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Aeon's Zeb Nilsson: "We were hesitating for a while to release the album, but after a while we decided that we needed to just record and get it out soon"

Interview with Zeb Nilsson from Aeon
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 24 November 2021, 3:30 PM

If it is successful enough, why not support like hell? In a way that is the story of Aeon up until their new album, "God Ends Here", emerged. With an astounding album out, the band toured, came back from a lineup change, and continued to triumph by touring. Prior to the new album, they even brought back an old band member, and the let the good times roll. Surging with an iron fist of old school Death Metal, the Swedish group sounds destructive than ever, wall of sounds, massive riffs and a deathly front end. Steinmetal had a chat with guitarist Zeb Nilsson, which is highly glad by the new prospect

Hello Zeb, it is my sheer pleasure to have you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been doing sir?

I'm all good

Aeon surely made a name to itself earlier on, in particular with the magnitude created with the release of the previous record, “Aeons Black”, displayed the vehement force of Swedish Death Metal. Nonetheless, afterwards, you simply stopped with the departure of Arttu Malkki. Were you able to even garner anything from the momentum of the record or was it a sort of a missed case?

We didn't stop after Arttu left. We had Emil Wiksten in the band from 2013-2015 and we did 7 tours with him during that period.

I can understand the need to have the best people with you, and I am positive that to find a drummer that would be fit for the band’s needs isn’t that of an easy task, even with the selection of musicians in Europe. Nonetheless, would you say that you perhaps were somewhat picky? Would you say that the guys backed you up by waiting around until the right guy will take the position?

Yeah, we are picky, because we have to. We have always been focusing on getting a solid ground as a band. Our worst gigs should still sound good. That is something we´ve always been strict on. And since we are a band we all decide whether we should wait or not. It´s not…  my decision.

Eventually you found your man, in the image of Janne Jaloma, who also earlier joined Dark Funeral. I wonder, just in order to capture how you view folks that want to try out for the band, how did you recognize that there is something to build on here? How did you find Jaloma’s personality as fitting for Aeon?

Usually we can tell very fast if the drummer is somewhat capable of playing our songs. Janne had no problems at all nailing it all. Janne also share the same dark wicked humor as the rest of us which of course is great.

When I thought about it, it occurred to me that perhaps you had a new drummer, yet he landed in the band while the Covid-19 pandemic started to spread wildly. What were the effects of the pandemic on the band itself, the lack of live action mainly? Did it damage your motivation or maybe even the chemistry between the members?

We had Timo Häkkinen from Finland in the band in Covid on a hiatus. And as they locked down the possibility to travel between Finland and Sweden it made it hard to continue with him. That was when we contacted Janne.

We were hesitating for a while to release the album, but after a while we decided that we needed to just record and get it out soon. And we timed it pretty well by the way things are looking right now.

With your twin axe partner in crime, Daniel Dlimi, returning to Aeon after a long while, you had that motivation to create again, what kind of inspirations engulfed that eventually led to the creation of your new album, “God Ends Here”?

Just pure motivation. The feeling of “let's do this again like old times”

Honestly, the first thing that I thought to myself about “God Ends Here”, in particular, since you were always so adamant with anti-religious themes throughout the band’s career, that you actually found way to show people that no one is protected, prayers are of no use, just take a look of what is going on worldwide. Is this record, by essence, a sort of sticking people in the eyes, especially those that refuse to open them?

Tommy who came up with the title did so way before Covid so it wasn't meant to show anything to people regarding that. But sure, both God Ends Here and Aeons Black could suit very well to describe the world during a pandemic.

From your perspective, what can you tell in regards to the artwork of the album, what does this sort of up the hill temple represents? Perhaps people’s future doom due to blind faith, a faith that may as well have been a lie?

Like I mentioned Tommy came up with the title, and the cover artwork was basically my view of that title. I know that for Tommy the title means more of his own beliefs. When he sings about his “temple of stone” it's his body and his mind, he means it. But to me God Ends Here got me thinking of a place in Hell rather than that so the artwork is pretty much my view of the title. And I know that Tommy likes his lyrics to be like that. Everyone can have their own interpretation of it.

I was glad to bear witness, while listening, that you preserve your heritage of old school Death Metal traits, yet it seems that doors and opportunities were opened with the musical aspects of “God Ends Here”, which made the album varied, treading in different fields lightly. How do you find the musical progress of the band while the record was the works?

I think we progress naturally. We don't do anything that doesn't feel or sound good to us. And our roots have always been old school death metal, but we always try to put our own trademark to it as well.

The album itself is constructed in such a form as if it was a full blown concept. Well, perhaps it is, and feel free to correct me. The appearance of a selection of four instrumentals is quite something, some displaying the cinematic type, right rupturing peoples’ spleens with tough heaviness. Were these intros a kind of marker for the beginnings, or endings, of chapters of the record?

Yeah you nailed it. We wanted it to feel like a concept album with chapters, and also a moment to catch the breath to enjoy the metal more. We also had different themes performed in different ways across the album. For example, the intro for Queen of Lies is an orchestral version of the ending of Liars Den. If you listen carefully you will hear that.

You are a veteran songwriter no doubt, and you can’t trade anything for experience. Nonetheless, I believe that new tricks can be learned on a daily basis. What did the songwriting process of “God Ends Here” teach you? What lessons of the past did you implement in the record?

I just added more variations to my way of writing music. Not so much cookie cutter style as previous albums as “it has to be death metal” or anything like that.

We talked earlier about Janne Jaloma, as the new drummer of Aeon, was he able to contribute to the songwriting of the record? Did he have an input on his own drum lines?

Janne is not a full time member of Aeon. He was a session musician for this album. He didn't have any input on the songwriting, but he did have his own input and style on his parts.

Through the record, there is a massive load of meaty and gritty riffs, which of a person that is a sucker for such riffs, is a wholesome party. Alongside these riffs, there are examples of powerful soloing, which are always bliss in a Death Metal album. How do you view the guitar work on the album, in particular with your partner coming back to the fold?

I think we both have different styles of writing, and they go along very well. My style is more chuggy riffs and Daniels has more fast tremolo picking to it.

Ronnie Björnström topped his own efforts to continue the strong impact of Aeon’s wall of sound. “God Ends Here” is a beast in its massiveness, you can actually view the violent nature of some of the songs through the veils of the sound. What is your appreciation of the work done by Mr. Björnström?

Ronnie is very easy for us to work with, because he knows exactly what we're looking for. He starts by doing a scratch mix and then we add our opinions to stuff like “more guitar”, “more sub to the bass drum” and stuff like that. Then he has a very big talent to add cool effects to the vocals which adds another depth to the mix.

I often ask this question in regards to the artist’s own experience while listening to his / her own record. When you listened to “God Ends Here”, what went on through your mind? Being focused constantly, where did the record lead you?

It leads me to want to top it. I want to start working on the next album.

With everything slowly coming back, cultural wise, what are the plans of Aeon to support the record? What is going on with you guys in 2022?

We hope to be able to tour a lot. We are currently trying to find a drummer who can do so with us. That and to start working on the next album which we want to put out within 2 years from now.

Zeb, it was awesome to have you sir, thank you for sharing your inputs in regards to “God Ends Here”. It is fortunate that Aeon returned, and I hope that it won’t take time until the next record. All the best. Cheers

It won´t. Thank you for the interview


 



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