The Swedish arsonists from MORDBRAND create with their current Ep “Necropsychotic” a highly dangerous firestorm, which leave more than just harmless burn marks on the old school death metal carpet. Reason enough for me to talk with Björn (bass/guit) about a, not even ordinary band history.
Hi there you firebugs, how are you. Is there still something alive in the environment of Karlstad or have you torched it all?
I’m doing fine. Unfortunately there are quite a few buildings intact - despite our presence.
Are you serious arsonists? How much fire and destruction can 3 guys produce?
No, it’s actually just a moniker for our death metal unit. I guess the three of us would be useless arsonists. We have too many obligations as it is.
You started in 2004 (under the moniker HORNED), but you needed a long time until you came up with MORDBRAND and your first release. Obviously you had no reason to rush, but actually this is a Mediterranean mindset. It seems you don´t like it to fall into work mania, right?
HORNED was a completely different band, but both me and Johan (drums) were members of it, and we also played death metal - so, I can understand your confusion. We do not rush things - but I think it’s quite an accomplishment to record a 30 minute EP plus a split release (containing three original songs that will be released shortly) in less than a year. We have only existed as an active three piece band in little over a year. The songs we did back in 2004 for the EVOKE split was a one-off thing (or so we though) and we didn’t do ANYTHING what so ever with MORDBRAND ‘til the fall of 2010. We actually came up with our moniker because we needed one for the EVOKE split 12”.
It seemed to gain momentum when Per (ex-GOD MACABRE) entered the band. Was he the driving force that time, the fresh air who stoked the flames?
I guess you could say that. We wanted to continue the band after the EVOKE split was released, and asked Per if he’d be interested in growling for us. First he was very unsure of the whole thing, but after he heard our stuff he seemed quite impressed (or at least fond of our particular sound). We had no idea that his legacy with GOD MACABRE would give us such a boost though. His role in the band is very important since he contributes with lyrical themes and depths to our musical landscapes. And oh - he’s on my top 5 growler’s list.
How far away is GOD MACABRE from MORDBRAND musically or otherwise?
GOD MACABRE was an influence for us when we started the band. But I don’t think that their sound rubbed off that much on what we’re doing today. The punky stuff sure did - but that influence, for me, comes from Anti-Cimex, Discharge, Doom, Driller Killer and that sort of stuff. I guess you could say that GM and MB share/shared the same influences.
MORDBRAND absolutely doesn’t wear the sound that a Death Metal damaged fan anticipated from a Swedish band. Hell, in what sort of pigeo hole shall we look for you? Don’t get me wrong, but pigeonholes are essential!
I’m not exactly sure what you mean by this. Production-wise we certainly don’t share the sound with our fellow death metal peers, but that’s because we produce and record everything ourselves. We can’t really predict the final product since we’re in a phase of trial and error. There are a lot of things I’d like to change with the production on “Necropsychotic”, but I wouldn’t change a note on the actual songs. I think they came out perfectly and they’re a good indication of what’s to come. Musically we’re probably a bit more melodic than many of our peers, without losing intensity and brutality. Quite the contrary. We’re all into various forms of extreme metal and we try no to paint ourselves into a particular corner. Personally, I’m a bit surprised that the so few reviewers have pointed out this fact. You wouldn’t hear a song like “Deliverance” or “The Fall of Flesh” on a record from 1991. People like to put the OSDM-tag on us, and we don’t mind that - but I think there’s more to our music than that.
That old school shit seems to be interesting for each currently, but why does it interest you?
Well, OSDM doesn’t interest me more than any other genre. There are an equal amount of shit bands/great bands in this genre as any other. It just so happens that we enjoy creating this music and we’re not too worried about stepping out of formulas and treading the barriers of something completely different. We’re certainly not progressive in any way, shape or form - we just want to make deadly tunes without the unnecessary sophistication and technical wankery. And to me, that is old school in a nutshell. And another link to the olden ways is our DIY-mentality. We are personally responsible for all details on our releases.
Are you afraid of the fire brigade? I mean anytime anything will be extinguished. How will you struggle against the water? (I mean what´s your driving force?)
If you’re using an analogy - I’d say the fire brigade are the people who will stop supporting our music when the genre is in the shitters (again) and another retro style Is gaining interest. Well, then we’ll keep on doing what we do now. We’ll never earn a single dime from this, so we have no reason to adjust our sound to the contemporary fashions. Our driving force is the love for great brutal music with that certain un-named feeling. If no label wants to support us - we’ll unleash the music on the internet for free (which is bound to happen whether it‘s released on record or not anyway). No big deal.
You songwriting is from the frontal sort, right in the face. Is this kind of straightforward Death Metal that makes you special?
I don’t know what makes us special, but when we recorded the tracks for the upcoming split we definitely heard that it sounded like MORDBRAND. I think it’s the audible crust influences combined with a certain variation of notes that we like to use - combined with Per’s particular way of phrasing his vocal patterns - that makes us stand out a bit in the flooded underground.
With EVOKE you had an accomplice last year on your incendiary attacks! Why was it the guys from the British Empire? Tell me about the split!
Well, I’m friends with EVOKE’s vocalist John Redfern, and I had sent him the tracks right after we recorded them. It was a LONG time ago, so I had almost forgotten about them. He asked me if we’d be interested in releasing them as a vinyl split. It was a no-brainer for us, so it happened. I was surprised to see that the release was quality through and through in terms of printing and layout and it gave us a new spark. Since our main priority (the thrash metal band) THE LAW was in a temporary hiatus - we both felt that we still had an urge to create death metal, and now we actually had a humble opening of a discography. Without the EVOKE split there’d be no MORDBRAND today, so in that aspect the release is very important to us. Musically it’s a bit rough around the corners and it’s more of a blue print than anything else.
Now you have a new EP released by Deathgasm Records. But while you call it an EP, others would sell it as full length. It seems you couldn´t find your arse with both hands. Don´t you wanna earn money?
We rather release a lengthy EP than a short full length album. The first 4 songs are the actual EP songs and the last two should be considered bonus tracks of sorts. They were recorded at a separate occasion and have a more primitive production. “Deathbound” was a test recording and the first thing that Per recorded with us, but it came out really well so we put that on the disc as well. Money? There’s no money. Keep your day job ‘cause the band ain't gonna make it!
On that EP you vastly cudgels on my eardrums, and I love it! But with “Deliverance” at the end you create a morbid abstraction of the previous songs. Tell me about!
“Deliverance” is a weird tune indeed. We wanted to try a different approach on that one, take some chances and broaden our perspectives a bit. We love doom metal and the chorus (if you can call it that) is sort of a Candlemass-esque bit. Hell, even the verses are typical Candlemass. And for some reason Per started experimenting with his voice in the verses and it sounded killer in a weird way. I guess we put it as the last track on the EP not to confuse people too much (hence the bonus track perspective). We’ll probably try more weird shit in the future, without losing the purpose of the band.
Will the unmistakable Crust impact be getting stronger in future, maybe? Is that your musical destination?
We’re a death metal band - but variety is king. I think the crust influences are very important for us, ‘cause it allows us to keep a certain pace and groove to our mayhem. One of our new tracks, “The Eternal Feast of Annihilation”, is the crustiest thing we’ve recorded thus far. If we get anymore crustier we’d have to quit or day jobs and grow mohawks.
You have once told that you liked bad production; a production doesn’t have to be polished in every detail. Is that applicable for you too? Why is perfection not necessary in Death Metal?
I don’t think I’ve ever said that I like “bad” production, but I enjoy flawed production ‘cause it leaves a certain human un-machine-like feel to the music. It provides a certain dynamic. And to be honest - all productions are flawed in some way or another. These flaws may very well be turn-offs for some people, and for me too. But it has a certain charm that cannot be emulated. If we are done with the mixes and I discover that some vocal parts are too high or low in the mix for instance, it’s not a big deal. Most of my favorite records have a bunch of weird details that was unintentional. It’s just a personal thing for me, and a lot of people probably won’t agree - but a lot of people like VOLBEAT (…).
MORDBRAND is not a live band! Are you afraid of the lynch mob with their pitchforks, torches and stuff?
No. I’d love to do live shows, but not to promote our stuff in a work-like manner - but because it’s a cool momentum. We’ve never said that we won’t do live shows, it’s just that we live 4 hours apart and we’d have to use session live members. It’s a huge task and it has to be worth the effort.
Where and what you will burn down next? Or maybe it’s time to chill again?
As I said previously, we have recorded three new songs for a split 10” with the mighty BOMBS OF HADES that will be released in a collaboration with CARNAL RECORDS (CRAFT/OMNIZIDE/ARCKANUM/SVARTSYN) and the brand new label BIFROST RECORDS. We have no official release date yet, but everything is basically all done and paid for.
A band like DISMEMBER quit the duty, because all stories are told. And a lot of youngsters refuse to believe it and try to tell them again. What do you think about the development currently?
All bands and people have a reason for quitting and starting up - whatever it might be. It’s not for me to tell people that they should or shouldn’t. If they don’t want to do music together anymore, I think it’s a good call to call it quits. There’s nothing more uninteresting than an uninspired band. Good on them!
Generally - I don’t see a particular development. Some bands quit and some bands form. It’s the circle of death.
One last question about a fact I have never understood. Why so many Swedish guys play in several bands? I mean it must be disgusting to visit a show and only meet other musicians who ogle each other skeptical!
Many Swedes are playing in bands. My experience is that Swedish musicians are very supportive of one another. I’ve never seen it as a BAD thing, more like a motivation to grow musically and to perfect one’s craft.
Ok, last spot is yours!
Thanks A LOT for the interview! Great questions indeed! Check out ”Necropsychotic” on DEATHGASM RECORDS! We’ll also have a vinyl version out soon on CHAOS RECORDS, so if you’re a vinyl nerd - this might float your boat. Keep supporting metal!