čtvrtek 3. června 2021

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Interview - DEATHSWARM - For me extreme metal in general means freedom and self-empowerment.

Interview with death metal band from Sweden - DEATHSWARM.

Answered vocalist Heval Bozarslan, thank you!

Translated Duzl, thank you!

Recenze/review - DEATHSWARM - Forward into Oblivion (2021):

Ave DEATHSWARM! Greetings to the Swedish underworld. I'm still playing your new record "Forward into Oblivion" and I feel like I'm locked in old catacombs. The album sounds really dark, cool and melodic at the same time. Did you want to move in this direction? How did the record come about?

Hi there! Yeah to reach total darkness was the main focus haha. It’s very dark and heavy, and sure, there are some sick morbid melodies as well. Johan composed and arranged all the songs and I wrote all the lyrics and we just recorded it. It went really fast, just like our first album, and it’s the same formula as the first record, very varied and dynamic, we wanted to continue on the same path but add more darkness and evil and rotting corpses along the way.

DEATHSWARM plays three musicians from SARCASM. How did you get together and how did DEATHSWARM come about? Please take us through the history of the band.

Yes three of us are in SARCASM as well, but there are no SARCASM influences in DEATHSWARM whatsoever. Musically or lyrically DEATHSWARM is a totally different beast. And none of us SARCASM members are involved in the music writing in this band. It’s Johan who’s the musical brain of DEATHSWARM. We hung out one day few years ago and talked about doing a project together, a project that pays tribute to old school death metal, because it’s the one extreme sub genre that we all love, and so one day a year later Johan revealed that he had written 10 songs. We listened to them and we all thought they were awesome and completed the line-up with Nicklas and Alvaro, and just recorded the album and released it under the title “Shadowlands of Darkness” a year later on Chaos Records and also on Pyscocontrol (vinyl). The album received great reviews, then shortly after FDA Records heard the album and loved it so we signed with them in 2020. It all went so fast we didn’t even reflect and asked ourselves if this is a band or a project or what. It was just fun to do it, so we thought, well let’s do another album. I would consider DEATHSWARM a band concept now. Some people say it’s a side project of SARCASM but that’s not the true, at least not for me.

Let's go to the new record. When I first heard "Forward into Oblivion", the first feeling I had of her was cold. It's like standing in a snowstorm. Sound contributes a lot to that. Where did you record, who took care of the mix and mastering?

It’s interesting you feel a snowstorm, some people I’ve talked to feel like they are standing in a sea of flames when they listen to it. Perhaps the cover has something to do it I don’t know lol. We recorded the album at our drummer’s Studio like the first one. And Johan Ericson who did the first album mixed and mastered this one also. He did a great job in my opinion. The album sounds like a tank crushing corpses of thousand posers so we’re very happy about the result.

I really liked the novelty, I like it and I often listen to it. The only thing I don't like very much is the packaging. The motif is great, but the design is so weird. It bothers me a little that the cover looks "blurred". But that's probably the purpose. Who is the author of the cover and how does the motif relate to what is happening on the record?

We’ve had some complaints about the cover, people saying that it looks cheap and not “trve” because it’s not hand painted etc. Next time we will use a real artist for the cover when we have a better budget lol. Personally we all in the band love it. We wanted to have something other than monsters, zombies or dark landscapes all the other millions bands are using. At least ours is noticeable. And the stuff that’s happening on the cover are happening in some of the lyrics so it’s very related. And also a very symbolic artwork if you look closely. Very provoking in different ways.

I wonder what the lyrics on the new album are about. Is this a death metal classic? I don't have an ordered CD in my hand yet, so I can't judge, but I like what I was able to understand. Who wrote the lyrics and where did they get the inspiration for them?

I write all the lyrics for DEATHSWARM, and well yeah you could say they are classic death metal topics with lots of horror, death, hate and killings etc, but I try to tell a story in every song and not just write about gore for the sake of gore. There are several fictional serial killers in them for instance, like The Poet And The Meat Cleaver and The Eating Blood. But my serial killers only kill assholes of this world. Some anti-religious songs like Unchackle The Jackal and Deus Ex Nihilo, revenge beyond the grave like the song Army of Shadows, and there’s also some about the apocalypse like Where Death is Recrowned. All the stuff I can’t write in SARCASM I write in DEATHSWARM, the barbaric side of me finally shows its ugly face in this band lol.

DEATHSWARM have their second full-length album. How are you doing with the concerts? Do you play a lot? Are you attracted to big festivals, tours in Europe or do you prefer small clubs?

Actually we have never played live before with DEATHSWARM . Two albums and not a single show haha. We’ll see in the future how that evolves. We talked about playing only festivals but we’ll see. Festivals would be nice.

There are a lot of death metal bands playing in Sweden. A typical handwriting influenced by the 1990s is the main hallmark of groups in your country. But DEATHSWARM are still different. They have their expression, the listener will recognize you immediately. How do you create new material? Do you compose together in a rehearsal room or is someone the "main" author?

Nice that you think we’re not typical and that’s true, we’re not typical “Swedish death metal” even though we are very influenced by the old Swedish sound. We are also inspired by the old British sound, even more than Swedish I think. That’s what we talked about when we started this, we wanted influences from different sources. There are many bands with an “old sound” but all of them only sound Swedish or British or American or Brazilian, so we thought, why not blend? Yeah you can clearly hear Bolt Thrower on some songs but on some other songs Repulsion or Autopsy influences are more present. And that’s why every song on our albums stands out and becomes memorable. And that’s what I often hear about DEATHSWARM, that our songs are catchy. No, Johan composes all the music at home and send all the files to me to write all the lyrics. We don’t rehearse at all and never have actually. Not necessary.

When you say Sweden and death metal, a lot of experiences come together. Unfortunately, I have never been to your country. I wonder how the scene works for you. I mean underground now. Is it still like the old days? Do people go to concerts a lot? Do bands support?

You should visit us someday, we have a very cold climate and very expensive beer haha. I think the underground death metal movement is strong enough for what it is. And that’s how it should stay, underground and nothing more. There are a lot of bands from Sweden but unfortunately many of them are commercially oriented and many of the newer bands try to play metal but can’t. Very few of them are genuinely good in my opinion. But I think people go to concerts, perhaps not as much as in other countries but still. I don’t go to concerts like I used to in the past so I wouldn’t know actually. I’m pretty sure it’s not like the old days.

As I wrote, DEATHSWARM is a band of experienced musicians themselves. Today's world has changed dramatically in recent years. Paper magazines used to be read, they were often the only source of information, today everyone has the Internet in their pocket, they can listen to music from the other side of the world in a few minutes. Technology has also changed. How do you, as a musician, perceive these changes? Did you have to change your approach in any way?

This whole internet thing is just awesome in my opinion, but it’s not exactly “new” anymore is it? But sure, I was there in the old days with tapetrading, fanzines and stuff, and yeah, it was charming and exciting in its own way, but I prefer this technology. You reach more people and spread your music thousand times faster. In my experience those changes occurred very smoothly when internet was “new” in Sweden, since my whole education at that time in the mid-90s was based on computers and internet so contacting people with e-mail was more than welcome to me. No more one-month-wait-for-mail from labels and mags. It was great. And still is great with all the social medias and stuff. The only negative is all that garbage that comes with new technology.

How do you remember the time when you started with music? What was Sweden like in your youth? Who was your role model and inspiration in your beginnings? How did you even get into death metal?

It was not like today I can tell you haha, now every grandma and their childrens children go to see Mayhem shows. In those days, and I mean the mid 80s, this extreme music wasn’t accepted at all in Sweden, it was very new and dangerous and noisy to most people back then. It was bigger and more accepted in other European countries, like Germany for instance. But there were some of us who were active in the underground and spread the word as it gradually grew and finally exploded by the end of the decade when death metal became this big thing. I was into this “extreme metal” since I heard Venom back in 1983, everything changed for me after that and I looked for more of the same stuff, so it got more and more extreme, one band lead to another. Bathory to Celtic Frost to Sodom to Possessed etc.. I checked out every band that came out actually. It was not like this endless metal jungle today, you could keep track of every band then, at least I could. And in those days you always looked for those who could play faster. Suddenly S.O.D. wasn’t fast enough so in came Cryptic Slaughter, and then Wehrmacht, then Napalm Death etc. And to see all that glam shit and how good old traditional metal turn into something like “Turbo” made me want to check out even more extreme and obscure stuff and dive into the underground even more. I was not only in death metal, I listened to lots of hardcore punk and crossover and thrash and speed metal also of course, and bought every damn record that came out. I was obsessed with this music back then. So I didn’t have one specific role model, the whole scene was my role model, they were all my heroes haha.

Are you a collector of music media? Do you support your favorite bands? Which one has appealed to you lately?

I was a serious collector for 30 years but stopped buying stuff about 7 years ago. It was unhealthy and got out of hand so I stopped completely. Back in the day when I supported my favorite bands I collected everything with all the bands, CDs, LPs, picture discs, singles of all formats, demotapes, VHS etc etc. And I had many favorite bands haha. There are some “newer”bands I really like, like Hail Spirit Noir and Exmortus for example. I try to check out as much as possible, but there too many bands and too little time.

What does death metal mean to you? Is it just music or a lifestyle? How would you bring it closer to a person who has never listened to him? You can easily embark on the field of philosophy.

For me extreme metal in general means freedom and self-empowerment, both musically and lifestyle I suppose. Although I listen to much more stuff than metal nowadays. To people who never have listened to death metal I would recommend the oldest stuff from the mid-80s and then to move forward.

What are DEATHSWARM planning in the coming months?

Nothing big really, some interviews and stuff and we will probably write some music I think. You can’t do much more than that in these virus times. Have a couple of beers also.

Thanks for the interview. I wish not only the new album the best possible sales, concerts packed with fans and good luck in your private life! I'm going to play "Forward into Oblivion". And really loud!

Thanks for this interview man, and good luck to you too and your writing, you’re doing a great job for this scene. Yeah our new album should be played really loud so you can see all the maggots crawling out of the speakers. Cheers man!

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