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Anders Nystrom (Bloodbath)

Interview with Anders Nystrom from Bloodbath
by Yiannis Doukas at 21 October 2008, 10:41 AM

BLOODBATH's return maybe was not as good as I needed but it's a big event for Death Metal in general. What is clear is - from one hand - their devotion to old school Death Metal and MORBID ANGEL which is cool, and the fact that they want to take a step further with their band, which is cooler. Get out from your coffins and start mocking the cross. Anders Blakkheim Nystrom will explain us how.

It's been some years of absence for the band, four since Nightmares Made Flesh and three since the gig in 'Wacken Open Air'. What happened to the band all these years? Did you want to concentrate on your main bands?

There was a bunch of reasons…We went through lineup changes, we had an especially long audition while searching for a new vocalist, we had to clear legal rights and paperwork from the different labels we're signed to individually, we had to negotiate new deal on a new label and we were keeping busy with our main bands the whole time. You know, time flies…

What was the purpose behind the release of Unblessing The Purity? Was it like a declaration that you are back? Were those tracks written in different period from the The Fathomless Mastery ones? Also, are you satisfied with Wacken Carnage? How was it like  playing after all these years for the first time? Is it possible to happen again?

Yes, Unblessing The Purity was our statement of a new lineup and new a musical direction coming your way, we only did an EP to test the waters for a coming full-length. The songs for the EP were written \[in] spring 2007 while all the material for The Fathomless Mastery was written in spring this year.

The Wacken Carnage came out really cool! We rehearsed three times before the gig and Mike joined us on the last one of them. Wacken was a very exciting time! It was the biggest crowd I've ever performed to and I think it was the first time in my life I got on a stage to burst out nothing else but Death Metal from start to finish. The show went as good as it could on the premises that we just rehearsed briefly and never stood a stage together before. Challenging cool shit!

It actually happened again, as we returned to the stage this summer to play Germany's Party.San and Finland's Pellavarock festivals with the new lineup. We had a blast! Great times!

What were the reasons behind the departure of Dan Swano? Did he get bored or he wanted to move in different direction? Is it possible to be considering that such a removal can change a little the band's style? Are you satisfied with Per Eriksson? He was the guitar tech before, wasn't he?

Yeah and he still is! Well, for KATATONIA that is. Dan Swano wanted to take things into one direction and we another. We also didn't share the appreciation for live gigs and touring, so it was time for a change. When Per 'Sodomizer' Eriksson replaced Swano we got a lot of inspiration to proceed again with our visions for BLOODBATH. Sodomizer wrote 2 of the songs on the EP, 3 songs on the new album and put some great solos over all the tracks.

Can you describe the differences behind The Fathomless Mastery and the older albums? Did you have a main purpose behind the writing of the new tracks and following a specific direction?

We wanted to make something where everything tied together, both musically, lyrically and visually. We're doing Death Metal the way we want Death Metal to be represented. It goes beyond all the 'emo' Death Metal crap that is currently so popular on MySpace and back to the times when bands like MORBID ANGEL and ENTOMBED ruled the world and we're bringing all that right back here and incorporating those elements into the possibilities of 2008. The Fathomless Mastery surely has some of the fasted, most technical and complicated stuff we've ever done, but at the same time I think there are a lot of hooks throughout the album. There are a couple of choruses where it's very easy to catch the groove and even sing along to i.e. Mock The Cross, Treasonous, Hades Rising etc. There might not be as much melodic and accessible simple parts as before, but that's because the focus is more on a brutal and blasphemous sound. We view the style we started on the EP and the new album as the beginning of new phases and right now this is how we envision BLOODBATH to sound like. The next release might sound different; it depends on where our minds are at the time…

It's obvious there are many MORBID ANGEL references in your sound. What is your favorite album from them? How did you see the return of David Vincent? Did you see any live appearance? What is your expectation for their new album?

It's damn hard to point out a favorite album in their discography. All of them are classics in their own time. I'm not especially fond of the albums released after Domination, so for me it's all about the first five. David Vincent is the best Death Metal vocalist in the world and he's a great frontman. I'm very happy he's back in the legends of Death Metal. Their new album is probably the most anticipated album for me in 10 years. I heard one new song live and it sounded great! I just hope they don't go record at the same place they've been on the last couple of records. The production is crucial here. It can kill the album.

BLOODBATH is considered by the Press as the ultimate Death Metal project. Do you still see the band like this? I'm asking this because it's rare for a project band having in their catalogue three albums? Do you have any plans for going any further?

We do think we put out some of the finest Death Metal out there, otherwise we wouldn't do it, but take the term super group for example. That was something invented by the Media and our labels loved to use it since it will help them market the product better as that's their policy as a commercial industry. We never bothered about making the names involved a hype in the limelight, because we're all old friends that have been together in the same business for 18 years and still going, we're who we are and it's just fun to see all our former achievements made our names part of the Metal history. We do BLOODBATH because Death Metal is a big passion. I don't see that coming to an end yet.

When you hear the words Death Metal what is the first thing that comes into your mind? Is it anything that you reminisce from the past? Do you think that the underground, that used to be back then, still exists?

I think of the years 1988-1992 and the culmination and demise of the Death Metal underground. I'm proud to have been around and part of it, both as a fan and a musician. Those formative years were magic!

How does the band compose music? Does each person write separately his tracks and then you collect the best of them or you work them all together? The decision of making a new album when did it come? When you have reached a desired number of them?

When we do engulf in a BLOODBATH session, we do it with maximum devotion. Being serious about something and having fun at the same time is BLOODBATH in a nutshell. We always write individually on our own. What we do is book a date for the studio and work our way towards it as deadline for the writing. Often, we haven't even heard each other's songs before entering the studio. It's very fresh and exciting to hear and see everything come together fort he first time there. Axe, our drummer usually listen to the demo songs a couple of times out in the kitchen or control room and then he just goes in and nail them one by one. This guy's a machine! It's a very unorthodox and spontaneous way of recording, but it keeps it fun and adds magic to it. There are never those dull moments, never those routine days, nothing is all grey and safe. It's all wildfire!

There has been also a change behind your record company. What was the reason behind this? Did you search for a company or Peaceville made an offer and you started to create a new album?

We've been signed to Peaceville with KATATONIA for many years and recently they also bought all the rights to our entire backcatalogue including some of our former side projects, so it made sense to switch BLOODBATH over there as well to have all in one place. There were more advantages than the other way.

What are your impressions of the current Death Metal scene in your country land? Have you discovered any new band? Is it possible for a come back with the plethora of bands like the rise of nineties? You know back then there was many and really groundbreaking bands with their own personality. Look at bands like ENTOMBED, UNLEASHED, THERION and others.  

I loved the last two UNLEASHED albums, pure quality Death Metal, the best they ever did actually. ENTOMBED do what ENTOMBED do best, Death 'n' Roll, although I miss their earlier days as well and I'm not sure their latest lineup has been the best for the band. THERION has a great heritage in Death Metal's beginning but the style they're playing now is 100% uninteresting, and that's not because it's not old-school Death Metal, I simply don't think it's good. I put all my hope in MORBID ANGEL's comeback and hope it puts a big shadow on the MySpace scene. The Metalcore/Death hybrid must be one of the worst trends yet!

Can you give us some information about your lyrics? I see many references about blasphemy anti religion. What are your feelings about this, do you believe that the church still has power? The title of the album; how did it come and what does it mean?

I think it's pretty self-explanatory…Fathomless = Too obscure or complicated to be understood. Mastery = The status of master with the full command of a subject. Obviously we're talking about the definition of BLOODBATH here haha!

Blasphemy, gore and death †that's what we like to write about and what should be the true ideal of this genre. BLOODBATH is a Death Metal band and therefore the music and lyrics are reflections of the original Death Metal concept. We want our music and lyrics to be dark and twisted, it has to be.

There is a poll in our magazine about some lost Metal heroes. What are your thoughts when you hear names like Chuck Schuldiner or Quorthon? If you had a chance of meeting some of them, who could it be and what would you like to tell him?

I'd really like to have a personal talk with Quorthon one on one. He's been an enormous influence for me and my career. Both him and Chuck was huge losses to the scene. True metal legends! Damn, I gotta put on some of their stuff right now to honor their legacy.

There is an unbelievable part in your new album at the end of Mock The Cross with some bell knocking that is completely creepy. Did this sound achieved with any sample effect or something?

Yeah, a combination of different samples. What you hear is the cross swaying in the wind slowly cracking apart. Mock the fucking Cross!!!

What was the basic force that drives you into playing Death Metal and express yourself through it? Do you find it as a limited genre for expression? Is it easy for some bands today to offer something complete new into this sound?

BLOODBATH doesn't really seek to have something new to offer. We're totally busy reveling in the old school, but bringing it right up to the modern times and executing it the way we think is elite. Since our main bands have taken the roads of progression it's just a damn good vacation to stay true to the roots and do it the real simple way with a project like BLOODBATH. This style should be limited to remain its true identity. If you seek for progression in Death Metal you have bands like IN FLAMES, DARK TRANQUILITY who incorporated the melodic aspect into their sound. You have bands like SAMAEL who went industrial, PARADISE LOST and TIAMAT who went gothic, you know…

And some information about the cover. Who made it? Gore enough, eh? By the way, do you like gore movies? Any favorite one?

Dusty Peterson is the name of the artist. We held a public contest for the EP that anyone who would submit the best artwork would get the cover and a name for themselves. He totally outclassed the others and was easy to work with. He nailed down our concept perfectly, so we decided to keep working with him for the full-length as well and this time he got paid like a professional. What you see on the cover is not just a bunch of zombies…It's the breed of the three wise kings dying by starvation and plague. The Nazarene wasn't even born.

Thanx a lot brother! Hope seeing you in a live gig. Metal!

My pleasure. Cheerz!


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