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Henrik Ohlsson (Scar Symmetry)

Interview with Henrik Ohlsson from Scar Symmetry
by Elina Papadoyani at 25 April 2011, 11:49 PM

Swedish melodic Death metalers Scar Symmetry have just added their 5th full-length album in their 6 year course, called "The Unseen Empire". Drummer Henrik Ohlsson states that the title of the album "seeks to expose the hidden hand of the elite that pull the strings of mankind in order to fulfill their agenda of global domination". So we arranged to have an interview with Henrik to learn a little more about that and not only…  

Your new album "The Unseen Empire" is about to be released, tell a few words about the concept behind it

"The Unseen Empire" seek to expose the hidden hand of the bloodline elite that pull the strings of makind in order to fulfill their agenda of global domination. The album concept goes from theories of shadow governments to ancient bloodlines and even further into speculations of malevolent influence from metaphysical reptilian-based intelligences. There are visible empires that SEEM to rule and an invisible empire that truly rules the world.

This is your second album without Christian Alvestam in vocals,so it kind of certifies a new era for the band. What were the reasons of his departing and how is the cooperation now between the band having two vocalists?

The reason for Christian`s departure was simply that we couldn`t work with him anylonger. It got to the point to where we would either break up the band or fic the problem, the solution was to get rid of the singer. He refused to do tours for no apparent reason, wouldn`t do shows in certain countries and so on and so forth. That kind of attitude sucked the energy out of the band. With Roberth and Lars we don`t have those kinds of problems and the idea to have two vocalists has proved to be a great asset especially in live situations. We can switch between voices effortlessly and the possibilities when it comes to vocal arrangements are endless. We`ve bonded strongly with Roberth and Lars, both on a personal level and on a musical level, and it works out great. I think they both have evolved immensely since "Dark Matter Dimensions" and you definetly hear that on the new album.

What is your opinion about other Swedish melodic death metal bands? Do you like some in particular?

Are there any Melodic Death Metal bands left? I feel that those bands who have persisted through the years, Scar Symmetry included, have evolved and created their own sound and the new bands who are restricted to the old framework of Melo-Death are just doing what In Flames, Soilwork and Dark Tranquillity etc. did on their early albums. I think the genre as such is dead and I feel that you can`t really categorize us as being strictly Melodic Death Metal because have so many elements in our music that doesn`t fit into that genre and that`s one of our strong points as a band. But I respect all the bands who were part of creating Melodic Death Metal back in the day.

You released a lot of singles in the previous album ((Dark Matter Dimensions). Is this a strategy that you plan to keep on this one too?

That`s basically up to the label since Nuclear Blast handles everything regarding promotion of the album. We don`t really decide anything in that area. They want to sell as many albums as possible, so do we, and we trust them to make the correct decisions when it comes to singles and all that kind of stuff.

Do you plan on releasing a live album?

We`ve been busy recording the album and promoting the release through interviews this year. On top of that we escaped from the studio to do some stray shows during the recording the album. We actually started off by doing a US-tour instead of recording the new album! So, We haven`t discussed doing a live album or a DVD but if it the idea comes up we`ll think about it. It`s just not something that`s been in our focus so far.

What would you prefer-a totaly successful(masterpiece/multiplatinum) zenith album and then stopping for good or a just satisfying presense in the metal scene for many years to come?

How about having both? Or perhaps a fairly successful presence in the metal scene for years and then finish off with a multiplatinum album before retiring? If I have to choose one I would choose a satisfying presence for many years rather than just a really successful album and then nothing more.

In 6 years you've released 5 full-length albums, someone could say that you practically are in a non-stop writing and recording process, besides the touring.

Yeah, well, we`re not writing and recording all the time when we`re off the road. It doesn`t take long for us to write songs for an entire album. We can go from a couple of songs to material for a full length album within 2-3 weeks. We have so many sources of influence to draw inspiration from since we`re not restricted to any particular genre and that makes it easy to write music for this band. I think that`s one of the secrets of our productive behaviour, the fact that we are not restricted in our musical approach.

What are the touring plans this year? You have quite a few festivals planned for this summer

Yes, we have lots of festivals and events coming up this summer starting with the release party at the 30th of April. We`ll be busy taking care of all that during the summer, we even have an Australian tour coming up (possibly in June), and after the summer we`ll do a full tour. We`re currently negotiating which offer to accept. We`ll also do some dates in South America before the end of the year.

Are you working on a new video clip for a song of the new album?

That is also something we are currently discussing actually. We will do at least one video and we`re currently discussing the synopsis for that, we have lots of different cool ideas and it`s just a matter of deciding to go with something and then do it.

Which tour would you concider as the best so far, in terms of fans and fellow bands. What would be the pefect line-up for you for a future tour?

The last U.S-tour with Epica was amazing. I also have very fond memories of the first U.S-tour we did in support of Dark Tranquillity and The Haunted back in 2007. It was magical to go to the US for the first and that`s probably why I liked that tour so much, aside from the fact that we had a great response from the audiences. But the last US-tour with Epica was great. Awesome response and lots of people in the audiences. The perfect tour would be to get a direct support slot for Iron Maiden, no doubt about it!

And finally, how can someone make the Empire visible? How can he wash away the influence? Because I believe it's not the 'empire' that is ruling us, it's us letting it, cause we simply don't care anymore and find it very convinient not think for ourselves and have someone else do that..

I agree. But if you don`t even know what to look for it`s hard to wake up and do anything about it. How do you make it visible? Talk about it! Talking about it makes it visible and leaves people at least an option to do something or remain ignorant.

Thank you very much for your time, I leave the last words to you for the Metal Temple readers

I would like to take the opportunity to thank the fans, without the fans we wouldn`t be able to do what we do and we appreciate the support immensely. Check our facebook/myspace-sites for the latest info!


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Edited 10 August 2022

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