The Swedish death metal warriors Unleashed have been forging with the hammer and the anvil since 1989 and released a number of albums. The most recent album titled DAWN OF THE NINE being the 12th in a row is another death metal masterpiece showing no slowing down or wimping out. The four piece warrior squad have maintained and been the loyal to the deadly sounds. Unleashed’s s long time drummer Anders Schultz was approached with a few questions dealing with DAWN OF THE NINE.
Interview and pics by Arto Lehtinen
Morgen how’s it going there in Stockholm and what’s up otherwise ?
Morning! All’s good here. Waiting for the winter to end. Or for the weekend to come…whichever comes first haha..
DAWN OF THE NINE – UNLEASHED
The 12th Unleashed album titled DAWN OF THE NINE is going to be out pretty soon, unless it is official out now. Well what kind of feelings do you have at the moment when everything is done, the album is coming out, in general are you personally pleased with way how the album turned out in terms of production and mixing ?
Yeah it’ll be out around April 20th or so. Of course it feels great being done after spending so much time and energy as you do on such a project. We are all very pleased with how it all turned out. As for production and mix I’d say we’ve definitely upped it by miles since the last album.
The album was processed under the helm of the guitarist Fredrik Folkare at his Chrome Studios in Sweden. Was it an obvious choice to work at Chrome Studios or did you even consider checking out other studio possibilities ?
It was indeed. And yeah there was no other option as far as we’re concerned. Noone knows better than Fredrik what we want out of an album and a production, so there’s really no need to involve other parties in this. Sure, sometimes an outside producer may come with ideas or whatever. But I think we are so focused on what we want to achieve that it would only confuse things.
As for song titles…Tell me about those songs on the album, I assume there is some sort of red line linked between songs after all ?
Yes, this is the continuation of the story where Odalheim ended. So the storyline (and the first song) begins after the great battle of Odaheim. The cover shows Uppsala fields where the battle is held, to the left you can see the kings graves and to the right in the far distance you can see the bombed out church. In the front is a place of Blot. This is to bring some hope after the war where many have died. There is hope in the future…..in the place of Blot, a warrior who wants to become a member of a Hammer Battalion can swear “the nine” on the Hammer. “The nine” being the nine skills that are necessary for a warrior in the future world of Odalheim. So every song on the album is a new chapter in this story
One particular song title got caught by me The Bolt Thrower… Hmm… Whats that all about ?
The norse gods have many nick-names. In this case, their new hope, their new leader, the son of Thor also has a nick name….the warriors call him The Bolt Thrower.
Basically DAWN OF THE NINE continues the saga where ODALHEILM left – as a matter of fact could you shed more light on how the saga started and continues on the new album ?
Yeah as I didn’t write the lyrics its hard for me to go into more detail than I did in the previous questions I’m afraid. Plus I think its worth it for people to get into it themselves and read the whole story while listening to the album.
How does the cover art refer to the album ?
Also like I said earlier, it’s actually a very good depiction of the aftermath of the great battle of ODALHEIM. Sp basically the cover really depicts the very start of the album.
What kind of writing process did you usually have within the band to come up the new ideas and riff for the newer album ?
Its a process that starts as soon as an album is done. Sometimes even before that. There’s not like a set time period for writing, it’s ever ongoing.
Several bands share the ideas via net, do you share the ideas and riff via emails etc or are you more into school writing process like getting to a rehearsal dungeon to create the riff and pound the metal ?
It would be great to have the time to jam and write songs in the old school way so to speak, sure. But as things are nowadays it’s just not possible. Time, distance and lifes’ general obligations these days makes it impossible. But we still get a good feel when creating songs and it still takes some old school pounding to get them right.
Who usually makes the last call for what songs are included and in which order they are released, do you sit down to negotiate as a band or does a record company express their wishes ?
No last call on anything like that is of course ours. We’ve never had anybody else make decisions about such matters. They get a finished product….And they better like it haha..
Unleashed had a long deal with Century Media and unleashed a plenty of albums, then you had a two album deal with SPV and now on Nuclear Blast. How were the years at Century Media, were you pleased with how things worked or ?
Yeah that about sums it up so far. As far as the CM years that’s a thing of the past as far as we are concerned and not worth discussing.
What made you ink a deal with SPV ?
We were looking around for labels at the time and they came around with an offer. Nothing more complicated than that I guess. It worked out quite well for those albums I’d say.
And now on Nuclear Blast, presumably you are pleased with the label ?
Indeed. And yeah we are very pleased, as I believe they are as well. Definitely a good step and it’s working out very well.
PAST-WHERE LIFE DWELLS
You have been to Unleashed since the band started out in 1989 and seen ups and downs during the long Journey of Unleashed, when taking back in time to have a look at the career, which periods have been the most difficult and less succeeded for Unleashed ? Which periods do you treasure as the best period on the career ?
This is definitely true. We don’t really look back and analyze the years that have passed in that way. We like to focus more on the present and future of the band. But of course there has been better and worse times. There was a period on the late 90s which I think was down for death metal in general and that was also a time when we took a break for a bit. But that was more on a personal level than the business. We may have been a bit burned out because of constant touring and such.
What is the most memorable tour that you have ever done ?
That’s a very hard thing to answer. There’s been a lot of tours gone by and I’d say most of them were very good. But sure, some of the early ones were in a way the most memorable since it was new and full of new experiences. But sure the masters of death tour for example was a great thing since it brought together 4 old Swedish bands to do a really unique thing.
Unleashed used to tour quite a lot in the past, but I paid attention to Unleashed select gigs for the domestic market quite carefully, do you wanna offer some special and one kind of show for the Swedish death metal crowd, not get them saturated by Unleashed ?
Yeah we’ve never played much in Sweden. But still, it happens at times. There’s no real masterplan behind it.. haha… When it happens it happens.
What kind of reception do you think having in Sweden nowadays, have the things for the death metal changed dramatically since the 90s ?
Well as in most places all kinds of metal have grown and it’s almost like a household thing these days. Which is weird to me because for me it’s always been something out of the norm.
Unleashed kept putting the albums out every years in the early 90’s I guess during that you had to forge the iron when being hot, were you asked to get the stuff ready for albums by record labels at that time, or were you so productive ?
Shit I cant even really remember. It may have been of a mix between the two. But I do know there was definitely more time in everybodys lives to go at it like that. More responsibilities nowadays that’s for sure.
BACK TO THE PRESENT
The line-up of Unleashed has remained the stable and in general Unleashed has got the massive turmoil of any kind such as your other countrymates, but why did Thomas Olsson depart the band and how did Tomas Masgard end up to Unleashed ?
Haha that’s an easy answer which comes down to a name change….same Tomas, different name. (And that’s I didn’t know at all AL)
Do you think working on every new album between 2-3 years is a needed block to keep the things fresh and above all not getting bored to play the death metal approach ?
I don’t think there’s any time limit needed. We at least don’t look at any set times. It just happens how it happens really. When the songs are done, they are done.
During the period of 1997 – 2002 you were on the hiatus, do you think that break was needed to charge the batteries for Unleashed ? Or were you totally fed up with the band life at that time ?
Well like I mentioned we may have been a bit burnt out. It was never like a planned hiatus, it just kind of happened naturally. And at one point we just started up again. But in hindsight it was probably needed and did indeed charge the batteries so to speak.
As for the nowadays, have you found the solid balance between Unleashed and private matters, would you like to push harder forward ?!
Yeah sure, its quite solid. Since we’ve been at it for so long things have kinda worked their way around each other naturally.
Well nothing is set in stone yet. We will see what comes up in time. But first of focus is on summer festivals, then we will see what happens. Hopefully there will be some touring coming up as well.
All right I for one thank you for your time to do the interview for Metal-Rules.Com, but unleash the last words to conclude the interview…
Thank you my friend, it’s been a pleasure! All I have to say, as always, is to join the battalion! Cheers!