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Sorcery's Paul Johansson: "…I don't think old school Death Metal will reach its old popularity, unfortunately, but there’s still hope. Just look at my kids, they still think somehow this shit is amazing"

Interview with Paul Johansson from Sorcery
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 26 September 2019, 11:15 PM

It has been over and over with bands that remain true to their roots, playing the same direction of Metal time after time, without hesitating or really giving a damn about what is going on around them. Once again, you can call it true or ignorance, but you can't argue with passion right? Sweden's Death Metal Sorcery band released their new album “Necessary Excess of Violence”, via Xtreem Music, showing that brutality can be refined and tuned, like a fine piece of machinery. Steinmetal had a talk with Paul Johansson of the band about the new release, Death Metal of the old kind, new band member and more…  

Hello Paul, it is an honor having you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine. How have you been doing sir?

Hello, I’ve been doing great, just got home from a nice vacation that I spent with my family in Greece, ready for an awesome autumn.

Clocking three years, and the Sorcery camp continues its rampage with “Necessary Excess of Violence”, maintaining a strong relationship with Xtreem Music. What is your appreciation of the album?

Playing around with the guitar back at home, I came up with the first riff in the album that is now in the song Death is near, I had no idea where this were going. But we managed to pull through and I'm very proud of the final product. The album became more “brutal” than I first anticipated, but still it has the Sorcery essence.

How has the album been received by your fans and other Metalheads?

It’s been mixed reviews but for the most part it’s been received well. The most common complaint is that the production of the album has been lackluster, the drums and the guitar are too “dominant” But still it’s brutal and most of the fans enjoyed it. We also got some new fans with this album, which I'm very happy about!

Have you already played a release show? If so, how was it?

No we haven’t, we’re not sure when it’s going to take place. We had a sat date for it, but the club went out of business. But it will happen shortly and it’s going to be brutal.

Since Sorcery has been quite consistent with its old school Swedish Death Metal, what in your opinion makes “Necessary Excess of Violence” stand out in comparison to the previous album? Which musical elements within your music did you emphasize more on this album?

I’ve always wanted to have vocal parts with good melodies mixed with some brutal and fast stuff, so even though this album is heavier, I still think that we managed to keep it Sorcery material. Our new drummer “Tommy” have a more inventive way of playing with new ideas, so in parts its faster and more interesting drumming than our previous albums I’d say.

Speaking of your vision of Death Metal, and clinging to the good old days, as I mentioned regarding “Necessary Excess of Violence”, what still motivates you to keep on going? Especially with the swarm of modern made Death Metal albums going around

We have just been doing the same thing we did as teenagers and we love it, we are still hooked in the old stuff and not so fond of the new Death Metal that is rising, it isn't Sorcery. We just make the music that we think is good basically

What can you tell about the songwriting process of “Necessary Excess of Violence”? Was it mainly of a single or two songwriter or would you say it was a mutual cooperation by all members of the band?

We usually meet up and sit down to make some riffs. Sometime the process is teamwork and sometimes someone comes with a more or less finished song. Ola writes all the lyrics afterwards. We are very democratic and everybody has its say in the development of the songs.

I must say that the artwork of “Necessary Excess of Violence” is quite impressive, one of the better in comparison to the previous two albums since your return. What was the inspiration behind the artwork?

In the center there is an “entrance” that is actually a steam hammer from our steel factory where both me and Johan work for a living, which represents where we come from, Sandviken. The steam hammer itself is currently in the center of Sandviken like a monument, it’s the pride of the steel factory “Sandvik”, the second largest steel hammer in the Europe. We really wanted to implement this in the album's cover, since we were based in Sandviken all these years, and we see this as a kind of a tribute and respect to where we came from. So, we sent a photo of this steam hammer and some wishes about melting steel, fire and death to Juanjo Castellano and he worked his magic. We’re really fucking pleased about the result

Lyrical wise, what would you say is the leading theme that is integral within “Necessary Excess of Violence”?

Some of the songs deals with the regular “Death Metal” themes like death and dying in the most gruesome ways, but there are also songs that deal with how unnecessary religion in any form might be.

The new album debuts the appearance of your new drummer, Tommy Holmer, which I have been aware of his works in his bands Patronymicon and Planet Rain, and you already mentioned him earlier. What is your take on his contribution to the new album? What is your appreciation of his skills? Did he also contribute to the album’s songwriting?

Tommy had a great impact on the album, he’s very fast and impactful when it comes to the creation of songs, his understanding just makes it really easy for us to work with him. In addition, he came up with new fresh stuff and ideas that we implemented in the album. He is very calm as a person so he fits the band perfectly, we are happy to have him.

Which of the album’s track is your profound choice? That one track is the most meaningful to you? Please elaborate on your pick

This is so hard for me and I have to pick two songs. The first one being "The Stellar Circle". It contains what I spoke about earlier about the more brutal side and melodic side of the album. This was the track Johan mostly came up with, it's a fast paced song that I really enjoy and still to this day it makes me want to headbang.

The second one being "Death Is Near" and this also contains the same elements as "The stellar Circle", but in a different way. Creating this song back in my home in Björksätra. I was just fooling around on the guitar making noises that upset the neighbors and out of nowhere my son walks by and looked very impressed and said “Wow, that song is going to be epic” With some more fine tuning it turned out to be a banger

In overall, with the strong rise of modern extreme Metal, contemporary Death Metal in particular, do you believe that the old school style still matters? Any idea if whether it has the potential to become great as it was in the early 90s?

Yes, I still believe that the old style of Death Metal has a great impact on the metal scene. Just look at Scandinavia Death Fest, where we and our old friends in Dismember are going to play, and the excitement around this festival is overwhelming, by the way, make sure to be there on Friday, October 11, to see Sorcery play.

No, I don't think old school Death Metal will reach its old popularity, unfortunately, but there’s still hope. Just look at my kids, they still think somehow this shit is amazing.

To which bands have been listening to lately? Any promising acts that one day could be a big deal in the worldwide Metal scene?

For the most part are the old regular bands, Bathory, Mercyful fate, Kreator, Slayer and so on. Legends never die. Actually there’s band called Mercury Rust, that I’ve been listening to lately that I think is fantastic, it's a mix of Rainbow and Deep Purple. I’m always nagging on them when I’m drunk that they should play some live shows, but they say no because of their family situation. I don’t think it's the last time I’m drunk, so maybe there is hope.

What are your plans ahead to support “Necessary Excess of Violence”? Any tours and festivals for 2020 already booked?

Scandinavia Deathfest 11th-13th October, a gig in Jönköping in the club Dissonans 29th of November and having our release party sometime this autumn in our hometown Sandviken. That is what we have booked right now but we have more places to come just aren't finalized yet.

Paul, I wish to thank you for your time for this chat, I admire your motivation and resolve in producing a fine brand of Death Metal, like vintage wine. All the best mate.

Thank you for the continued support of the metal industry, keep up the good work, cheers.



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