Band Of The Day: Swordwielder

By on 21 July 2015

sword

I got hold of the debut demo by Swedish crust punk outfit Swordwielder a few years ago and was immediately blown away, and when I got hold of the full-length album ‘Grim Visions Of Battle’ I just knew I had to make them band of the day. These Swedes are obvious fans of old British crust bands such as Amebix, Axegrinder and Deviated Instinct but they also inject a good hefty dose of their native kängpunk (in the vein of Anti-Cimex) into their sound. This is dark, apocalyptic war-torn crust that reeks of the stench of the decaying bodies of slain enemies scattered across a murky, muddy battlefield – not a pretty sound but one that aptly reflects the albums ominous title. Fenriz made these guys one of his Bands Of The Week not so long after I excitedly sent him a link to their Bandcamp page so this band already has a Fenriz approved black mark next to their name! Guitarist Walle answered my questions…

WORDS: Kat Gillham

WHO ARE THEY: Swordwielder
WHERE ARE THEY FROM: Gothenburg, Sweden
FOR FANS OF: Amebix, Axegrinder, Deviated Instinct, Anti-Cimex
LATEST RELEASE: “Grim Visions Of Battle” (Cubo De Sangre, 2013)
WEBSITE: Bandcamp

Hails! Please give the readers of Terrorizer magazine a quick background history of the band and who currently does what?
“Well, I guess it all started, as for many other bands, with me and a friend talking about forming a band playing the old kind of stenchcore crust as we felt not many bands did nowadays. I think we talked about it a couple of years before we really did some kind of practise. At that time we found a drummer. Later on we talked to a friend about playing bass and got a vocalist, we have now switched vocalist. We released a demo 2012, and an Lp 2013.”

Your debut album ‘Grim Visions Of Battle’ is a great crushing slab of crust punk, please tell the readers a bit about this album and what they can expect from the songs on it in your own words. Are you satisfied with how everything turned out on the album or is there anything you would change looking back on it now?
“Before this album we did a demo, CD-r and cassette. That recording we did ourself without any knowledge at all. Think we recorded it in the program Garageband because we actually (or almost) could figure out how to record with that program, the result was as we expected a bit thin. But people seemed to like it so when Cubo de Sangre records approached us and wanted to release the demo on vinyl we talked about it and decided to re-record the demo songs and also record three new songs to make an LP. This time we asked a friend to put up the microphones for us and then we recorded the stuff live, he mixed and mastered it afterwards. I don´t know if it was wise to re-record the songs, but overall the sound is much more as we want it to be. Till next recording we know what we would change though. But I feel we got the feeling we wanted into the recording, and to record it live gives you a small difference to record each instrument by it self, it all melts together. What they can expect? I don’t really know, guess we went for trying to recapture the sound of the UK bands of the eighties. Well, mostly the atmosphere of Amebix, but I guess it’s more similar to Axegrinder soundwise. But hopefully there is something on their own merit in there.”

What formats is the album currently available on? Where can people buy it from?
“Vinyl LP and CD. Maybe Cubo de Sangre has it as download also, I don’t know. We sell only the CD at this time as we sold out on our copies of the vinyl, so I guess you should check into cubodesangre.com to get the LP. There is a cassette of the demo also out now by Blood Of War records from Malaysia. Think there’s gonna be a cassette print of the full length LP a well, but that’s for the future I guess.”

The production is great, powerful and punchy, where did you record the album at?
“Thanks! We recorded it live in a practice space of a friend. We talked about it before the recording and decided that we wouldn’t like to do it other way than live (drums, guitars and bas) because we felt we would loose the feeling recording all the instruments separately. Think we´re gonna do it like this always, because you don’t get the tension from being in a studio, and you don’t have the same kind of time limit. We did some mistakes in the sound, we lacked some microphones here and there but overall its a great way to record stuff.”

The artwork is also great, perfectly grim and dark looking…kinda reminds me of the old Amebix artwork. Who designed the album cover?
“Patrik who plays the guitar is the mastermind behind the cover, he has sketched all the artwork by hand, fucking great!”

You re-recorded a few songs from your 2012 demo, what differences can you hear between the demo and album versions? Is that demo still available?
“The sound is quite different, the LP is more the way we want it I guess, but I love the demo sound as well in some way. The LP sound is more clean in a way, you can hear the different instruments better, without loosing the whole feeling of the recording. The demo was more a big blur. The demo tape which we printed our self is sold out since long, we’ll probably not do more copies of it either. But as I said; blood of war.”

What bands fuel and shape the sound of Swordwielder and made you want to play this style of music in the first place? Vocally I am reminded quite a lot of Jonsson Anti-Cimex/Wolfpack and musically classic Amebix and Axegrinder in places. Are these comparisons relevant and correct or….?
“Of course Amebix and Axegrinder are huge influences, and I guess Axegrinder the most musically because its impossible to get close to the feeling of Amebix. About vocals I think we thought of the same bands, a bit cleaner than Anti Cimex and more to the UK crust style. As I said before, me and Patrik talked for a long time before actually start the band, and we were quite clear in what we wanted to do, but you never know how it ends up. Both of us loves the old stenchcore crust acts, and both of us thought there where not many bands around doing it without downtuned instruments and growly vocals, so we thought of giving it a shot. And here we are… Still trying.

Your sound / imagery overall does remind me a lot of the old dark 80’s UK crust bands a lot. Typically what is your songwriting process like?
“Usually Patrik have a bunch of riffs, or parts of a song, or a whole song, showing us it in the practice and then we try to get it together to a whole song, and to a Swordwielder song. It’s usually a coincidence that some stuff ends up in a song. It’s often we jam some riffs and end up with something different, or find a bridge between the verse and chorus, or some riffs for a middlepart. It’s really nice jaming from one riff and idea, and end up with something else, but it can be frustrating and confusing some times as well as we change the riffs all time, and never complete a song hahaha.”

Have you written any new material since recording the album? Any other releases in the pipeline?
“As we changed our vocalist we haven’t really had time to rehearse so much new stuff, but I think there are materials for a couple of songs at least. Hopefully we will record some songs autumn/winter -14, and that we use one song to do a split 7” with almighty Instinct of Survival from Germany.”

Describe Swordwielder in 5 words only?
“Stenchcore darkness metal madness crust”

Why this band name? What did you want to evoke in peoples minds with the name Swordwielder?
“I don’t know really, who doesn’t wanna be a Swordwielder?”

How active are you as a live entity? Do you play much locally/within Sweden? Any plans to play or tour outside of Sweden? Would you like to do that?
“We did a couple of gigs on a mini tour in the north of Sweden and have played in Gothenburg a couple of times as we all live there. We also played K-town festival in Copenhagen but not much more. This is due to switching vocalist, we love to play live. At the moment we have some upcoming gigs (the first ones with the new vocalist Sikas).

What other bands are you all currently involved with?
“I don’t think that’s so interesting to know… I’m a bit tired of bands living on old bands, like “members from blablabla….”. People shouldn’t buy records, or attend to shows just because it’s members from other bands they like. They should go to a show because they like the band in question, not attending at a show living on old references. The namedropping thing also builds up a strange kind of hierarchy in the scene you play in, I think that could be a problem especially when it comes to the crust punk scene. I think the crust scene doesn’t want to put people on a pedestal, or at least shouldn’t want that. The scene is about people doing stuff together, I as a musician am not more important than people putting up the shows, otherwise I wouldn’t have a place to gig at. It’s important to give the whole scene a big applaud, instead of just the bands.”

What is your local scene like? Many places to play? Good venues?
“For being Sweden I think the Gothenburg crust scene is really good, we have a good DIY punk venue called 128(a) where all the touring punk bands play at. Then we have Truckstop Alaska, a bit bigger place but run in the DIY spirit, really good. They put up different things but often with bands signed to bigger labels, metal, punk, rock etc. There are also some people putting up gigs at pubs around the city. Then we have Punk illegal collective that puts up some shows and a bigger festival outside Gothenburg, it’s great! Otherwise I feel Sweden in general is to far up north in Europe to get all the bands play here, I guess it’s a question of money coming here, and if you play on the door it could end up you losing money. And there are not so many DIY venues left here, it can be quite hard putting up a tour. And that’s a shame…”

What is your opinion on the overall current crust scene? Any bands out there you recommend or feel a particular “affinity” with?
“I think the scene is good, but I’m starting to loose my grip of new upcoming bands, don’t have internet and there are not so many bands hitting Sweden on their tour. I still listen a lot to the old bands but Disturd from Japan is a killer, and Instinct of Survival from Germany. Then we have our sweet friends of Misantropic that are great, and we will hopefully be doing some gigs with Femacoffin from the US, that would be fun. I feel the scene is almost always interesting, and changing. I guess the post-punk thing is quite popular these days, and I can like some of those bands but often it´s not my thing.”

Fenriz from Darkthrone who has made no secret of his love for old school crust punk recently made you a “band of the week” – are any of you guys Darkthrone fans? What do you feel about him recommending you guys to his and Darkthrone’s fans out there across the world?
“Yeah Darkthrone is fucking good band and of course it’s fun that he likes it. I don’t think I have any others thoughts about it than that. Maybe return the favor and tell all the crazy kids out there to checkout Darkthrone. If there is anybody that hasn’t heard them, that would be even more strange, at least if they are reading this magazine.”

Thanks for answering the interview – the last words are yours!
“Check our bandcamp to download the demo and the Lp for free, wieldthesword.bandcamp.com or mail us if you like us to play swordwielders@hotmail.com And of course thanks for the interview, keep on wielding!”

Swordwielder play Bristol’s Subvert Festival on October 24th

About Kez Whelan

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