One Man Army And The Undead Quartet are back with a new album - The Dark Epic. Time to talk with them about the new album and a few other things, thanks to singer Johan Lindstrand for answering my questions!
It's been more then 2 years since Grim Tales and you have a new guitarist. What happened? Please enlighten us!
Yeah, Mikael left the band in early 2009 due to lack of motivation to continue playing death metal. It was both a decision on not being comfortable on tours as well as the genre itself, I guess. Mikael is a great guitar player and a friend and it was really sad to lose him, but it all was for the better actually. Now we have a guy called Jonas Blom who is totally into this style and he is extremely dedicated at the same time he's writing killer songs and this is what this band needs. So that issue was one of the reasons on taking so long in between albums but we also needed to take it easy and to recharge the batteries. This feels like sort of a restart for us. We have a new killer approach both musically and visually.
There is a little confusion about who played lead guitar on The Dark Epic, coz the label biography names Mikael Lagerblad and your Facebook page names Jonas Blom. So, what's the truth?
Well, that's just a misunderstanding. Jonas Blom plays guitar on the new album. Mikael left 2009.
How long did the song writing take?
It didn't take that long, but we didn't wanna hurry up things. We had so many songs to choose from so when we felt ready to start working on the new album with this new line-up we took it step by step to make sure we had the right material for the album and not just the 10 first songs that came up. I think, we had like 13-14 songs in the end, but we decided on just taking the 9 best tracks that would work best together. I think we had all songs after 6 months, but then all the rehearsing took like 9 months to place all the details.
You recorded the album at Black Lounge Studios together with Jonas Kjellgren, who also mixed & mastered the album. How important was he for the final result?
We knew what to expect when entering Black Lounge again. Jonas Kjellgren is great to work with. He makes the whole process very smooth and relaxed and that's basically why we entered again. There's no pressure in the studio. Even if there's a deadline you don't feel that, because he's so smooth and pushes you to do your best without putting any pressure on you. This time we wanted a more raw sound cause we thought that Grim Tales was too good, so we wanted more of an aggressive live feeling at the same time it should be well produced and I think we managed to get that so of course he's is important, but we knew what we wanted and that's the key.
Killustrations did the artwork, did you have the idea? Or did they came up with it?
I had the main idea with the colors and the movie based theme, but the image itself was pure Killustration. Bjoern has been our merchandise artist for quite a while now and he's done an awesome job for us so far and we've been talking on doing the full thing for a while now and he's been totally into it from the start. The cool thing is that there's a new approach here. General Grim that was on all previous covers is gone and now we have the Grim Reaper instead and this is so much more brutal and really fits the songs better compared to if we would have included the General even on this one. All hail Killustrations!!!
Please tell us, what inspired you lyrically? What's the story of Sandman Apocalypse?
Everything around the world inspires me to write. I usually mix reality with fiction. This time it's more heavy stuff. More brutal cause earlier I could include a lot of dark humor even if the main topic was pretty aggressive, but now there's more straight forward aggression. Sandman Apocalypse is about a killer who's involved in a car crash and ends up in a coma. And way deep inside his sleep he's struggling against all those souls which he has taken earlier. So it's a war going on within his mind where the devil wants to grab him down to hell where he belongs at the same time people in the real world are trying hard to wake him up. It's a question of morality as well. Is it the right thing to do everything in your power to bring back a gruesome serial killer or is the best thing to just let him go cause nobody wants him around anyway? The lyrics on The Dark Epic... is definitely the best I've done. I'm truly proud of them.
You choose Skeletons Of Rose Hall for a video clip. Why this track?
It was actually the directors favorite track, so we kinda followed his lead on this, but it's truly a perfect video track. First we wanted to film a shorter song, but then we decided to take a song that could represent the album in a better way. It's 6 minutes long and it has a lot of twists to it which makes it more in the vein of an epic song and therefor fits more like a single / video track from an album that produces this vibe.
It looks like it's based on the legend of Annie Palmer of Mantego Bay or the novel by H.G. De Lisser... How did you came across the story?
Yeah, it's based on this legend. I didn't know about it before I wrote the lyrics, but I searched for a story like this that could fit this kind of song. I've included some of the facts, but then I've also put some of my own stuff into the lyrics which makes it more personal and therefor nobody can say that the story is wrong. It can't be wrong, cause it's now my story. I think the feeling of these lyrics as well as the true legend really gives you the chills and it's truly perfect to be included on The Dark Epic...
You hired Rune Foss to produce the video, why him?
He has been our friend for some years now. He actually played with Marek in their old band Reclusion and he has also been session guitarist for us on a couple of shows. And last but not least, he has taken a lot of photos on us so we kinda knew what he was all about. He has also done small video things before which has turned out really great and when he said he had a really cool vision about this song, we didn't hesitate to hire him. There will probably be more cooperation with Rune for sure.
You have a YouTube channel, can fans expect to see new footage from rehearsals? Or did fans have to wait til you are back on tour?
We try to put up stuff there any time we have something, but now we haven't done anything since the video shoot, but there will definitely be lots of more cool videos there soon. But we also put up a lot of cool stuff on our onemanarmyofficial Facebook page. Go there and be a fan! ;)
Talking about live... Anything on the way? Any news to share?
We don't have anything planned yet, but we will hopefully do some summer shows as well as a tour in the fall cause this new album deserves some serious live action.
A bit off topic... Johan, you were the frontman of The Crown, your former band mates released Doomsday King last September. Did you check it out? What do you think about the album?
I think, it's a good album and I'm glad that they're back together. They seem to enjoy themselves, so it's all good.
What's next on your schedule?
For the moment we're just taking it easy, but things will soon start to roll again. As soon as we have something for you it will be posted both on Myspace and Facebook.
Thanks for the interview Claudia.
Let's hope for the best and that they get the chance to do a major tour. If you haven't watched the video yet, head over to their YouTube channel or Facebook page now!