24 August 2016


Garden of bones is the third full length by Swedish Death Metallers SORCERY. This dark and great album was released a few months ago, so here is an interview with vocalist Ola Malmström regarding the new album and the dark(est) past.  Descend to the ashes…  

“Garden of Bones” was released a few months ago, it is your third full length, but this time it didn´t pass 22 years between your previous album, so how does the band feel with this new album? How was the writing and recording process this time?
We are very pleased with the result of the new album. It is nice to show people what this new line-up can come up with. Some of the songs were written a couple of years ago, right after the recording of Arrival at six while some of the others are made with this new line-up. It is great to see that the input of the new members fits so good with the idea and sound of the band. Recordings also went very smoothly. We recorded it all in one week and it was pure joy to see it come together.
In your own words how would you describe the new songs, the style and sound of “Garden of Bones?
I think soundwise it sounds quite clean and raw. Maybe a bit more like it sounded in the early ninetieths, not overproduced in a way. We still want everybody who listen to it realize that it is a Sorcery album and I think the songs reflect that. We have found our way of writing songs that we like and we stick to it. New people always bring new influences and that set its mark on the songs but in the end it still sounds us.
What are the musical influences? Would you say that your influences didn´t change much through the time?
If I speak for myself the influence has always been the metal bands from the eighties. More thrash than death actually and that haven’t changed much through the years.
Two songs that I really dig are “Hellstorm” and “Cleansed by Fire”, do you have any personal favorite song on the album?
Hellstorm is of course a favorite for me too and we have included it in our live set since it was written. It is also a song that is written by Johan Vikholm and is a perfect example how the new members input in the band fits so well with the idea of Sorcery. I think my personal favorites are The New Armageddon and Holy Ground.
Besides the new compositions, you recorded two old songs from your demo days, tell us about those tracks? Did you rework them with new arrangements ore are the same as the original versions?
The two old songs are Insanity Arise and Mass Murder. Both were included on the 1992 Maculated Life demo which was never released. We thought that the songs were so good that it was a shame that they never got a proper release so we decided to make a re-recording of them and include them on the album. The version from 1992 is pretty much the same as on the album.
You’re once again working with Xtreem Music, if I´m not wrong the collaboration started since you sent them the “Warbringer” demo. How is the relationship with the label and what makes them the right fit for Sorcery?
Yes, we sent them the Warbringer and they got interested in working with us. I must say that there is absolutely nothing to complain about this collaboration. Dave Rotten is a great guy who understands what all is about. Promotion and distribution is good, everything that comes up along the way is sorted out very smoothly and the package they have put our music into is always top notch.
The album Cover is outstanding, made by Juanjo Castellano.  If I´m not wrong you had the intention to work again with Daniel Devilish, who did the awesome covers of Arrival at Six and “Legacy of Blood”, how did the chance to work with Juanjo came up?
Yeah, we spoke with Daniel once again to do the cover. We were very pleased with the previous covers he had done to us but this time he couldn’t make it. He was occupied with some other works and couln’t promise to finish out cover in time. In the end he turned it down and we spoke with Xtreem and they suggested Juanjo. We told him the idea we had for the cover and he put it down on paper in the most stunning way. I absolute love the cover. He is a very talented artist and I won’t hesitate to use him again in the future.
Is there any concept running behind “Garden of Bones”?
The song, Garden of bones, is about this guy who kills people because he hears voices in his head. He later buries them in his back garden. It is his garden that is on the cover. A classic horror story basically.
What about the lyrics this time? Where do you draw your inspiration nowadays, are you interested in the same sources of inspiration like in the early days?
There is of course the regular, blood, guts and killing topics in many of the lyrics. Also there is a couple of songs that deals with the fact that all religions is the base of all wars and hate around the world and it has been since the dawn of time.
What differences exist between “Gardens of Bones” compared to “Arrival at Six” in terms of songwriting and production?
Not much in the songwriting. Many of the songs were written just after we recorded Arrival t Six. We do most of the songs together, everyone has an opinion but in general it goes quite smooth. Productionwise we used another producer this time and we didn’t record it ourselves as we did with most of the parts with Arrival.
Talking about Arrival… what was your impression of how the album was received by the media and most important, by the fans?
I think it was very well received. There was a few who couldn’t understand why we didn’t sounded exactly as we did back in the days. Reviews were really good and I was actually quite surprised that people still remembered us.
The Demo “Master Of The Chains” in 2009 marked the return of the band, with a new line up, Can you tell us a bit more about the reformation? Was it difficult to find suitable musicians?
Not really. Both the drummer and the guitarist were playing with me in Outremer at the time and I had just one condition, to bring back Paul into the band. Paul said yes and we were on our feet’s again. We had spoken about bringing it back on several occasions through the years but it always had failed on some matter but this time all the pieces fitted perfectly. We got our self a gig and that forced us to rehearse quite intense right away. We recorded the master of the chains EP just to have something to present at the gig, to show that we were back and it wasn’t just a one night happening.
“Legacy of Blood” and “Unholy Creations” are certainly two very cool compilations, specially “Unholy Creations” with lot of old and rare material. What do you think about these releases?
Yeah they became great. Unholy Creations includes almost everything that we had recorded prior to the EP. It comes with a 24 page booklet describing the early years of the band. Legacy of Blood is a re-release of Bloodchilling Tales, remastered and it also include the EP so both of them is a complete document of the band before we disbanded in 1997.
You were all still pretty young when the band started out, were you upset when the band dissolved after the maturity the band achieved after releasing the demos and the great debut album? How did you feel back at that moment?
Well it just faded away actually. We didn’t sit down and said this is the end. We just started to see each other more and more seldom. Of course it became a big void not to have the band anymore but these last few years had been filled with problems of all kinds so I think we all were pretty fed up with it at the time.
“Unholy Crusade” was in my opinion one of the best demos from that time, “Rivers of the Dead” EP too and of course “Bloodchilling Tales” were strong releases that didn´t receive the attention they deserved-How do you look back on those releases and the impact they had on the scene in the early 90s?
It was of course exciting times, we were young and we got to release our music. Unfortunately we were absolutely naïve when it came to how the music business worked and we had not a clue how to promote ourselves. Bloodchilling was lost in the stream of albums that came out and it wasn’t until it was re-released on CD some years later something started to happen and by then we already had disbanded the band.

Were you satisfied with the work of Underground Records did regarding the promotion and distribution of “Bloodchiling Tales”?
No, absolutely not. The album got very little promotion and the distribution was poor.

What was the reason to record the “Maculated” demo in 1992, a year after the release of the debut album? Why did Paul play drums on that demo? 
The only reason was that we at the time were working with a production company who would find us another record deal and they wanted to show something new. Paul started in this band as a guitarist and changed to drums before we recorded the third demo so he plays drums on bloodchilling tales as well. I think it was around 1993 he changed back to guitar again only to start playing drums again in 1996. When we restarted the band in 2009 he played bass for some years until he started to play guitar again. He hasn’t tried out singing but otherwise he had every position within the band through the years.
On the back cover of Rivers Of The Dead EP you say hello to bands like Entombed, Pestilence, Grotesque… how was the relationship with other bands of the scene back then? How did you live the scene from the inside? Were you paying attention on other debut albums of bands like Merciless, Dismember, Unleashed, Grave…
It was in general a friendly atmosphere amongst the bands back then. All traded their music with each other and it was always nice when a band had made a new demo or album.
As you are a mature and experienced band, I must ask, what would you say is the main difference between nowadays Black and Death Metal scene compared to the one in the late 80s and early 90s? What would you name as most positive/negative things? Is there any new band that caught your attention?
The main difference is that bands back then didn’t had any formula for how death metal should sound. It was invented and explored as we went along. Bands nowadays are more into how it should sound. They have listen to it since they were kinds and are of course influenced by it. I guess the most negative thing about it might be when new bands come along and tries to copy whet the bands back then did instead of trying to find a sound of them self. I can’t point out a special band that has caught my attention more than others.
Do you have any special remembrance for any live gig from the early days?
We did a couple of good ones back then. Played with bands like Entombed, Therion, Dismember and so on. We actually only played a few gigs prior to our reunion in 2009. We only played live seventeen times the first ten years and since 2009 until present day I guess it must have been around 50 more gigs.
You did a concert in 2014 together with the Gävleborg symphony orchestra, what can you tell us about that concert, how was the experience?
That was a great night. We played six of our songs together with them and it was really a special feeling. Once in a lifetime experience I must say. There really are some similarities between classic music and Death Metal. Complexity of the riffs, lots of time changes.

What´s the strangest place and the most shocking one that you´ve been?
A strange house in Portland on our US tour 2013. We were supposed to live there but we refused and went to a motel instead.
What are your future plans?
We are about to start working on the songs for the follow-up to Garden of Bones and then we will play some more. We have a date in September at a festival in Sweden and then it is possible we will head down to into Europe for some gig later this year.
Thank you so much for the interview, anything else you'd like to mention?
Thank you for having me and hope that I will see you all on the road somewhere.


No comments:

Post a Comment