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The Generals' Rickard Hednar: "This is not about going to the hell, it’s more like to hell with it, fuck it, everything sucks basically…"

Interview with Rickard Hednar from The Generals
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 16 January 2021, 11:15 PM

It is rough out there, leaving aside the pandemic, as there will be a new era afterwards, with more than a few shreds of the pre-Covid 19 days. The big question is if it will ever change, the attitude, being human, the effects of modernism and how people interact. It is easy to start going through conspiracies for a dystopian future, yet people would just want to live their lives on their own accord. However, it is good that there will be someone to remind them that the future could be easily black. The Swedish Death Metal unit, The Generals, are back for a major Death Metal onslaught, leaving aside the spirit of Rock. Portraying the glory days of the early 90s, they introduce "To Hell", and it is down and hard. Steinmetal talked to Rickard Hednar about the band's return and the in your face attitude.

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

Very well thanks

It has been a while I’d tell you that, The Generals are back in full swing, down and dirty than ever, undoubtedly showing that the past can be sweet and deadly. I guess it would be proper to ask what had been going on after your split with Invasion? Where have you guys been? Was it a sort of an unofficial hiatus?

Well, after the release of the split 7” with Invasion we did a Sweden tour with London based Generation Graveyard as support act 2014. After that we decided to take a break with touring and start working on the next album. We all had kids around that time so it seemed like a perfect time to do so. Long story short, we have been writing music and trying to stay active online during these years. Unfortunately, the years ran away but here we are.

Talking about hiatus and comebacks, the Covid-19 pandemic made bands rethink their futures, some even disbanded along the way for various reasons yet with a direct connection to the pandemic. Would you say that this pandemic didn’t really matter to The Generals to return with fresh material?

That’s right, I don’t think it matters much for us. We needed to get this album out yesterday. We actually started to record the album 2018 and released the first single (Faith in Fire) July 2019, so the original plan was obviously to release the album earlier than 2021, but the circumstances are what they are.

In relation to the shutting down of culture, you guys are stage beasts, taking all the chances offered to you plus extra. Then came the standstill of the pandemic. How does it make you feel? Would you say that the new album was a necessity to keep things going with the band?

Yes, I believe we needed to get this one out. The stand still is off course no fun but it is what it is. We can’t do much about it other than adjust to it. Obviously we want to tour on this album but if we can’t, so be it. We will make things work some other way and find something to direct our focus on. Same as we always have. I mean, we celebrate 20 years as a band next year and we wouldn’t have survived all these years if we couldn’t find ways to stay active and keep the drive as a band.

Your return is surrounded by the putrid aura out of your new album, “To Hell”. Alongside the new release, you signed with the underground label Black Zombie Records. It had me wondering honestly, as the rate of the material could have been hosted by one of the big boys of the Metal industry. What led you to sign with the local label and not take on the bigger role players?

We have spoken to several labels off course but the best offer came from Black Zombie. Also they are local which we think is a plus. We are very happy with the signing and are looking forward to a prosperous collaboration.

Simply titled “To Hell”, you went straight to the point, yet that point is like a tiny star in the sky, it can get lost in translation. What did you mean by this cut and dry statement of the title? Is this the actual Hell or an analogy to something extensive?

Thanks for asking. This is not about going to the hell, it’s more like to hell with it, fuck it, everything sucks basically. We are wondering where we are going in this tech society we are living in and how this actually affects people and their relationships. This way of living is easily associated with heavy and dark thoughts and we capitalized on that. You could say that this is the red thread through the album even though it’s not a concept album. If you look closely on the cover you can see things in the details hinting about this also.

What would you say is the major theme that unifies the songs of the album? What is the leading philosophy that makes you think while listening?

The big difference from the other albums is the songs themselves I’d say. First and foremost, they are better songs. We have worked hard with the song writing. You can still here that it’s our songs though, and the unifying theme should still be that rock ´n´ roll feel always present, even though this album is more death metal than ever before.

Is there any measure of reference to the ongoing pandemic that could be considered as a version of hell, and it is probably for a lot of people out there worldwide?

No, I’m sorry. Not even one.

If there is something that I liked that came out of Sweden in its glory is the mixture of Death Metal and Hard Rock. I still think that it is kind of amusing. Nonetheless, “To Hell” took down the road to the violent nature of Swedish Death Metal, leaving the Rock element behind with a few notations here and there. What influenced you to craft a deathly kind of album, providing Death Metal a substantial piece of your songwriting other than Rocking it up more?

Well, in the beginning of the process we kind of decided to go more towards “Stand Up Straight” actually, and go all in on the death n roll thing. However somewhere in the process it didn’t feel right. We were about to lose the feel to it, so we began from scratch end what came out were these death metal songs leaning more towards At The Gates and Dismember, meaning it was based on awesome riffs and melodies rather than meat and potatoes-death metal so to speak. It felt so good when we put the first embryos together so we all decided it was worth for this album to take a little longer. It was worth the re-do.

How do you look at the band’s musical development through the work made on “To Hell”? Would you say that the wide gap between the previous and the record did its magic on you, had you seeing things that you missed earlier?

Yes, the gap made us realize what kind of album we wanted to write and put out there. No doubt.

In relation to the previous question, “To Hell”, other than being a bashing skulls party zone, it is melodic, sometimes reminding the old Gothenburg style, yet a whole lot more aggression. In your view, what generated the importance, or need, of melodies on this record?

It just happened. And these kind of songs crushed the competition within our own songs. We felt it right away, like a shot gun blast to the face.

I noticed that it was mentioned in the dossier, you guys return to the original studio that made it happen for you earlier on. Were you looking for extra motivation for that move or simply the remembrance of the early days grew on you, making you returning to the roots?

The main reason was that we wanted Tomas Skogsberg to produce the album. And if possible also record most of the instruments there. In the end we had recorded guitars and vocals with Tomas in Sunlight anyway. Good enough.

The album’s sound for that matter is stellar, it has that dirt of the early 90s, the chainsaw cutter that has been part of the Swedish legacy, but a little bit cleaner. What do you make of the end result?

We are super happy about the result. We aimed for a classic Sunlight sound but with a modern twist to it, and for that to happen we had Lawrence Mackrory from Obey Mastering (Lik, Baest, FKÜ) mix and master. Also no one had ever made this mix with the old and new happen so we thought that was really cool also.

Rapidly I knew exactly why you chose “Faith In Fire” earlier on and released it as a sole single, it can surely be rendered as the new image of Swedish Death Metal, still keeping it old school and bleeding. What is your appreciation of this fine tune?

Wow, thanks for the kind words. I think this track was a great way to present the new The Generals when it was released. It’s that sort of track that has everything imho. Blasting verses, hooky chorus, epic solo etc. Also I really enjoy playing this one live.

“To Hell” is certainly the album’s melodic tune, it is hard not to headbang yourself out with this one, its diverse rhythm section is decisive and addictive. What can you tell about how this track was written? Did it have an impact on the songwriting of the album?

The music is written by Rickard Fäldt (guitar) and Martin Svensson (drums), like almost the whole album. When they first presented the embryo of this track I knew pretty early on that this would be a strong track.

A tough question that I like to ask musicians, what do you believe is the album’s finest track? Please elaborate on your pick?

Ugh, tough one.. I’d have to say “Undying Death”, the last track on the album. The music on this one was solely written by Rickard Fäldt and it has that little extra thing imho. When he sent the song to me I knew the lyrics had to be about the one thing that is inevitable and therefore undying. Death. It came out awesome and that is the first time also I record growls in Swedish. Just one sentence but still.

Could you tell what would be the foundation of the next record? Will there be a race back to additional Rock elements or would you say that Death Metal is here to stay, powerful as ever?

I can’t see us going back to the action rock vibe any time soon no. But you never know. However, we do play some of the old gems live now and again.

Since there is no live scene for the moment, how would “To Hell” be promoted other than the label / PR service? Have you thought of other means?

Other than doing live stream events in different forms we will appear in other channels further down the road. I can’t tell you much more than that I’m afraid. You’ll have to wait and see.

Rickard, I wish to thank you for this interview, mind blowing music on “To Hell”, expectations were met. Thank you sir. Cheers

I’m very, very glad to hear that! You made my day. Thank YOU. Hednar


 



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