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Freternia’s Tomas Wäppling: “I live Metal and it has helped me through many hard times, yet it put me in some awkward situations as well”

Interview with Tomas Wäppling from Freternia
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 12 August 2019, 9:44 PM

It wasn’t known if it was bound to happen, but it did. The Swedish Power Metallers of Freternia made a comeback, and after two great albums, the wait was worth it for number three after more than a decade and a half. Steinmetal had a chat with the band’s Tomas Wäppling about the new album, “The Gathering”, coming back to the Metal scene, and of course about Metal in general.

Hello Tomas, it is a pleasure to have you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, what have been up to lately?

Hello and thank you! Well, with “The Gathering” recently released we are mainly preparing for live performances and promotion.

I guess a Welcome Back is in order, seventeen years since the last time an album was released from Freternia, and here you are back from a long slumber. Where have you been all this time? What led you to this lengthy absence?

Thanks, yes it has been far too long if you ask me but to be able to write and deliver trustworthy songs, it demands your presence. In the end of 2003 (I think it was) we had been facing so much turbulence that we simply lost that presence. A couple of halfhearted attempts has been made to rise again but it wasn ́t until 2017 that we found the inspiration that led us to where we are now.

Signing with the Greek label Rock Of Angels Records, and released a comeback album, “The Gathering”, which on its own is a massive event. What is your perspective on what has been going on in the Freternia camp recently? I am sure the excitement levels are off the charts.

It feels great, really, and we are very satisfied with and thankful for this possibility given by ROAR. But it won't end here, we are actually already in the writing process for a fourth album.

How has the album been received by your fanbase? Are you satisfied with the final outcome yourself?

It has been very well received, so much positive feedback. We are very satisfied with the final result and it feels very close to what we wanted to achieve when we decided to do this thing.

In a way, “The Gathering” is a continuation of your sophomore, “A Nightmare Story”, in regards to your musical perception. The meaning is sheer punishing, yet melodically romantic, Power Metal force. Do you agree with that notion? Are there musical elements on “The Gathering” that weren’t part of “A Nightmare Story”?

That is right on the spot, our intention was to keep the basic elements that we think defines our sound. Partly aggressive guitar based Metal spiced with tempo shifting, melodic vocals “the Humppi way” and of course the choirs. The idea was to begin where “Requiem” faded out on “A Nightmare Story”, to write and record material with a slightly wider range to not just repeat ourselves. I would say that the use of keyboards and drums are what differs the most between those albums.

How can you describe the songwriting on “The Gathering”? With most of the band members fairly new, what changed in how the band writes its material?

With the return of Patrik Von Porat (earlier Lund) we are actually 4 original members from “Warchants & Fairytales”. But the addition of Oskar Lumbojev and Nicklas Von Porat has given us the possibility to take it a step further in terms of songwriting. In this lineup we have three different songwriters with in many ways the same musical ideals. Our individual differences adds depth but it is important that we do this as a band and all input is important.

I really love the album’s artwork, made by Stan Decker, which has been known for various artworks for Metal / Hard Rock albums. What is your appreciation of the guy’s work? Does this artwork symbolizes your awakening?

Yes indeed, Stan Decker has created an incredible piece of art that exceeded our expectations by far! Pasi got this vision based upon the lyrics that he wrote for the song “The Escape”, he wrote a short “description” and Stan answered with this masterpiece

I noticed that most of the guest performances surrounded the song, “Last Fragments Of Sanity”. What made this song so special that had you deciding on guests?

For the recording of “Warchants & Fairytales” we invited guests to be part of what was given the name “The Hellchoir” and that was something we wanted to do with “The Gathering” as well. The vocal guest performances made by Mikael Dahl (Crystal Eyes) and Johannes Nyberg (ex-Zonata) was originally planned to be a part of this choir but in the studio we decided to record a couple of leads and “Last Fragments Of Sanity” was a suitable song for that.

Which of the album’s songs meant to you the most? These tracks that you can let go, make your heart pound when you listen to them time after time? Please elaborate on your pick

Difficult one I’d say, music is so attached to emotions and as the winds shift so does the favorite song. But to pick one I have to mention “End Of The Line”, I think it has so much of the elements that I appreciate in our music. Also this song has been given a for them very personal touch by every member of the band. That would be the main reason for me, how the pieces fall into place knowing that without these contributions it might even have ended up in the bin.

Do you feel that after all this time, with Freternia gone, it still has something to prove in today’s Metal scene, which has been undergoing changes?

Not at all, we are doing this for our fans that has encouraged us and been very persistent for all these years. Besides that we just want to play/create music and have a great time doing that. A couple of reviews mention that we sound “same, same” and that we “haven ́t adapted to modern songwriting” and that makes us smile, because that is exactly what we wanted to achieve. We have to love the music ourselves cause if not it wouldn't be very much of a great time.

Several research articles argue that Heavy Metal music calms the nerves. Can Heavy Metal truly calm us down dealing with tough challenges and constant struggles of every day’s life? Aren’t we supposed to be the wild ones?

Absolutely, there's no need for a research in that matter. I have mentioned how close music is attached to emotions. I live Metal and it has helped me through many hard times, yet it put me in some awkward situations as well. A rebellious heart, kept calm by the many shifting moods of Metal.

So how do you intend to support the new album? Will there be a European tour? Or perhaps festival appearances?

In August we will enter the stage in Gothenburg for the first time since our live appearance at the Sweden Rock Festival in 2003. That is where we will begin, our intention is to give our fans the possibility to experience our songs live but nothing is decided at this point.

Tomas, thank you for your time for this interview. I am so glad that you guys returned, another melodic Metal power is sure at a need. Cheers mate.

Thank you for interesting questions and kind words! Skål!



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