|Interview:||GRIEF OF EMERALD|
Haunting and intricate, Grief Of Emerald’s debut album „Nightspawn“ definitely showed a band with potential thanks to their heavily loaded guitars, gunmachine-like double bass, haunting keys and tortured vocals.
This successful ear slaughtering piece came out in October 1998. Their followed album „Malformed Seed” brought the Swedish horde many new fans.
With massive audio torture like „Threshold To Fire” or the unrelenting majestic „Wingless”, the wicked „Life Has Lost”, Grief Of Emerald have found their niche in the overcrowded Black/Death Metal scene and are establishing their own style in a very clever manner.
The overwhelming and amazing new album „Christian Termination” - their best so far - also blows the first offering with its added intensity, it’s seven string down tuned guitars and those particular stomping slimy parts that crush the whole place. Questions were answered by keyboarder Robert Bengtsson.
How came the musicians of Grief Of Emerald together?
„I don´t know really when they started 1990-1992 or something I think. They phoned me up a day when they heard that I started to play keyboards. I´ve played with Johnny in a project band called Oderu, so we know each other from that time. Anyway, late 1994 they asked me to join and early 1995 we recorded our first demo (that later became the MCD `The Beginning`) we recorded a full length CD with that line-up... After that Dennis (our drummer) left the band and the debut CD fucked up, too. We waited a very long time to get the shit released, but it never happened. We recruited a new drummer – Fredrik, 17 years old... Quick in his hands and feet. We recorded 2 new songs and sent them out to a bunch of labels. We received good response from several ones but Listenable Records was the most pushiest label of them all! We sent the demos out on Thursday and on Tuesday next week Listenable called me and said `I want this... I will have this` not long after that we recorded `Nightspawn` with some new and some old material... The response was great!! Got high rates everywhere. After a year or so it became more and more hostility between Fredrik and Johnny... They couldn´t be in the same room, Fredrik got tired of rehearsing 3 times a week and not play live. Me and Johnny didn´t wanna play live until we could play the songs in our sleep. I met our next drummer (Jonas) on a party and we decided to try him out, when he was in the rehearsal room Fredrik came down and Johnny just said to him `He's in – You´re out... get lost`. But there are no problems nowadays, Jonas joined about 3 months or so before recording `Malformed Seed` I think he did pretty well. Fredrik helps us out very much with the lyrics and shit like that... Jonas is the best drummer we´ll ever have... He plays all instruments, even better than the rest of us. It feels like the line-up is now complete. Prepare for battle!”
Is the camp of the band still in Uddevalla?
„Yes it is , we have a great rehearsal room here. About 10 meters from the studio. We have the rest of our families and friends around here so I don´t see the point of moving anywhere. OK, Uddevalla may not be a fun place to live in, but who cares? I want to move up in the woods with only one way in, then I can sit there all day long with my shotgun and just drink booz all day, haha! People will be ... intruders … Fire!, haha”
Swedish Metal bands have more and more success in the global scene with their high quality. Which Metal bands from there are in your ears the very best at the moment?
„Hell, I hate these questions ... I'm not sure actually. I almost don´t have time to listen to any music at all nowadays, to god damn busy with recordings, working rehearsing etc. But I think Theory In Practice is very good, Marduk always kicks ass ... Otherwise I don´t know actually. I heard so many good words about a band called Arise, but I just heard it and thought... hmmm, what´s next?. I like Suicidal Winds too! Good friends of mine, funny guys, hehe”
Please give a list of releases of Grief Of Emerald to date! (I own the very rare MCD „The Beginning” and the fulltimer „Nightspawn”.)
„1.) Demo `The Beginning`, 2.) MCD of the demo `The Beginning` limited 500 copies!!! (you are one of those lucky owners, haha), 3.) Debut full length CD `Nightspawn` on Listenable Records, 4.) 2'nd CD `Malformed Seed` on Listenable Records and 5.), our new release `Christian Termination` on Listenable Records. I'm sorry I don´t really know in which years they were released.”
Which were your early idols out of the Black and Death Metal scene and which ones have influenced the band from the beginning on and during the years?
„My first Death Metal LP was Death `Leprosy` – hell I was hooked directly... After that it was Morbid Angel (who still are our favourite band no. 1). Emperor is another band I love very much and not to forget Mayhem. We had a party the day `De Mysteriis Dom Satanas` was released... That CD was on all night long!!! Just repeat on the CD player and party till we dropped, hehe. Then suddenly Samael came with the very strong song `Baphomet Throne` also a great CD! I also love their next CD `Passage`, very strong songs. I wanted to name my child (if I would get a boy) to Samael. I got a girl, haha! Lucky kid. The latest CD that really impressed me was Immolation´s `Close To A World Below` – hell that CD rules, every fucking track! Otherwise I like old good Metal like: Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, King Diamond etc.”
Which is the current Line-up?
„Johnny – lead guitar and vocals, Jimmy – guitar, Anders – bass, Robert (me) – keyboards and Jonas – drums.”
How you found to the record deal with French Listenable Records?
„As mentioned above, I have nothing bad to say about Listenable, they keep what they say, if they say – you´ll have the money on Friday, well then you have it on Friday. No bullshit. If a CD goes bad they tell us and vice versa. I think we have an honest and a good professional relationship with them. The deal with Listenable was on 3 full CDs so this is the last one on that contract. If it will be Listenable again? Time will tell ... But so far everything have worked out very good. I have a lot of hopes on this CD...”
The previous album „Malformed Seed” - a successful release?
„It didn`t go well at all, people were feed up with all melodic shit. I think we listened too much to others what they wanted and forgot at little bit what we wanted... This time we just sat down in the rehearsal room and said `Fuck them all`!!! If they don´t like what we do... Fuck them!!! We do what we like and that´s it... fuck the rest! It turned out to be the most violent CD we`ve ever recorded! That was what we wanted to do I guess... I love to play brutal, if I want to hear soft music I don´t choose Death/Black Metal.”
How is to understand the band name?
„The band name sucks! I still don´t like it... When I joined in 1995 they had the name `Emerald` and I suggested a name change but they wanted to keep Emerald so it turned out to be Grief Of Emerald. We planned to change after the Nightspawn album to the name Nightspawn but then it was too late. All promo and shit would have been down the drain. But nowadays, it's just a name.”
And for what stands the title of the album?
„Well the title says it all, a straight message to all people what we feel. Take it as you like, spiritual or in real life it doesn´t matter... Can it be clearer? Christian termination! I think we all wanted to do an album that wasn´t deep or poetic, just plain destruction.”
Songtitles like „Raped By The Servant Of God” seem to be extremely anti-religious...
„I wrote that lyric after being feed up with all the times I read in the newspapers about kids being molested in church. It happens all the time and the church covers it up (especially the catholic church). Last I heard about was on the news about a priest that have been committing child abuse for over 30 years and the higher priests didn´t wanna turn over the list of all suspected rapes to the police! That sick bastard tried to help a child abuser. That says it all. They all are guilty! It is very common that pedophiles becomes priests... Like to make up for their sins they are `closer` to god and a `true` servant.”
Please be so kind and bring the meaning of the songs closer!
„OK, a hard job, but here we go: 1. `Alas, Spiriti Sancti`: means something like `I´m sorry holy ghost – you loose`, some anti Christian lyric written by Fredrik (Nightspawn Drummer), mostly about Christians waiting for nothing, believing in nothing... Idiots! 2. `The Almighty Is Rising` – the almighty is a symbol of the total chaos and sickness that will spread all over the world and slowly collapse; 3. Raped By The Servant Of God – about priests that commits child abuse and foolish parents that trust a `man of god` with their children; 4. `Scum Of The Earth` – the whole title is: Christians, truly the scum of the earth... just a small lyric I wrote when I was thinking of Christians, haha; 5. `The Cause` – about the failure of `God` and Jesus Christ and the weakness that they praise (written by Fredrik); 6. `Christian Termination` – about terminating the Christians; 7. `Deformed Imaginations` – about how Christians obey and believe in lies! They all have a deformed imagination and cant think for themselves. People that cant be objective and just accept what they read and what others are saying; 8. `Consumed By Fire` – just plain blasphemy of `nice` and holy things. Pure hate! (written also by Fredrik); 9. `Those Who Bear The Mark` – about being chosen to aim all hell´s force towards the saviour of men. (Fredrik); 10. `Humanity´s Fall` – about there is no god or master, no one can save you from the bitter end. (Fredrik). As you can see Fredrik have written most of the lyrics , why? Because no one can dress my/our thoughts in words like him.”
Which were and still are the inspirations for the music of Grief Of Emerald?
„Morbid Angel is one great inspiration that´s for sure. Critics that rated our albums bad – always a carrot (next time they will shut their holes). I guess you get inspiration from everything that you hear, feel and see, even if you like it or not.”
Your opinion to occultism?
„I don´t put my trust in Hocus Pocus... That´s all I want to say.”
What is your definite artistic goal with Grief Of Emerald?
„To record an album that will be remembered in the future. Like the first chord in `Freezing Moon` (Mayhem), or `Breaking The Law` (Judas Priest), or the `Smoke On The Water` (Deep Purple) guitar riff – or an album that once you mention it everybody will remember it. That would have been awesome. If I could live on the shit wouldn´t been too bad either I guess.”
Upcoming live gigs - something planned?
„I want to! I want to play all over the fucking world. But so far nothing is planned beside our release party in April (here in Uddevalla) we had to cancel a small tour because of Jonas fucking shoulder fuck up (some kind of infection) hopefully there will be some tour and some festivals this summer, but nothings planned yet.”
How is to imagine a concert of Grief Of Emerald - and what are the most important things on stage for you guys?
„It depends how is Johnny´s feeling and the response from the audience. If everything goes well with that there will be fast songs! The songs always goes faster live. We always rehearse some live sets when we have gigs. 30, 45 and 60 minutes. We try to mix from all CDs but it always turns out to be the fastest songs that prevail, hehe. Especially if the warm up band is pretty fast... Then we feel like we have to crush them in speed. I don´t know why this always happen but I guess we all in the band feel like we are fighting a war when we enter the stage. After the shows I know it's full force backstage with shit loads of beer and other stuff, it usually take 1-2 weeks to get back well after a tour... But it's worth it!”
Plans for the nearer future?
„I don´t have any plans for the future, I always get disappointed. I live my life day by day... Have no expectations on tomorrow. But ok, for the band then. Hopefully we may tour and play the shit out of this release, I want to play live as much as possible. At the moment Jonas (the drummer) shoulder is fucked up! He can´t play drums at all for the moment if he do his shoulder can be ruined forever! And that´s not a risk we want to take. As soon as that fucker heals we want to go on tour, Listenable Records is all over us and wants to know when Jonas can play again. I think they want us on tour as soon as possible!”
How long you want to play this style of music?
„I have no idea actually... This isn´t something we decide in the band like: Now we are going to play Death Metal or Black Metal. It just comes natural. I guess I will leave the band when I don´t feel like playing anymore or if Jonas have to quit because of his shoulder... I don´t wanna be a part of training a new drummer once again...”
© Markus Eck, 23.03.2002
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