Old School, Swedish, and Deadly

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Keep it coming, baby! I’m talking about the gurgling, coughing, crackling, and crushing sounds of old school Swedish death metal! The good stuff; not the weak imitations. There has been a resurgence of the filth these last couple of years in terms of new bands forming, old bands reuniting (or simply coming off long hiatuses), and an increased level of recognition for the forefathers. Sweden’s Interment is one of those “old” (circa 1988) Swedish death spine snappers that saw fit to reunite years later, releasing a gnarly split with the lordly Funebrarum in 2006 and knocking one out of the park with this year’s Pulverised Records’ release Into the Crypts of Blasphemy. Here is what guitarist/vocalist Johan Jansson (ex-Centinex, Demonical) had to say about it.

Interment actually formed in 1988 during the very early stages of the Swedish death metal explosion. Talk a bit about the band’s formation and the musical inspirations and creative process that ultimately led to the recording of your first demo in 1991.

Well, we were a couple of friends that listened to metal, were on gigs and drank a lot of beers that got the idea to start to play death metal at the local youth center. I played in a thrash metal band called Hatred at that time but wanted to play death metal instead. In the beginning we mostly played covers of Bathory, Celtic Frost, Slayer etc…but after a while we did some of our own songs and two of them were recorded for the crappy portademo Birth of the Dead that we recorded by ourselves. We did some live shows with friends and bands like Merciless, Afflicted Convulsion, Dismember and Hasty Death. Then we had some lineup changes during 1990 and we decided to change the name to Interment. We booked Sunlight Studio January 1991 to record the first serious demo Where Death Will Increase with Skogsberg. It was a great era and it was just only the beginning…

Where were the members located in those days?

We all lived in the same city called Avesta, as we do today. It was only Sonny who played drums on the Beyond demo and on the first Interment demo who lived in Hedemora only 20 km away.

Were you heavily “involved” in the scene?
Well, not so much in the beginning, we just did our thing and just wanted to play death metal and have fun. But later we get involved when the Swedish death metal explosion came. I think we were a quite unknown band at that time so we were very “underground,” only known by people and friends in our area. When we recorded the first Interment demo we spread it around on gigs and traded it with other bands. Then we became more known I think.

Were you even aware that something “special” was occurring right under your noses with regard to the creation of the legendary Swedish death metal sound?
Not at that time; we just played death metal and tried to sound as Entombed, Dismember or Unleashed etc. Of course we bought a Boss HM-2 each so we could get the “right” sound [laughs].

In that same regard, how many current members of the band, which include current members of Demonical (another great band) and former members of Centinex (it’s a shame they’re gone)?
It’s only me and the other guitarist John [Forsberg] who are the original members. Kennet [Englund] joined 91-92’ before the Forward to the Unknown demo and Martin [Schulman] joined only three years ago in 2007 before the gig on the Party San festival in Germany. In Demonical it’s only me and Martin and in Centinex it was me, Martin and Kennet.

But back to the demo days specifically, you went on to release two more recordings before splitting up some time shortly (I assume) after releasing the third one in 1994. What led to the split and tell us about life for the members between the breakup and the reformation of Interment?
The reason why Interment was laid to rest 1994 was mainly lack of inspiration and interest at that time. We were also busy with other bands and have new projects on the way. Michael and I played in Uncurbed then and the inspiration for Interment was gone, so it was a natural step to put Interment on ice for a while. The same year I joined Fulmination on guitar and I also began to make songs for my new band Dellamorte with Kennet and Mattias Norrman. The reason why I started Interment again 2002 was to re-record all the three demos with the same sound and try to get a label that wanted to release it. But some of us didn’t want to do that and were more into make new songs like I also wanted to do. We were the same lineup and did a couple of songs that we never recorded. Then Michael left the band and we continued without him. But it went very slow and very few rehearsals until before we recorded the songs. We asked Mattias Norrman to join us just before the recording of the split with Funebrarum in April 2006.
How did that split release come about?

It was Daryl from Funebrarum who contacted me and suggested that we should do a split together. It was a really great idea and the inspiration was back!

The timing was obviously right, at least as far as coinciding with the renewed recognition and resurgence of old school death metal, Swedish or otherwise. Did these events even cross your mind during the reformation?
We were active before the resurgence of old school death metal, but as I said we were not so active during some years…but Swedish death metal never dies!

How much of an impact do you think that Daniel Ekeroth’s Book Swedish Death Metal had on this resurgence and has it helped bands like Interment or even Demonical for that matter?
Well, not so much I think. We were a name before his book, but of course it is the awesome book and a great encyclopedia for beginners of Swedish death metal! It maybe has been a great inspiration for old bands to reunite again.

You also released Where Death Will Increase 1991-1994, a collection of the demo material after the split release. Were you involved in that decision and were you happy with the result?

Yeah, of course! It could have been out already 2006 if I was faster to collect and gather all the material for the album, but it took four years to make it complete. It was also Daryl’s idea to release the old stuff together with Roy at Necroharmonic and I’m satisfied with the result, finally!

When did Pulverised come into the picture? Did you already have the material ready for Into the Crypts of Blasphemy ready by the time you signed with them?

We got contacted by them spring 2008 and signed a deal in June the same year. No, the material was not ready at all. We maybe had two songs in the works at that time. The rest were mostly written during the end of 2009. So we ended up with seven new songs and re-recorded two old demo songs: “Morbid Death” and “Where Death Will Increase” plus the LP bonus cover with Carnage’s “Torn Apart”.

To my ears, Into the Crypts of Blasphemy doesn’t try to be anything other than crusty, filthy, and dark Swedish death metal that way it sounded during the early 90s (well, with somewhat better recording quality).

Yeah, that was the purpose when we recorded the album. It should be raw, filthy and sound old school and I think we came pretty close.

You’ve also written some pretty damn good songs that stand apart from each other, rather than on track blurring into the next. Talk about your approach to writing for this album.

Thanks for the nice comment! Well, mostly of the material is new, but there are some old almost forgotten riffs in the songs as well. We rehearsed intensively just before we entered the studio and the lyrics were written in the last minute in the studio before we recorded the vocals.

Overall, are you happy with the sound and performances you got with the album?
Well, both yes and no. I wanted to remix and remaster the album in the last minute, but it was too late; the CDs were already pressed. I wanted to reduce the reverb a bit on the vocals and polish the snare sound a bit. But overall I’m satisfied with the sound and the songs!

Where does Interment go from here?
We will start to do a small European tour in November/December together with Finnish Urn and Diabolical from Sweden. The tour dates are confirmed and can be found on our websites. Hope you want to come and drink with us! Then we have some festivals confirmed next year and hopefully we can do some more tours and gigs. I’m really looking forward to go on tour with Interment because we have never been on a tour before and we have only played outside Sweden twice, both in Germany, so it will be really exciting to spread some rotten Death in Europe! I also want to make new stuff as soon as possible so we keep the fire burning. Maybe do a 7”inch or a mini LP next year. So I hope this time it shouldn’t take 16 years again [laughs].

Thanks for the interview and good luck!

Thanks a lot for this interview dude and good luck with Teeth of the Divine! Hope all crazy death metal fans like our new album and buy our stuff. Hopefully we will see you on the upcoming tour! Check out our websites for updates and get in touch if you want us to play and drinking Vodka! Skål för I helvete!

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  1. Commented by: Desperado

    Awesome interview Scott and TotD! I’ve gotta say that old-school death metal is my favorite genre of music, followed closely by tech-death. I love all these great bands coming back and making some awesome tunes as well as the new acts playing it old-school with passion! I have their demo compilation and their newest, and its incredible. Its weird but I agree with the guy in that the resurgence was not instigated by the book, not saying its bad, but my love of the underground, rare, and old-school stuff is shared by a great many artists and fans who’ve finaly gotten around to carrying on this amazing gnere. My thoughts obviously.

    Some seriously stellar stuff has been released lately though. Bastard Priest, Crucifyre(great album), Acid Witch, Funebrarum, Entrails, Lie in Ruins, Obliteration(my fav new album), Tormented, Tribulation, Maim, Encoffination, Grave Ritual, Winterwolf, Miasmal, Swallowed, Claws, Slugathor and a shit ton other bands haha. As much as I love the Swedish DM sound I gotta say that the Finnish stuff is damn fine too as well as many other areas across the globe. Sorry for the rambling, keep up the good interviews guys!

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