The Lost Breed

feature image

Swedish death metal, the old school kind, exists in our CD collection (Carnage, Entombed, Unleashed, Dismember) and in our memories, for most of us in this for the long are still actively searching for bands that remind of the days when American death metal just didn’t cut it anymore. That sentiment still holds true, for the most part. Bands such as God Macabre, Utumno, Hetsheads and the cult line-up on the Projections of a Stained Mind all were direct descendants of Nihilist and Carnage, and to that end shared a similar sound. For Gorement, another lost gem in the sands of time, the above statement plays a part in their sound, but unlike most of the pure death metal acts, these five guys were also heavily influenced by the likes of early Paradise Lost and Benediction. Really, Gorement’s only full-length album, the masterful The Ending Quest (circa 1994), played well on this diverse foundation, and materialized as an album that still speaks volumes not only of the timeframe in which it was released, but also about how the songcraft of death metal a decade later is slowly diminishing into involved but substance-less drivel. While searching for a full copy of The Ending Quest, I ran across a band called Genuflection to Limbo and found out that Gorement guitarist Patrik Fernlund is still involved in music. While I thought Fernlund would see Gorement’s chapter as long closed, the axeman agreed to talk about a band he put to rest over eight years ago. And hopefully this chat will spur more interest in Gorement and the band’s impressive but scant catalog – if anything The Ending Quest is due for re-release like yesterday, but legal issues could shelve the project for at least another two years.

Gorement came a few years after the initial Swedish death metal push of Carnage, Entombed, Unleashed and Dismember. Since this is largely reminiscence, where did you see the band at that time, when there were so many bands playing a similar style?
We just saw ourselves as yet another death metal band, just five pals who loved really brutal music and decided to start a band.

Were the usual suspects (Carnage, Nihilist) your primary influences to start Gorement? Truthfully, I hear early Finnish death metal (Demigod, Amorphis)as the drive in Gorement’s sound, at least on the full-length.
When we started Gorement we where very influenced by bands like Bolt Thrower, Pungent Stench, Carcass, Xysma and, of course, all the godly Swedish bands that were around. I think that really shows on the two demos we released. The main goal was simply to write brutal music. But when it comes to the Into Shadows EP and the tracks we wrote for “The Ending Quest, we wanted more melodies and complex structures in the songs. And at that time we were more influenced by bands like At The Gates and Paradise Lost. To be honest with you, we weren’t listening that much to Finnish bands, except for Funebre and Xysma of course.

There’s a little bit of early Carcass in “Human Relic.” That nasty opening combined with the strong verse is something unlike I’ve heard before. Sort of like Carcass and Entombed swapping riffs, and really liking the idea behind it.
[laughs] Glad you like it. I’ll tell you the story about that song. The main riff in that song is heavily influenced by the Benediction track “Artefacted Irreligion.” I really liked the Subconscious Terror album when it came out. That combined with some Xysma riffing and a gloomy doom-outro just ended the song. Looking back, I definitely identify the early Gorement days with that song.

The reason I say this is there’s always a fine line between melody and aggression in the sound. Much like Amorphis, early on, would use a single melody line to offset the heavy rhythm section and very gruff vocals, I hear the same idea working in Gorement, such as in songs “My Ending Quest”, “The Memorial,” and “Sea of Silence.” It has that epic quality not heard in death metal now.
Well, I don’t think we had this sound in the beginning. The demos were just built on this aggressive and brutal feeling that we all were into when we started. But we progressed as every band does, and we just tried out some new ideas which lead us into this melody/epic style. I love the Paradise Lost album Gothic, and still do, and I wanted to capture that special epic feeling that album has. And we were really comfortably with this sound and thought it worked very well. I can even remember that we talked about finding a keyboard player to get that atmospheric feeling in the songs. I can see your point with Amorphis, but the thing is that I started to listen to them in like ’93 or so. But don’t get me wrong, I think they are a great band and I really like their Tales from the Thousand Lakes album.

You put your first demo, Human Relic, out in 1991, and then put out another demo and 7″‘s in 1992. What happened in the band between 1992 and when you released, “The Ending Quest? You obviously used some of the demo and 7″ material for the album.
Well, the album was recorded in Feb ’93, so we just rehearsed a lot and made new songs for the album in that time. We chose to have the demo and EP tracks on the album because we thought they were too great to not be included and we wanted more people to get the chance to hear these tracks.

When The End Quest finally came out, on Crypta Records, where was the band at mentally and musically? The album is very developed for the time, and to this day doesn’t bear the usual markings of age. I can barely listen to some of the death metal from the early ’90s because it just isn’t timeless. That doesn’t happen for Gorement.
Mentally, I say we were at or peak. I mean we had a record contract and got the chance to go down to Germany and record our debut album in the Delta Studio, the same studio that Accept recorded their first albums. It couldn’t be better. And as I’ve said earlier, musically we had just found our style. But for me the album feels just like a typical debut album, a mix of old demo songs and newly written tracks. Maybe it is timeless, but there was really no deep thoughts behind the album, a typical debut album I would say.

What happend during the period of releasing the album and when you decided to call it quits? In fact, why did Gorement split after only one album? Did Crypta Records have anything to do with the premature exit?
Oh yeah, they surely had. We got ripped off badly. I don’t want to get into details, but we lost some money because of them. And shortly after the album was released the label went bankrupt, so all this struggle just took the fun out of everything. For a while we didn’t even know if the album was going to be released. This all led to that our first drummer Mattias Berglund decided to leave the band. So we had to find a new drummer and did so in Robin Bergh. And with the entrance of Robin behind the drums we also had a big change musically. We got more and more heavy metal-oriented and that led to that we parted ways with our singer Jimmy. And I think that was probably the time when we decided to lay Gorement to rest. That was around spring ’96. Instead, we hired a female vocalist and formed Pipers Dawn, but that’s another story. But if anyone is interested, I’ve still got some Pipers Dawn demos left. Just write me.

Care to comment on the songwriting process? On your only full-length, The Ending Quest, you cover a lot of ground with respect to genres – the infusion of death and doom metal is well-conceived, especially on “Sea of Silence.”
Well, I was responsible for about 95 percent of the riffs and melodies in the songs, so usually a song started with me presenting some riffs and ideas to the other guys, and then we all arranged the song and completed it with some parts that we missed. And after that, Jimmy, me or Daniel came up with the lyrics. Just as simple as that. The influences came from all the bands we were listening to; that’s why the music is so varied. We didn’t really care if we sounded original or had our own sound. We played the music that we liked and you can say that our songs were kinda a tribute to all the bands we worshipped.

Gorement also used keyboards as an atmospheric device. You don’t hear that now, when bands with keyboardists want another lead player to compete with the guitar players. The manner in which it’s played enhances the melody in front of it. If you were to write another album after The Ending Quest, do you think this would’ve been used more? Like on “Darkness of the Dead.”
Yeah, definitely, it’s the only way to get the melodies and harmonies in front when you have a growler in the band. It’s either that or make like 40 guitar overdubs and that just sounds too messy I think. If we had done another record with Gorement we had definitely brought in a keyboard player.

Care to comment on the album as a whole after all these years? The sound is quite special.
Well, we wanted a completely different sound on the album, but got out-voted by the producer. We wanted rawer guitars and a more atmospheric sound, the sound came out a little bit to dry I think. But as a whole it was great fun doing it and it came out pretty well in the end I think.

As you’re aware, The Ending Quest is a sought-after release in the death metal world. It’s sort of regarded as a cult classic now. In fact, a friend of mine paid $70 (U.S.) for the album on eBay. How does that feel, knowing that you’re work eventually meant something to people?
Of course, it feels damn well knowing that people really appreciate and like what we did. When you get mail from people telling you like: “I managed to get a copy of your “The ending quest” album and it just blew me away!”, you just get that silly smile on your face. But at the same time it also feels kinda frustrating why this couldn’t happen 10 years ago.”

I was surprised at the amount of people trading/seeking Gorement material in a Google search online. I guess that’s a testament that the underground is still alive, and looking for quality material that slipped through the cracks. Care to comment on that, and how you see the change in metal music over the years you’ve been involved?
Well, since Gorement material seems to be in great demand for the moment I’ll just have to agree with your comment. But I think that the problem at the time we were around was that there were just too many bands and many fell into oblivion unfairly. Nowadays, you’ll just have to get a killer production at the demo stage to even have a chance to get the record label’s attention. That just reduces the amount of bands who are still around, trying to get a breakthrough. Musically, I think metal has become too much prestige, who’s the fastest, who’s technically best, etc. There are many good bands around, but I really miss that good old feeling and simplicity that started the thrash and death metal scene in the ’80s and early ’90s.

Are there any plans on a re-issue with the demo and 7″ material? I think it’s long overdue, really. I guess all that depends on if you own the material. I’m not too sure what you signed contractually with Crypta.
I’ve been in contact with two labels who want to do a re-issue of the album. The only problem is as you said, Crypta. In the contract it says that they own the songs for 10 years, and since we recorded the album ’93 and it came out ’94 they still got the rights for the songs and the recordings. The only thing is that we don’t know if they exist anymore, so there is a lot of things to be solved before anything can be done. When it comes to re-issuing the demo and 7″-es, we haven’t really received any interest from any label. So if there’s any label who’s interested, please get in contact.

In fact, who the hell is Crypta? Even in 1994, no one knew of this label, and yet I hear the album had major label distribution through Warner Bros. Is that why you signed to the label?
Crypta was a sublabel to the German label Inline Music. And yeah, we were promised very good distribution and promotion from them, things that simply didn’t happened.

The members of Gorement are now in other bands. You’re in Genuflection and Robin is in Amaran. Are you still in contact with the other members? Why did you decide to stay in the music business?
Yeah, Daniel and I played in the same band until ’00, and we’ve stayed friends after that. I also have constant contact with Robin and I talk to Nicklas every once in awhile. The other guys I’m not so sure what has happened with [them]. Why I decided to stay in the music business is simply because I love playing in a band, and I love playing brutal music. You know when you’ve made a new song and are rehearsing it, and it just sends chills down your spine, that feeling is just indescribable.


Currently, Patrik Fernlund is playing guitars in Genuflection to Limbo (unsigned) and drummer Robin Bergh is in new atmospheric metal act, Amaran (Listenable Records). For more information on both of these bands, please visit their respective websites. As of now, Gorement’s The Ending Quest remains a rarity in death metal circles, and unless a re-issue is commissioned, most people won’t get the chance to hear this gem of an album.

Comments

  1. Commented by: Mika Räsänen

    HELLO ALL MY DM PEOPLE!!!!! My name is Mika and I living here in Finland a fucking darkness and I listening Carcass, Demilich, Entombed, Carnage,Godflesh ,etc… I love you all 4ever… T: Flowers

    Death Metall is beatufullllllllll,


Leave a Reply

Privacy notice: When you submit a comment, your creditentials, message and IP address will be logged. A cookie will also be created on your browser with your chosen name and email, so that you do not need to type them again to post a new comment. Your post and details will also go through an automatic spam check via Akismet's servers and maybe held up for further approval. We purge our logs from your meta-data at frequent intervals.