Interview with Tomas Åkvik of Bloodbath

Interview with Tomas Åkvik of Bloodbath

- in Written interviews

Let’s talk about your new album. The main themes seem to be death, but also environmental damage and religious cults.
Yes. I guess that fits into the usual horror movie, death metal stuff.

Are the zombies and maggots just gross-out horror stories or are they also a metaphor?
There’s not much metaphor going on, it’s just horror, nothing secret, nothing special. It’s just death metal. The title Survival of the Sickest isn’t some kind of secret message, it’s just death metal.

Who are the sickest and how will they survive?
We don’t know, it just sounded like a cool title.

Do you think this album is some kind of reaction to all the bad things happening at the time?
I don’t really know. I guess there was some frustration over not being able to go on tours, but mostly, it was time to make this album. You know, just a bunch of people having a good time together.

So you had more time to write and record music, because you couldn’t travel or go on tour?
Yes, Sweden was never really on lockdown, so we could all meet, well, except Nick.

It was not difficult writing music with a singer who lives in another country?
Well, no, we had something called the internet.

The Internet is what saved music during the lockdown. About Nick, why did you hire the Paradise Lost singer for a death metal band?
Anders and I were both big Paradise Lost fans when we were younger, and we toured together, with Katatonia. So when the time came to find another singer, Nick was one of the names that came. At first, he said no, but then he changed his mind.

What new things does he bring to Bloodbath’s sound?
He writes a lot of lyrics, but he doesn’t really write the music. As for his voice, he has this raw voice, zombie-like voice. Our previous vocals were more like brutal death metal.

Yes, he has that sort of raw, raspy, monstrous growl like in old-school death metal bands.
Yes, our album is inspired by Florida death metal bands, like Morbid Angel, as opposed to our previous albums which were more blackened death metal. It’s sort of going back to our first EP, Breeding Death. We hadn’t used HM 2 pedals back then and we didn’t use them on our latest album.

The album has a lot more intricate songwriting, and old-school death metal influences, to pay an homage to the bands we loved as kids.
What would you say about some individual songs?

The first track is called Zombie Inferno, it’s a really fast track. It’s a very good opening track, and it’s really different from the rest of the album, which is slower, heavier death metal. Putrefying Corpse is a really Morbid Angel-ish track. To Die is very simple, and very catchy, with Nick singing “To die!” in the chorus. No God Before Me is really doomy and there is a nice chorus.

Did you hire a full choir to sing on the end of the song?
No, it’s just the band singing, with a few overdubs to sound like a choir.

Is this song about cults or organized religion?
Jonas wrote the lyrics. He’s not into organized religion, as you can see. It’s also full of references to old death metal bands.

Are you proud of this album?
Yes, it’s an album full of references. It has a lot of good tracks, and if you like death metal, you’re missing out if you don’t listen to this.

Do you think death metal is like horror, because they’re both used to discuss evil, dark things?
Yes, death metal is a lot like horror movies. Some people can take it too seriously, and wonder how can you have these violent lyrics, but we’re not always taking it too seriously. Well, we try to be serious but still have some fun.

That’s the best kind of approach. I think discussing the meaning of your music and explaining why you do this is the most interesting part of the interview. Anything else you’d like to add?
No, all I can say is, it’s just death metal, enjoy it. Thank you for listening and have a good day, or evening.

Goodbye, and thanks for making your album.

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