Per, you started playing grindcore under the name Botten Pa Burken and were a four piece then, how did you get together, how old were you at this point? What was the line up?
Ola and I wanted to create a band that was more aligned with our musical taste than the band we played in, so we called up some friends and just started rehearsing. This was in 1988 and we were 15 and 16 years of age at this point, just fooling around with a stupid moniker, trying to make something listenable. The line up was the same as the later line-up for God Macabre, just that Jonas hadn’t joined yet.
Was BPB the very first outfit for all of you, that you were involved in? What bands were your faves/influences?
We had some experience from various local punk/rock bands, but nothing noteworthy or anything that left the local garage. Our influences at that time were mainly Napalm Death and various grind/noise bands.
Did you record any material as BPB?
No, we were just trying out and learning at this point so no recordings.
You came from Vålberg, Värmland, were you somehow familiar with the Stockholm and Gothenburg scenes? Were you aware of what was going on in those cities those times?
We had contact with some guys in the scene, we tapetraded and bought fanzines etc. so we had some knowledge about what was happening in the bigger cities. Gothenburg didn’t really have a scene at that point in time, just the Grotesque guys and some other noisemakers. From late 89 early 90 we certainly knew most of the bands but we didn’t get to hang out on regular basis since we were so far removed from those places. We met up at gigs and had some telephone/mail contact, there weren’t any other options.
Would you say, that death metal had a strong fanbase and following in Sweden?
Yes, it was a bright flame burning in the underground. Great times for awesome music. An extremely potent scene.
You changed your name to Macabre End in 1989 when you’ve started to change your musit into death metal and Jonas Stålhammar joined in 1990, after he was asked to do some session guitar, he then decided to leave Abhoth and join Macabre End permanently, how did he get in the picture exactly? How about Abhoth as a whole?
I got in contact with Jonas through my fanzine and we soon started to meet up and hang out, going to shows etc. One thing led to another and he started playing with us. He left Abhoth for a while but I think he played live with them later on again. Just the natural thing for us, he fit the band nicely and he’s a talented guitarplayer and musician overall, so a great addition to the band as well as being a cool friend to hang with.
You released the Consumed by Darkness demo, that has been published as 7” Ep a year later by Corpse Grinder Records, did the release help the band’s popularity in any way, did you manage to make a name for Macabre End?
Yeah that demo/ep really struck a nerve in the underground, mail started pouring in from every corner of the world. Didn’t really expect that but I guess the world’s eyes were on Sweden right there and then. So yeah, that recording changed everything for us.
Can you tell us about the Appointment With Fear vol. 1 compilation on Spawn of Flesh was featured?
I have the CD but have no clue how that happened. I just got it in the mail one day, we were never asked to contribute as far as I know. Maybe Corpse Grinder Rec. made some deal with the guys behind it?
Is it correct, that you were supposed to record a second 3 track EP titled Nothing Remains Forever (with the songs Into Nowhere, Lost and In Grief) for Relapse Records, but it never happened? Did the label show an interest inb the band?
Correct, a second EP was planned for Relapse, don’t know which songs that were supposed to be on it but we decided to go with MBR instead. There were some dealings with Relapse that we didn’t like, just stupid stuff surrounding merch, so we decided to go another way. There was a contract that we never signed etc. Relapse was a rather small label back then so it wasn’t a hard decision to go with another label instead, we talked a lot to the MBR guys so we felt it was a better choice.
After the Ep Consumed by Darkness you changed the band’s name again into God Macabre, bassist Thomas Johansson left the band and Jonas Stålhammar took over the bass duties, what happened? Did you try to find a permanent bassplayer, by the way?
Jonas just played bass on the recording, we were trying to get a new member for that spot but it never became a reality. These were different times and locally DM wasn’t what was happening, most people didn’t get it. So we continued for a while without bass player but when the drummer decided to leave I knew it was over.
At which point did you start work on the The Winterlong… album?
Right after the first demo, as I said it was supposed to be an ep for Relapse, but it became the album instead.
The material was recorded and mixed at Sunlight Studio, Stockholm, Sweden during December 18,19 & 27 1991, what do you recall of the recording sessions? How did you work compared to the Ep?
I was only in the studio the 27th, laying down all the vocals and then we mixed it to the finished product. Niklas did all the drums day one, the second day all the guitars etc were done. It’s a rush job, but the EP was also a rush job (everything finished in one day) and that was the budget that we had. It could have been better given more time, but it is what it is. Thank god for Sunlight being really affordable and Thomas so easy to work with.
Niklas Nilsson left God Macabre as an official member before the recording of the album, but he played on the album as a session drummer, correct?
Yes, correct. He was not as invested as the other three left by that point, so he decided to quit but helped out on the album.
On the Pantalgia – An International Death Metal compilation appeared Ashes of Mourning Life (former titled Life’s Verge), released by German M. B. R. (Mangled Beyond Recognition) Records, how did you get in touch with them? Were they the first/only company to offer you a contract?
Life’s Verge is a completely different song that we never recorded back then (but did record for a reissue) and MBR and I were in contact even before it was decided that we would release through them. We got in touch via my fanzine, I got their Grave release for a review if I remember correctly. There were loads of other offers from companies, but we felt that we had a good relationship with MBR and they were a cool, upcoming label. Maybe not the most wise decision from a business view, but that’s the choice we made.
How do you view, that the most striking thing about the album is it’s heavy reliance on nuance and atmosphere to establish a setting of fear and dread?
I really can’t say, but maybe the atmosphere then. Some of the harmonies etc. It’s a 90’s Death Metal record, nothing groundbreaking but a fine example of how it sounded back then.
Did the album boast slow, melancholic passages within the gloomy atmosphere and the mellotron sections add atmospheric depth to the music?
Again, for others to decide. But we set out to do a diverse recording, doom, sorrow, hate.
Is the musical value of The Winterlong indisputable? You have composed some of the most thrilling and killer death metal tunes within the Swedish sound…
I wouldn’t call it indisputable, up to the listener. We just did the best record we could at the time with the little resources we had, I’m glad you like it.
Did you manage to blend the atmospheric, dark side with the aggressive and relentless playing in one of the most effective ways ever?
I hope so, we pretty much achieved what we set out to do, a diverse record filled with all the stuff we loved. It’s pretty wild in its structure, but that’s the spirit of youth. 100% of everything all at once.
Would you say, that God Macabre sounds very close to few other bands from your country, but you also share a certain quality, which putted certain high standards in this scene?
Yeah, we are obviously a Swedish Death Metal band and our contemporaries inspired and influenced us a lot. Maybe the guitar solos and some harmonies stands out a little, but basically it’s a SDM-recording, period.
Do you agree with, that there’s lots of dynamics, great harmonies, the riffs are catchy and aggressive and your vocals are standard death metal grunts?
Yes, the dynamics were something we wanted but I really can’t decide if we’re catchy or not. Up to the listener to decide.
Were there any shows in support of the record?
No, the band had split up upon its release. It took 2 years from the recording to its release, we split up early 92. We actually only made a couple of shows locally, the offers we got to play outside our part of Sweden never came to fruition because of members leaving or other stuff happening. Too bad.
Can you tell us any words about the Eve of Souls Forsaken record as well?
A local live recording that was released as a live album in Japan. That’s basically it! Cool thing to have, not so much fun listening to, it’s a rough recording done on a tape-recorder.
Per, thanks a lot for the answers, any closing words for the Hungarian fans?
Thanks for the interview, I’m humbled that anyone cares about our old band that existed for such a short time ages ago. Stay death and keep it true!