New interview

Posted in Interviews, Updates on November 7, 2014 by usurpress

Lena bandbild 2
(Photo: Lena Vincent Hjärner)

The Italian zine Dagheisa have published an interview with Steffe about Ordained. Since a lot of people don’t speak Italian we decided to publish the English original here. You can read the Italian version here.

First of all congrats ’cause the new album is totally a blast!! How much time did you need to compose and record the material?
Thank you! Yes, we like it ourselves as well. I think we wrote the first song in June 2013 and finished the recording in June 2014 so a year all in all. I believe we spent around 8 days recording and 5 days mixing. Something like that.

Where did you record?
We recorded it in our own little studio called Is Charged Studio, it’s our rehearse place actually. The reason for this is that we can record for free and at times that suit us. Påhl’s brother Erik handled the recording and engineering. I am aware that most bands rather record in a “real” studio but for us, this was much easier on every level. We feel at home and secure there.

What did you ask to Lawrence Mackrory of Darkane for mixing?
We felt like since we did the actual recording for free we could spend some money on the mixing instead. Lawrence and his studion Maskinrummet was the obvious choice for us, he has recorded all our earlier records (except the split with Bent Sea) and he knows and likes our music. In fact, he played bass with us in the very beginning before Daniel joined us. So he’s a great guy and a friend of the band.

What did you wanna improve or develop after Trenches of the Netherworld?
Well, we were quite happy with Trenches and the only thing we wanted to improved was making the next bunch of songs better. We did the split with Bent Sea as a transition to test some new ideas and elements and we were satisfied with the result and because of that, Ordained sounds the way it sounds.

Why ‘Ordained’?
At first we only thought it was a cool sounding word that would be a good name for the album but then I thought more about the meaning of the word and started to develop ideas around it. When the next album is out eveything will fall into place. Wait and see!

Now your mix of crust and old school death is flavoured with sludge-doom and prog influences. How did you come up with that? Which bands did you take inspiration from?
It just felt natural to start incorporate more of these elements since we all like to play these kinds of music, and it’s a way to make the songs more dynamic and interesting. We just felt that our music had lacked these elements a bit and now we feel confident enough to start use them. We’re still experimenting with the sound of Usurpress and that will, hopefully, never stop. I think we’re influenced by slow/doomy death metal rather than “real” doom/sludge actually. The prog influences? I don’t know, all sorts of 70-ties music really but I think I must mention Camel. One of the few benefits with being a very unknown and unpopular band is that you don’t have any fans that can be disappoined, you are free to do whatever you want.

How is the songwriting process inside the band?
Påhl writes most of the riffs, he comes up with one or maybe two riffs and then we jam around them and creates new parts in the rehearse room together. Daniel has also written two songs on Ordained. I write all the lyrics. These things are not important at all in my opinion, the songs sound the way they do because of all 4 of us, that’s why we always write “All songs written and arranged by Usurpress”.

How is the collaboration with Magnus Stjenberg born?
Magnus is an old friend of mine and a master of all sorts of instruments. I thought it would be a cool idea to have him play some nyckelharpa (traditional Swedish instrument, especially in our part of Sweden) on the introriff to “Dethroned by Shadows” since it had a bit of a folk music vibe to it. When we come up with the basic ideas for “The Undeification” and “As the Monolith Comes Alive” for Ordained, it felt natural to bring back Magnus to develop the themes. I think he did a good job. It’s fun and very rewarding to work with people outside the band and that is something we hope to continue with. We also had Helene Landahl playing flute and David Hallberg doing piano on the album.

Why did you choose to cover Bo Hansson’s ‘Lóthlorien’?
Well… I think the basic idea was to see if we could pull off a pure prog piece and make it sound good and we didn’t really have the confidence to write one ourselves so we tried to do something else, a cover song. Our version of “Lóthlorien” is quite different from Hansson’s original since we have changed the arrangements quite a bit and also added another Bo Hansson-riff in the end so infact it’s a medley of the songs “Lóthlorien” and “Skuggfaxe”. And, of course, our main instrument is guitar and not organ. Since everything turned out good we now believe we are ready to write our own pieces like this, actually we already have written one.

Please review ‘Storming The Mausoleum’ and ‘Fire In The Minds Of Men’ for our readers.
Uh! I really don’t know… Both are good songs in my opinion. “Storming” was written around an idea I had about the chorus and the break in the middle, it turned out really good in the end. “Fire” was written as an experiment to see if we could do a song with only slow parts and make it sound interesting. Both songs are important parts of the album.

Who’s ‘The Eyeless Spectator’?
I don’t like to discuss my lyrics at all, but it’s based around a real event, that much I can tell you.

What’s the meaning behind the artwork?
We wanted the cover to portrait a lifeless dead landscape that although it’s devoid of life, the entire soil and sky is alive. An extremely frightening place but with beauty in itself. Ola Larsson who did the cover is a fantastic artist.

Steffe Pettersson’s vocal parts are awesome! What are his main extreme vocals references?
Hahaha! Thanks again. My favorite [death] metal vocalists are Tom G. Warrior, Nick Holmes, Tom Angelripper, John Tardy, Karl Willetts, etc.

Sweden is full of good metal bands! Any cool underground acts that you think deserve our attention?
Apart from the more famous ones like Tribulation, Morbus Chron, Bombs of Hades and so forth, I think Rust, Rite, Third Storm and some other ones are really good. Some of the old bands are still killer as well!

You released three split albums. Are you comfortable with that format? How would you describe the bands you’ve collaborated with?
They are not split albums, the splits with Pyramido and Bombs of Hades are 7” and the one with Bent Sea is a 10”. I don’t think we will do an actual split album, that feels a bit too much. But splits are cool, no doubt about that. Apart from the fact that they are all really good bands, they have very little in common soundwise. Pyramido is a sludge/doom band and Bent Sea is really fuckin’ fast and grindy, you know. Bombs of Hades have similar influences and ideas as us but they come out sounding quite different than Usurpress, which is very cool.

Third Storm – Return to the Torture Hall

Posted in Interviews on November 3, 2014 by usurpress

The first gig I ever did was at a Battle of the Bands in Uppsala with my heavy metal band Frenzy back in 1987. Another band that also played that evening was the black/thrash-band Third Storm and they made quite an impact on me since they looked like Voïvod, were by far the heaviest band I have ever seen on a stage and they were also quite drunk. Frenzy didn’t win that competition because we sucked, Third Storm didn’t win either because… well, bands like that doesn’t win anything.
Third Storm split up the following year but I have remained close friends with their demonic singer Heval Bozarslan through out the years and I was quite surprised when he announced that Third Storm was back together and that Daniel from Usurpress was their new bass player! I figured that I’d better learn more about this. Let’s party like it’s 1988.

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You have to tell me why you and Jimmy decided to resurrect Third Storm after 26 years? What were the thoughts and motives behind it? Did you ask any other old members to join as well?
Jimmy told me a year ago that he would want us to work together again, I thought about it and listened to some stuff he had done and liked it a lot. I wasn’t thinking about the name so much. Some time went by, he was busy doing other stuff, then he contacted me a month ago or so and said “ok, now we can begin” and presented me a full 10 minute song he and his son David have written. I was blown away by the heaviness of the song, so slow and dark. You know, Jimmy is a doom metal guy at heart and when it comes down to heaviness he knows what he’s taking about and David too definitely. Jimmy wanted to call this monstrous project Third Storm. I wasn’t sure about that at the beginning and thought a lot about it. Third Storm in the very beginning had a lot of doomy dark elements, and since this song was so heavy I thought, well there’s a connection there. It sounds like what we done at the very beginning but still is very much new so why not I thought to myself. And since it is very dark I also wanted to bring back Third Storm’s satanic aura to this project. Without that Third Storm cannot be, that’s very important to me.  And everything suited very well in my mind. Black/Death/Doom you could say with the emphasis on doom. No we didn’t ask other old members. There was no point, and who knows where Roland (old bassist) and Jonas (old drummer) are nowadays and I know for sure that they are so far from metal scene nowadays that there’s no point you know. And we already have David as the second guitarist and co/songwriter there was no point contacting Nisse either. We are very pleased with this line-up.

The other members of Third Storm 2014 are David (Anguish), Johan (ex-Sarcasm/Defleshed) and Daniel (Usurpress/Iron Lamb). On what grounds did you choose these guys? David is a young man, 24 years old, and also Jimmy’s son, which is beyond cool and quite Van Halen-esque, but the other guys are seasoned veterans, was that something that was important to you? Choosing people that have a connection to and understanding of the old Swedish underground?
Yes, David is Jimmy’s son, and like Jimmy, a doom meister so the choice was natural of course, and they write the songs together. I wanted Johan in the band first and foremost because he is a great drummer, he’s also drummer/songwriter in his other band called Violent Silence which is very different from what we are doing. Johan is very talented in every way and I think he can contribute something unique to the band. And Daniel is a great bassist and has a good understanding of the underground in general which I think is important in this band. And both Johan and Daniel are also good friends of mine so I think it will work just fine.

TSdemo1b
Smell of Vomit in the Torture Hall, demo 1988.
Not the easiest demo to hunt down.

The original Third Storm existed roughly between 1986-1988, what was the scene for extreme metal in Uppsala like back then? Did people understand what the hell you were doing or did they laugh at you? There were some thrash bands going on around that time in Uppsala (Damien, Tradore, etc) but you must have been the only black/death band? Maybe Convulsion?
There were some thrash bands in Uppsala that period; Damien, Midas Touch and perhaps some other, those bands were good but not extreme in my opinion. Thrash exploded those years everywhere but extreme form of thrash was not taken seriously. You have to have talent, in those years when everything evolved so fast, primitive extreme metal was not tolerated. Uppsala especially was infected with Anthrax and Testament kind of mainstream thrash. Almost everyone hated bands like Hellhammer, Sodom and Bathory. I think I was the only one in my whole school who adored those bands, and when I tried to introduce those bands to people, they thought I needed some professional help. Now all those people are into extreme music. Yes, people laughed their asses off at our shows. And you couldn’t go far with satanic imagery those years. It was done few years earlier and was completely dead. You had to have political lyrics or glam lyrics to get people’s attention. But we didn’t care, we didn’t change.

Did you have any contact with other bands around Sweden (or beyond) in these days? Were you aware of the start of the Swedish death metal scene in nearby Stockholm? If Third Storm would have managed to stay alive a little longer, do you think you would have been part of that movement and gained some recognition?
No, I wasn’t in contact at all with those guys in the beginning. I Knew of Obscurity and Mefisto and I became aware of the whole Stockholm scene when Third Storm split up in 88. I remember thinking, wow! Treblinka and all those bands are doing what we were doing, perhaps we should have stayed alive a bit longer, there is a scene now and is growing fast and we could have been a part of the whole thing. But none of us wanted to play music for a while. I was tired of everything and didn’t want to be in a band ‘til I formed Sarcasm with Fredrik Wallenberg two years later. We went separate ways for a long time. Jimmy and I met two years ago for the first time since 87 I think. I don’t know what the other guys are doing. Nisse, I have some contact with.

TS-Heval
Heval 1986, after the first gig with the band and the only existing photo of Third Storm.
Unfortunately band photos were never taken.

Live photos were taken but no one knows were they are or if they still exist.

You told me that you are aiming to record a 12” in 2015 with only new songs. Did you at any point consider re-recording any old songs like “Sacrifice to Evil”, “Nightmares from Death” and so forth? Will you play any of the oldies live?
I don’t think we’ll record old songs but I’d love to play “Nightmares from Death” live again. I remember particulary that one we did live ages ago. So fast and insane song. A very VERY chaotic song and worked great live and “Soulburst” (I think the title was) were another hyperfast song we did would work excellent live today. But those songs are a bit different from what we do today haha. Back in the day I think we had something like 15-20 songs, some of them were so awful that I don’t even remember them. But I remember we had this song called “The Pain is Back” which was the only song people actually liked, because it had a catchy chorus and had this heavy metal kind of mood to it, a song you could remember, haha.

While we’re on the subject; can you please tell us as much as possible about the new songs/sound of Third Storm. Are you still as primitive as in the old days? What are, in your opinion, the biggest differences and similarities between Third Storm now and then? What were your biggest influences back then? And now?
We have at this moment written two songs so far. I can tell you for now that both songs are very very heavy and dark, we also have a few surprises that won’t be revealed now. They are not primitive as before no but the same atmosphere is there, but darker, heavier and more evil. The biggest difference would be that there are members now who actually can play their instruments, I mean we’re not 15 anymore and it’s on a mature level now, there’s a focus and no fooling around. Similarities would be the spirit and passion for extreme and dark occult music. As I said our biggest influences were the first wave of black/death metal bands and extreme thrash bands from Germany at that time. The influences now varies a lot, the most important for us is to create  our own sound, the retro stuff many do today is not for us, we want to include many elements as long as it’s dark and heavy. And that’s why I wanted this line-up, five creative minds who understand the core of the thing we do and open other dimensions in the process.

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Old logo.

 Is it fair to say that Third Storm had a satanic image back then? Or were you just extremely inspired by Bathory? Would you say that you have kept the dark/satanic and chaotic atmosphere, lyrics and imagery around the band now?
The whole satanic imagery of Bathory and other early black metal bands inspired the band very much in the early days. The first black metal wave was all about rebellion, to create chaos, drink beer and make noise and to shock, not much different from what the punks were doing, it had the same attitude. I’ve always and still believe that Venom was the most genuine black metal band in metal history. The “second wave” as people call it had nothing to do with the first in my opinion and that’s why I was very quiet about Third Storm and didn’t reform the band in the 90’s, I didn’t want to be associated with that scene. These days are different of course. The satanic/demonic elements are there now of course, as I said it’s a very important part of the spirit of Third Storm but it’s on a different level now. More sophisticated, sinister and horrifying.

What’s your opinion about the fact that your current bass player wrote “Unfortunately Third Storm’s songs sucked and they could barely play” in his book on Swedish death metal? Is there any truth in this?
His punishment for that remark was to join the band, haha. He’s heard some old songs yeah and of course what he heard sucked and we could barely play. But that’s not the case today and that’s why he joined, he likes the new songs and the atmosphere of the new storm..

Well, I guess that’s it. Do you agree?
Yes, thanks for the interview! Cheers!

Ordained out now!

Posted in Records/merch on October 10, 2014 by usurpress

Yes, the digipack-CD is out now (vinyl coming later), order it from Doomentia or us, it’s 12 Euro (or, from us, 100 SEK). All our shirts are sold out now, but we will very soon print new ones. Watch this space! DOOM145CD1_pic_600x600 This is what you want, this is what you get!

Two new songs from Ordained

Posted in Music, Records/merch, Video on September 3, 2014 by usurpress

Yes, for those of you who have missed it, we have had two songs from Ordained up for grabs. On August 20:th No Clean Singing premiered “Storming the Mausoleum”. Listen to it here.
And just now, September 2:nd, we put out “Fan the Flames of Madness” on youtube, check it out!

Feel free to share these songs with your loved ones.

Play Fast or Don’t 2014

Posted in Gigs, Tour on August 13, 2014 by usurpress

Some pix of us stolen from http://www.czechcore.cz/

Play Danne
Daniel.

Play Calle
Calle.

Play Påhl
Påhl.

Play Steffe
Steffe.

 

Random news

Posted in Gigs, Records/merch, Tour, Updates on July 22, 2014 by usurpress

We’re back from Czech now, thanks to everybody involved in Play Fast or Don’t Festival, warm-up party and after party included! We had a great time and played with a lot of awesome bands.
Right now we’re in the process of organizing a couple of gigs on Swedish soil, more about that later. Everything is looking good so far and the line-up for these gigs looks great.

Ordained and Storming the Mausoleum 7″ are both mastered and sent to Doomentia. We’re (well, Påhl actually) doing the final touches on the Ordained-layout rigth now, should be ready for shipping next week. Meanwhile, check out one of many cool photos that Lena Vincent Hjärner took of us some weeks ago.

Lena bandbild
Left to right: Daniel, Steffe, Calle, Påhl.

Cover and songs for Ordained

Posted in Music, Records/merch on May 23, 2014 by usurpress

So, the recording of Ordained is finished. Erik Sundström will spend some time editing some of the tracks before handing them over to Lawrence Mackrory who will mix and master the entire album starting on June the 9:th. Ordained features guest appearances by Magnus Stjernberg (who also have co-written two of the songs) on nyckelharpa and cittern, Helene Landahl on flute and David Hallberg on piano. Apart from our own brand new songs, we have also recorded an adaptation of a piece by Swedish composer Bo Hansson (1943-2010).
This is by far the most ambitious recording we have made; we have developed our style quite a bit and incorporated elements from other types of music, not just death and crust. However, it’s also the fastest and heaviest recording we have ever made. The full track listing is:

The Heart of the Last Kingdom
Storming the Mausoleum
The Undeification
Fire in the Minds of Men
Insignia of Illumination
Ritual Warfare
The Eyeless Spectator
Fan the Flames of Madness
Lóthlorien – Bo Hansson
Deny Salvation (Wolf-Like Dogs)
Embracing the Vultures
As the Monolith Comes Alive

Before the album is out we will release a 7” (ltd ed, 300x) featuring one of the songs from the album and two exclusive tracks, these are:

The Insatiable Sky
Unleash the Serfs

We can also reveal Ola Larsson’s brilliant and haunting album cover for the first time. Check it out, great isn’t it?
cover

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