanted it to be re-edited for several times so in the end it comes out as something different that we originally was looking for. So it's more like a spectacle...
However it would be nice to direct a music video of our own sometime, maybe it would be completely different (laughs). Probably, probably when we might just get bored and then we're like 'it's a wrap, we're done' (laughs).
Now as "The Perfect Cult" is coming out in June, and you have already done one music video "All The Devil's Toys", will there be any more music videos?
We've been discussing it and this was just a couple of days ago, so probably hopefully we will do more music videos for the album, I think everyone want's that.
Now since Deathstars will be turning 15 next year, [interrupted by Whiplasher]...
OHHHHH!!!!!! YEAH! Officially 'teenager', 15? That's when people started having sex, now we will have to try even more now and that's a good thing you mentioned it - we haven't had a life of getting into girls pants (laughs)... [GMA: And that's what the delay between the last album and this album has been all about?], (laughs) yeah I mean when we started out, yeah I guess the girls... I mean you can look at it in the aspect that the girls were pedophiles because they were so young, like kids...
So with the 15th anniversary coming next year, will you be doing an anniversary release compilation?
Nah, we haven't yet thought about that, we did a compilation "The Greatest Hits On Earth" for the Rammstein tour (2011), also because it was we kind of wanted to wrap up that chapter and Ole stopped playing the drums in the band, so it was kind of wrapping up and starting fresh on this album (The Perfect Cult). But as for another compilation I haven't really thought about it, so we wish we will have more sex with the girls, that's how we will celebrate it.
Do you feel that metal and rock in Sweden is more appreciated than any other genre?
Everyone I know in Stockholm plays in a band, it's like they're in more or less famous rock bands, sometimes in metal bands so of course it's very appreciated, especially when now everyone plays it's considered a big thing. But of course we've always got a history with successful music, in Sweden there are so many people working in the music industry and I think it gets into a spiral, which is where everyone looks at each other and wants to be inspired by others so I can't it decreasing, but there's different kinds of scenes in Sweden like in Stockholm but also in different cities where there are different music styles. Like in Gothenburg for example it's all about Death Metal bands and metal music
Check out the new Deathstars music video here, taken from their forthcoming album "The Perfect Cult"
So we wouldn't see Deathstars in the Eurovision Song Contest next year in Austria?
Well the thing is, we got asked this year to appear in the 'Melodifestivalen', which is the competition for Eurovision in Sweden and is like the biggest television show there is, I cannot believe they actually asked us, because we would never do something like that. But it was a kind offer and I said that they don't have enough blood so. [GMA: although would a rock / metal style Eurovision be appealing?]... yeah, I can't really stand all these competitions, but yeah those getting into the finals must be quite a big thing.
Finally any hello's, thank you's, greetings you wish to express?
Well right now I'm isolating myself for a while, from everyone because I moved to the North of Italy so, I think it's nice to have a break some time and so I will say hello to everyone when I meet them again, see you in Stockholm and also on the tour.
"The Perfect Cult" is out 16th June 2014 via Nuclear Blast Records
For a list of tour dates click here.
“The ‘core’ sub genres did come from Metal, so they are still Metal. It is up to people to think what they think is Metal”
Deathcore, often dubbed as the illegitimate derivative of Death Metal, has built up its own legion of followers all over the world in recent years. Despite every dispute, its popularity is rising day by day. Enter Abandoned World, a young Deathcore / Metalcore band hailing from Sweden. Founded in mid 2012 and on the way to releasing an EP, the band toured Bangladesh last month and played at the Eastern Dark Fest. GMA's Bangladesh correspondent Nabil Abaddon had a rendezvous with Bnar Aziz (vocals), Samuel Talebi (guitars) and Kim Liljendhal (bass) just before their performance, right outside the venue.
Is this the first time that Abandoned World are touring outside of Sweden? How excited are you?
Samuel: Very excited! Everything is new to us here, like it’s a new culture, so far from Sweden. Totally on the other side of the globe for where we come from.
Bnar: We feel amazing to be here! It's such an awesome opportunity and an honor to be here in Bangladesh.
Do you guys have any knowledge of the scene here in Bangladesh? Have you checked out any of the bands before leaving for Bangladesh?
Samuel: Not too much. But we knew a little because we have a friend from Bangladesh. He lives in Sweden now. He told us about the scene here. There are not many opportunities but there are a lot of die-hard fans I heard.
Kim: When we got this opportunity to play here, I checked out some of the bands in the line up and we were like “man we gotta get down there!”
So how did you guys form the band and how long have you been playing together?
Bnar: Well it is a funny story. It all started like a mini project, basically it began with my former guitarist and I. We met on the internet and we were looking for bands. So we started practising together. I knew Samuel from before, so I just asked him if he wanted to play with us and he said yes. So we three started jamming together. The band grew from there and within a short time we got our bassist and drummer. We have been playing as a band for almost a year now.
Kim: We are trying to be patient and just take up the opportunities that come in the way. When this tour came up, we were just flabbergasted. It was unbelievable for us. It is an honour for us to be here and we really want to show the crowd why we are here and give our best shots.
Does Abandoned World want to play here more often?
Samuel: Of course we do! We want to show the crowd what we are made of and we want to keep coming here. We are talking with the organizers and we are planning on touring some other countries around Asia as well, may be some time around Jan / Feb next year?
Kim: It is still in the planning stage. Lets see what happens.
So Abandoned World has got a single on YouTube? Are you guys planning / working on your EP or album, or something else?
Samuel: What we are going to do now is to shoot a music video and we are looking for a good studio to record stuff. We have our materials ready now, may be we’ll write a bit more. Then we’ll hit the studio. We will release another single, then the album. After that we will probably just tour around! I recommend you to check out another single we have out now, it's called "Madness from Within".
Kim: Yeah that song is a pre-production and we just want to show the people that we are working on some new heavy material. We are going to play this song tonight and trust me it is going to be mayhem!
Although sub-genres like Deathcore, Metalcore, etc are rising quickly all over the world, these “core” sub-genres often get bad rap from Metal fans who are purists. They often do not consider these sub-genres as Metal or ‘real Metal’. As Abandoned World is a Deathcore / Metalcore band, what is your opinion on this?
Bnar: Personally I think that if they do not see that as metal I do not have any problem with that. I mean that's their perception of what they think is metal. The “core” sub-genres did come from Metal, so they are still Metal. It is up to people to think what they think is metal. It is totallty fine to us. That's what we feel about it. We do what we feel like doing and we are doing Metal music that we know. Deathcore / Metalcore is what people labelled us as.
Samuel: Well I think they love it how it is you know. I think you are missing out! (laughs)
What are your influences as a band? Can you suggest a few albums that inspires Abandoned World?
Samuel: Well loads of bands I would say. It starts from Metallica, Megadeth, Pantera to Suicide Silence, Born Of Osiris, Lamb Of God etc etc…… Ummmm the albums would be :
Deep Blue - Parkway Drive
Sacrament - Lamb Of God
The Discovery - Born Of Osiris
Tomorrow We Die Alive - Born of Osiris
Thank you for giving us your time. Any words for the fans and readers?
Samuel: Get ready! It's just the start! We have a long way to go and a lot of times to be here! We love what we do! We are loving Bangladesh! The crowd is awesome. Thank you!
Bnar: Like Samuel said, we are just getting started, so get ready! Basically we love all our fans. It would not have been possible without all our fans. We thank all our fans and it is an honour to play here.
"It's our channel to create, discuss and hopefully influence people to think for themselves".
Country - SWEDEN
Genre - INDUSTRIAL METAL
Label - UNSIGNED
So Backstabber what does Perception Of Darkness personally mean to you and how did the band form?
It means everything to us. Perception Of Darkness is the way we choose to express ourselves through, it's our channel to create, discuss and hopefully influence people to think for themselves.
But it's also a brotherhood for us, the other guys in the band are some of my absolute best friends and that's also a big part of Perception Of Darkness.
The band was formed by our old singer Karl Johansson who is no longer in the band due to some different reasons.
Would you say Sweden lacks numbers in Industrial Metal vs. Melodic Death Metal?
I think Sweden has a lot good Industrial Metal bands, some good examples are Raubtier, Pain and Deathstars. But here there aren't really a lot of bands on the smaller stages that play Industrial Metal.
The only ones i know of would be Zavod, Mass Murder Agenda and Man.Machine.Industry.
And of course in comparison to the Melodic Death Metal bands we are quite outnumbered.
How would you describe your music without genre tagging or using cliches?
Since we decided to get rid of our singer we no longer have any rights to our old songs since he was our main songwriter. But we are working hard on our new album. I don't want to describe it all to much right now, but let's just say that we are taking it back to the roots of how Industrial Metal should sound.
What makes Perception Of Darkness stand out from the rest of the Swedish metal scene and have you played outside Sweden?
First of all we play in a quite small genre, as i said earlier there aren't a lot of industrial metal bands on our level. I also like to think that we are a really good band to see live. A lot of our friends play very technical metal and they miss out on the live part of being in a band. Perception of Darkness is quite the opposite. We play pretty straight-on metal and leave a lot of room for the live show.
Last year we played 2 European festivals and a boat cruise. Our first gig outside of Sweden was at "Dark Mental Festival" in Copenhagen where we got the honor to open the festival up, the second was as an headline act at "Plana Demo Fest" in Serbia, and the boat cruise went from Stockholm to Riga and featured bands like Frantic Amber, The Resistance, Man.Machine.Industry and Skitarg.
How many releases do you have to date and what is your favourite?
As i said earlier we have had to remove all our material when we decided to get rid of our singer. So we are currently working on our "first" album.
What major metal festivals are there in your area?
There are a few: Copenhell, Metaltown, Sweden Rock Festival amongst others. Last year we were actually involved in starting a new festival in our hometown of Malmö called "Faceplant Metalfest". Unfortunately, just a couple of days before the event it had to be cancelled due to problems with the economy.
Finally do you have any hello's, thank you's to send out?
Not really, would just like to thank all of the fans for being patient with us. Last year was really good for us and it feels terrible that we have to take a big part of this year to rebuild what we had worked so hard for, but we will be back strong than before.
_ I caught up with Mr V (Andreas Hedlund - on the left) of Swedish Black/Folk Metal duo Vintersorg about their upcoming album, band history, the Swedish Metal scene and some other questions here and there, heja Sverige!
Who came up with the band name and what does it mean?
Mr V: The band name is something that I came up with back in the beginning of the 1990’s and an approximate translation would be something like “Winter Sorrow” but it has a more poetic feeling in Swedish, as well as a close bond to our folklore and historical writings.
What languages are your songs generally in and what are the main lyric topics?
Mr V: The songs on the new album are all in Swedish but we’ve had albums that are all in English also. It’s a matter of inspiration and what kind of emotional basis we want to transfer to the listener. I’m in some other bands as well where the lyrics are all in English so it’s nice to have both languages to express myself through. The lyrical content swirls around the relation between man and nature, on both physical, biological, mental and a historical plane and with nature I mean everything from the surroundings to the cosmological matters that have spawned us as humans. The lyrics have quite a poetic tone and are equally important as the music.
If you had to describe your music without using genre-tagging or clichés, what would you say?
Mr V: It’s hard to describe Vintersorg in words as it’s a mixture of many different musical elements. You have a lot of folk music, then a large portion of metal, the more calm and nearly ambient elements and all balanced out by a very intricate instrumentation. I also use a lot of different types of vocals and a lot of vocal harmonies…you see ..it’s impossible.
Your forthcoming album ‘Orkan’ will be your eighth album, what have you made different (if anything) from this album compared to your past albums?
Mr V: Vintersorg has always been a band that has evolved with every new album and that’s a very strong foundation in our art. To feel free to evolve and discover new grounds to embrace, just follow where the inspiration takes you and not calculate how that will effect the band commercially, that’s what real art is about from where I’m standing. The album is a continuation from the last one “Jordouls” but with some fresh angles and a more perfected production I would say. Some song have a bit darker atmosphere but I’m all from the inside..so it’ll be interesting to see what people from the outside will think.
How popular would you say Metal music is in Sweden in general and are there any upcoming young bands you wish to note?
Mr V: I think metal is very popular and is a large genre that covers people from 15-50 years old, just look at Sweden Rock festival…it’s a huge festival for a country that only have 9 million inhabitants. I’m not that updated about the scene as I live quite remote from the large cities, very far north actually and I mostly listen to old progressive and symphonic rock.
In respect of your upcoming release, which tracks would you say stand out from the album?
Mr V: It’s an album where all the songs need to be there to have the total atmosphere of what we wanted to achieve this time around, but songs like “Istid”, “Polarnatten” and “Myren” is some that will dwell your mind for a while I guess.
What plans does the band have for 2012 and beyond?
Mr V: Release the album and start work on the next one, we’re not a live act at this point in time. But we have so many things to do with our bands like Borknagar, Fission, Cronian and TME and we’re now resurrecting the old troll OTYG and are going to do a new album with that band as well…so we have plenty to do.
If you could give any advice to musicians who want to form a band or bands but not sure how to do it / having trouble doing so, what would you recommend?
Mr V: Just follow your vision, even if that some time means that you need to struggle a longer time than if you jump on the most popular genre of the moment, but you’ll last so much longer and it’ll give you much more back emotionally, and for me music is very much emotion based.
Finally are there any plans to tour the UK at some point?
Mr V: No, as we don’t play any shows at all.
So here we have a phone-interview with Zandro Santiago (vocals) of Swedish Metalcore / Pop Metal band Dead By April.