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Slithering Decay's Niko: "What we look for is redundant. Individualism doesn’t change a thing in this screwed up world"

Interview with Jörgen S. & Niko from Slithering Decay
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 23 May 2021, 9:15 PM

The reality of things that nothing is easy, always a struggle, crossing between obstacles, never finding the true meaning of piece, as constantly searching for the fun in the sun. Mankind can or can't do anything for its future; it depends on so many thing and not mainly inner will. However, one cannot ignore that this journey is built from small victories, a few shards of hope that might grow to become a wider phenomenon to save us all. Slithering Decay speak of the pitch black brutal future, which might become a reality, else people will get themselves together. With the coming of “Aeons Untold”, there is an inside looking in gaze upon a possible turn of events. Steinnetal spoke to the two main men behind it all, Jörgen S. & Niko about this newfound establishment.

Hello guys, it is great to have you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been sir?

Jörgen: All is fine, no complaints.

Considering the fact that the pandemic out there is still a reality, and with 2021 appears to be a lost case, similar to 2020, when it comes to cultural life. How does the situation affect the status of Slithering Decay?

Jörgen: All social distance measures regarding the pandemic really didn’t affect us at all. We all live relatively far from each other, so we have always worked independently on music, even while recording.

It was my first time listening to Slithering Decay, and I was compelled by your musical escapade, mainly leaning on the Swedish kind of Death Metal, switching back to the early 90s. As a matter of fact, it has been a common phenomenon to follow that musical pattern. In your view, what makes this Death Metal direction so mesmerising that it motivated you to push for it in your music?

Niko: Jörgen and I both grew up in the 80ies / early 90ies, enthralled by the uprising of both Black & Death metal. It left a tremendous impression and obviously marked its sign upon our soul, influencing our musical taste up to this very day.

Jörgen: There are countless great Swedish death metal bands, but Slithering Decay is specifically a tribute to that HM2-driven guitar sound that was so closely associated with the early 90’s Stockholm scene. When we started Slithering Decay, the central idea was to exclusively work with this specific guitar sound, to expand upon an inspiring tradition.

With bands finding Swedish Death Metal as their chief influence, what do you think that makes Slithering Decay as a standout within a vast sea of bands that keeps that HM-2 buzzsaw as their main stage?

Niko: I think that’s up to the listener to decide. All I can say is that I write Death Metal the way I want it to be, not “in function of”… Neither do I intend to reinvent the genre. Old school is the only way!

Very recently, you made your first steps into the label world by signing with the old school grounds of Testimony Records. What can you tell about the signing? How do you find the label’s policy towards newcomer bands?

Niko: I had been in contact with Dennis from Testimony records once our demo came out in early 2018. He seemed quite keen on working with us, so we planned on recording the album by the end of that same year. However, several personal issues held us back and we had to postpone the record a few times. Our contact faded a little bit at that point, but luckily Dennis did not forget about us!

Jörgen: Everything went quite smoothly. We presented a selection of our new music, talked about the possibilities and quickly came to a mutual agreement. Testimony Records did their very best to release this properly; meaning it is not merely a quick dump on a cheap CD but a format spanning release. The album will be available on CD, different vinyl colours, streaming platforms, etc.

After teasing with two singles in the last couple of months, your debut album “Aeons Untold” is set to hit as hard as it sounds. A rather obvious question, yet always important in particular to bands of the same status, how does it feel to finally see your debut album out?

Niko: Incredible! A lot of work & energy has been channelled into this debut, so there’s always a great sense of pride when it’s finally available. It has been a long wait and we’re curious to see how the album will be received.

Let’s talk philosophy a bit. Titling your album “Aeons Untold” might as well send the listener to wander a bit in regards to a distant future that is uncertain. Frankly, most of us don’t know what will happen tomorrow, yet it would be interesting to know what you are looking for? What there is to be?

Niko: What we look for is redundant. Individualism doesn’t change a thing in this screwed up world. The (near) future we envision is not one of pleasure and laughter.


Wesley Dewanckel made you quite the artwork, portraying a world that appears as doomed as the songs that inhibit the release. What was the vision behind this artwork? How does it fit the future, or perhaps a past, that you foresee?

Niko:  I have worked with Wesley before and I trust fully in his abilities. Apart from a few directions in terms of the used colours, we gave him artistic freedom to express his visions when listening to our music. He understood the atmosphere we were going for: classic 90´s style death metal artwork with weird, otherworldly landscapes, brooding skies, imposing haunting celestial bodies, mystic effigies, … It is not a reflection of this world, past, present or future, but rather a vision of which one needs to make sense individually.

Going through the track list, similar to plenty of other Death Metal bands, the nature of Death is your essence, along with several of its gory features. However, do you have other intentions through these tracks? Are you trying to show the listener things of importance that shouldn’t be missed?

Niko:  Some of the lyrics certainly have a predefined concept, but we wanted to avoid the current zeitgeist of “here’s my opinion on everything”! As such, the lyrics are intentionally abstract and left open for different interpretations. Others are just feelings/emotions coming up when looking at certain works of art, etc.

One of the main key features of the album, which kept me fired up, is your attitude towards soloing. Even though the lead guitar was rather thrown away by various Death Metal bands, even back in the heydays, you made it an adamant element in your music. Needless to say that these solos tread in several fields, from what sounded to me like Hard Rock and classic Metal to the extremity levels that you already possess. How do you find the importance of these melodic and intense features in your music?

Niko: Solos can add to the overall atmosphere of a track in many ways and are a must on every Death Metal record. Imagine Morbid Angel without Trey’s virulent soloing…

Jörgen: The guitar solos on “Aeons Untold” are globally stylistically different from the style I would gravitate towards in another band I’m in. In Slithering Decay, the focus is more on the chaotic and frantic character of the whole, but to add a sense of contrast, I tend to add some short melodic passages here and there. I do feel that guitar solos absolutely have a place in death metal, yet they should always be part of the composition as a whole and play a specific role in the narrative development of the song, not just an afterthought or an easy way to fill out some otherwise bland, uneventful parts.

Even though it hasn’t been a while since your demo period, “Aeons Untold” pretty much set a new standard for you guys. How would you say that the work on the album developed you as a band unit, in regards to chemistry, and of course, as a songwriter?

Niko: Jörgen and I were already in regular contact with previous musical escapades, so we knew what to expect from each other. 90% of the song writing was done individually at home, so there’s not really a ‘band unit’, nor is there an urge to gather for rehearsals. Both of us wrote a bunch of songs, some were slightly adapted or elements were added, others were discarded. In the end we were left with 12 decent tracks of which 10 were picked out for the debut.

Jörgen: We have a fairly good idea of what we want to sound like as a band and what our individual roles are within that framework. I think the most interesting gradual development is that we really want to make use of the fact that there are two guitar players in the band, which allows us to add more texture, depth and variation to the material. Tomas (bass) and Bart (drums) are sublime musicians who intuitively just know how to enhance the songs with their tasteful playing.

What can you tell about the dangerous meeting between the lyrics and music on the album? How were you able to reach that connection to create the chaos on the record?

Niko: Step by step… The music was written first and then the lyrics. Not really intentionally, but penning down the lyrics with the song structure/sound in the back of your head certainly makes it easier to fit all the pieces of the puzzle.

I bet that it wasn’t that easy to gather up and record, needless to say write, “Aeons Untold” due to the pandemic. How were you able to rise up to the challenge and pull it off?

Jörgen: It was no challenge whatsoever. We write and record independently. We already worked on our debut demo in exactly the same fashion, way before the pandemic.

Dan Swanö is no doubt a master at its craft; he made the Swedish sound for so many bands that I lost count. How did you find your work with him? Would you say that he made it happen for Slithering Decay upon finding their true sound?

Jörgen: I have noticed in the past that there seems to be a lot of confusion regarding the actual role of a mastering engineer. We produced, engineered, recorded and mixed the album by ourselves. So the choice of amps, sound of the drums, … were choices we made independently.

I do believe that it is always best to have an outsider do the final step in the process – the master, so a final round of EQ/compression/limiting on the finished mix as presented by the band. The record label was open to our idea to have Dan Swanö take care of this task. In the past, I have cooperated directly with him for other mastering jobs, but this time around the record label was the intermediary. He always does a great job, this time is no exception.

When I listened to the highly energetic “Resurrected in Chaos”, I found myself in one of the oblivion’s scenarios. Blasting with intense soloing, devouring riffs and a punch of groove, slick and fast. What is your take on this track?

Niko: Actually, the opening track is the only one that I wrote with a certain premise. I wanted the album to start with a highly energetic monster, so I’m pleased to hear that it actually worked out exactly how I imagined.

 “Doomsday Prayer” actually started like a common tune, in particular on this album, yet it suddenly echoed and delivered an atmosphere that is equal to its title with a melodic soft rhythm that developed into vehemence. What can you tell about the overall atmosphere of the tune? What can you tell about its creation?

Niko: Some songs are written in a whim of inspiration (e.g. Resurrected in Chaos), others seem to take forever. This track was one of those hard nuts to crack! I had been stuck with this one for a long time and almost gave up on it. Close to the end of the recording I managed to fill in the missing parts and/or replacing riffs I wasn’t satisfied with. Most likely the reason why this track seems quite eclectic. I still love it though, just like all tracks.

With 2021 pretty much wasted, or at least most of it, what is planned for Slithering Decay up next?

Niko: That’s also an open question for us! Right now we’re busy with different projects and awaiting the release of “Aeons untold”, so let’s see what the future will bring.

Guys, many thanks for your time for this interview, I know I asked a lot. Thank you for delivering a fist in favor of the old school. All the best. Cheers

Thanks for the interview.


 



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