Tuesday, 3 April 2012


NAME: Anguish 
THEY ARE: Sinister doom metal 
FROM: Uppsala, Sweden
 FOR FANS OF: Candlemass, Mercy, Count Raven 
LATEST RELEASE: 'Through The Archdemons Head' (Dark Descent Records)
SONGS TO CHECK OUT: 'Where The Ancients Dare To Walk', 'The Veil'
Anguish  weaved their musical spell over me instantly with their crushing sinister debut full length album "Through The Archdemons Head" (which was produced by Johan Eriksson of Draconian), I was spellbound by the riffs which are some of the finest traditional Doom metal riffs I have heard in a long time and remind me a lot of Candlemass at their classic best in many places but what sets this band apart and elevates them onto another level from just being "another doom band" is the different vocal approach the vocalist J. Dee utilises, he has opted for a harsher, unclean and more eerie sounding style which to my ears sounds like a mix of The Baron in 80's Amebix, Tom G Warrior and Cronos with some of the rough melody of Quorthon in "Hammerheart"/"Twilight Of The Gods" era Bathory and has caused indifferent opinions but to me sounds very unique as he croons, growls and croaks over the riffs and melodies that slowly unravel themselves throughout each song. The band took its first steps in 2007 and released a demo "Dawn of Doom" and a split with Italian occult doomsters Black Oath before unleashing the debut full length. The bands current line up is J. Dee on vocals, David and Kribbe on guitar and Ralle on drums.    
Please give me a quick background history on the band and who currently does what in it. Ages of each member? How long have you all known each other for? -As you might know, the band took it's first breath in 2007. I was originally not a part of Anguish at that exact time but I had known David for some time. I later joined when I they sought singer and I wanted to descend into doom. Some time after the original member dropped out, and left were David and I. Fortunatly, the band could be quickly filled. Kribbe, Ralle and Anton was within reach and eager to play. We are all the same age, born in 1990. That was the start for Anguish to become what it is today. Anton left the band quite recently, right before "Through the archdemons head" was recorded. All of us have known each other for some time now. Time flies faster than anything else. Kribbe and Ralle might have known each other since the dawn of time. All of us in a whole? I guess about a few years or so. Right now the line-up consist of me on vocals, David and Kribbe on guitar and Ralle on drums. Your debut demo "Dawn of Doom" was unleashed upon the metal underground scene back in 2010, how was the overall response to that demo initially, how many copies did you press up of it and is it still available? -At first it was self-released by us. At that time I don't think anyone cared much about Anguish. The only people that had really heard about us was people we knew. I'm not really sure how the tape found it's way to the US. Or maybe it was the internet that played it's part. However, we came in contact with Dark Descent Records, and Matt was willing to release a pro-tape. As we really had no contacts to spread our music further this was great. Dark Descent might have been the best thing that happened to Anguish. Matt has been really supportive towards our cause when many had their doubts. I believe there is around 350 tapes ever released, including our self-pressed ones. But I'm not really sure. Dark Descent might have some left in the distro. You have just had your excellent debut full length album released by Dark Descent records, "Through The Archdemons Head". Please tell the readers abit about that album in your own words and what they can expect from it? Are you pleased with the response to it so far? Are you overall very satisified with how it turned out, or are there any things you would maybes like to change on reflection? -I don't believe that one should look back, atleast not to much. As for the outcome of the album I'm really satisfied. It sounds exactly like we wanted the demo to sound like. With good guidance and equipment every sound is possible to achieve. The album, for starters, is what we want to say to the world about Anguish. The theme is the same as the demo, so it might be looked upon as a extension of what Dawn of Doom once was. Alot better though. If you enjoy heavy deathmetal you might enjoy this, if you on the other hand think that all doom should sound exactly as Black Sabbath, Pentagram or Candlemass with no flaws, then look no further. We shun perfection and prefer feeling before musical masturbation. A fun fact for heavymetal nerds; the guitars are recorded using one of Heavy Loads old Marshall amps. The downside of it all is the people in the so-called doom circus. Most people have strong feelings about the vocals. I have never understood why. It might be because doom is stuck in a folder. I don't look upon Anguish as a band that plays the same kind of music as Candlemass, though I understand that we have similar sound and so forth. When I think about Anguish I hear the slow crushing parts of Autopsy. Sometimes I hear the deep dark depths of Mayhem and Celtic Frost. As the violently distracted kind of person I am, I change that point of view alot. I hear different bands in Anguish all the time. But I guess that's to much ask for from people and fans. Some people understand though. Please tell us abit about the albums title and cover art. Who designed that and who is responsible for the lyrical content of the band? Where does that person find the inspiration to put pen to paper and write lyrics? You have some very intriguing songtitles such as "Book Of Fox" aswell as the album title itself. How heavily are you into occult and mystical subjects? What personally draws you to the darker side of life? Why does it appeal to you? -Creation always has something that is pushing it forward. A star just don't collapse without no appearent reason, and because of that death, new stars can be born and so forth. The same goes with music and lyrics and artwork. I have a fascination for the universe and nature. I have for a long time respected the fox as an animal and always held high regards for this magickal being. Without that, Tuva Andersen might not have created that fantastic art that covers "Through the Archdemons head". I'm the one responsible for the lyrics. Uncertainty might be the strongest factor that draws me towards the unknown. I spend alot of my time awake watching the sky, and our dark northern sky is perfect for just this. In the winter the night is longer so the sky can be adored for ever. As I look upon this mighty abyss I sense the presence of those super massive singularitys, the radiation that passes through everything and the gravity that binds us in this helispheric prison. And the thought of the fabric of spacetime continuum twisting and swirling right before our eyes. That's occultism. That's what make me linger and loose myself. There's so much to take in and so many lyrics to write. How did you initially get involved with Dark Descent, are you happy with the work they have done for you so far? -It was through Skeleton Plague Records, who first found us, that we were introduced to Dark Descent. Dark Descent has helped us alot, we have gotten so much support from Matt and he knows what he's doing. A great label, in short termes. I don't regret that we signed to Dark Descent one bit. And the other mighty bands that are signed to Dark Descent are just pure mayhem! You recorded the album with Johan Ericson of Draconian, how was it to work with him and why did you decide to record the album there? -Actually I had never heard of Draconian before we entered the studio, but Johan was really fun to work with. He is as great as he is efficient. Kribbe knew the members in Draconia and said that Johan operated a studio, so we just packed our bags and travelled west. It was a really good decision. We might end up there more than once. I have read you describe your music as "epic doom metal with unclean vocals" I think that is a perfect description. I must say I do love the vocal approach you have gone for, why did you decide to utilise that particular harsher style of vocals instead of having more melodic normal sung vocals? I think it definetly sets you apart, it really makes you stand out and gives your overall music a more darker sinister vibe. I am actually reminded of classic 80's Amebix vocally in places. I have heard/read comparisons to Quorthon, Cronos etc..and already read some indifferent reactions to your chosen vocal style. What vocalists personally influence you to sing in the style that you do. -Well, personally I would not stamp us as "epic doom". Just "Doommetal" is enough. Although, as said before, I have alot of views on Anguish. I could go to the extent and call it downtempo blackmetal. But genre's does not really matter since everyone has a different view about what is what. How the vocals came to be is a simple story. At first, I sucked at singing clean. So we changed. And now I have learned to sing, but we have grown to like the harsher style. If we are going to play heavy then we'll do it for real. No slacking, no wimpering vocals. If it's going to be hard it shall be hard. We have been judged as a doomband with bad vocals, but we really should seen as a heavy downtempo band with hard vocals. I listen to Autopsy alot, I like that heavy style of deathmetal and really like to put that same depth into Anguish. But I also just like to do what I want. As far as we're concerned, my vocals fit with Davids eerie riffs. Quorthon's vocals are just fantastic. But I think Autopsy and Chris Riefert motivates me the most. In the song "The Veil" you actually use some more normal sung style vocals which to me sound very EPIC whos idea was it to use those vocals which follow the same pattern as the riff, was it yourself doing those vocals? I must say it works GREAT in that part of the song. -The first time we recorded "The Veil" I recorded a similar thing on there. The track was finnished but I just recorded it without the knowledge to the others, except Kribbe who was in the studio with me. When the others came back to listen to the whole product they liked it so it was decided to be on the album version aswell. It is me, well multiples of me. Except in the lowest frequencies where it is a synth voice that acts only as a bass. But no ordinary singer would go that low, it would just disappear within.

What made you want to start playing this style of slow doom metal, what bands shape and fuel the overall sound of Anguish? Is it quite an eclectic melting pot of influences?.

-Yes, well from the earliest beginning there was Candlemass and it grew around that. But then influences poured in with doom metal as a starting cog. All of us is very fond of slow heavy music. Everything from extreme slow moving acts as Sunn O))) and Moss to Solitude Aeturnus and all the way to slow deathmetal. Everything that's good.

Your promo pics are quite striking, why did you decide to pose with blood on your faces and holding various animal parts/bones? What significance does such an image have in the overall concept of Anguish? Who took the band pic that has been widely used in the promo of the album?

-The most important fact about the pictures is the cabin in the background. It is the same cabin as depicted on the coverart. And I can say this; if we could find a decapitated foxhead to thrust a pole through we would have made the coverart in real life. This however might anger the Archdemon. So we ended up standing in extreme cold covered in the blood of an animal instead.

Sweden has a long history of producing great doom bands from the epic doom greats such as Sorcerer and Candlemass to Count Raven and onto bands that came after them such as Nezgaroth and Forlorn / Isole. What is your opinion on the current Swedish Doom scene, any bands out there in the Swedish scene that you currently feel an affinity with?

-Count Raven is a great band, fun guys to hang out with. Except for them and Candlemass and late Mercy I can't think of any bands in Sweden that made my mind pop. Every so-called Doom band here plays this kind of psychadelia, 70's heavy rock, and what not. No actual doom (depending on who you ask). The scene in Sweden suffers from the same illness the deathmetal scene had a few years ago. Bands sounding exactly as anything else and exactly as the acts that formed the genre to what it is. The question states "how come new bands like to sound like old ones?" One should aim for the future, not looking back more than needed.   

What is your opinion on the current wider Doom scene? Are you in touch with many other bands/peers out there? Which bands if any do you feel an affinity with in the wider scene? What in your opinion makes a REAL Doom Metal band? What is your opinion on the current popularity of Occult Doom?

-Compared to Swedens current state, better. There are heavier bands abroad. I've had it with these damn 70's rockbands calling themselves doom metal because "Black Sabbath plays doom". Black Sabbath evolved, Pentagram evolved, Trouble is too heavy to evolve. The earth would have broken if they had. It's hard to aim to play heavy, it's something that just comes naturally. And that's how it gets good. Playing doom is something that comes from inside. The feeling manifested in the ambience might be what really makes doom what it is. One band that is very good at this, is Black Oath from Italy and Hooded Priest from Netherlands. Both of them breath the same fire as us, and hopefully we'll share a nightly stage ritual with either of them some time. Black Oath features on a split with us. I can not really be sure about the popularity of occult doom metal. In some ways I think it's always been there, lurking, waiting. I heard from one in Draconia that doom is extremely popular in Turkey, but that's about it. I guess that most metalfans like atleast one doom band, and some are fully devoted. It's a state of mind.  

The east coast of Sweden has been producing a lot of great bands in different styles who seem to be making their mark on the worldwide scene in different ways and some more than others, Uppsala in recent years seems to have became a hotbed for great new bands, why do you think this is happening more in recent years in your home city?

-Well, I know for a fact that we don't joke around. I heard that someone compared Uppsala with Norway in the early 90's. And that was an accurate comparison. Watain lifted and lit the torch back in 97 but it took a few years before the that fire exploded into a storm. The unity found here is intense and all the acts fuel each other. If a band releases a pounding album then you can't be worse right? So you aim higher. Always aiming for the top. It's not rivalry, but I guess you understand what I mean. If every band want to be the best, the outcome will be that all the bands are great. And there are alot of mighty acts in Uppsala, that means we have alot to do. Yet, there are no other doom bands worth mentioning in Uppsala. It's us and the other mighty acts are black, heavy and death metal. Damn good ones, I might add. The most important aspect is that all the persons involved want to do what they like, with no shortcuts. What happens in Uppsala is pure, and that might be why Uppsala has been put on the map.  

Now people don't just talk about Stockholm your bigger urban neighbour when talking about extreme music, Uppsala is mentioned a lot by people now due to the success of bands such as Watain and In Solitude. What do you personally think of your immediate local scene? Are there many cool places to play in your area/  What local bands do you like and would recommend to people reading this?

-The bands forged in this forsaken city are firce, but there are not any actual good places to gig. It is a very strange phaenomena. But when the urge to play becomes strong, you turn your face towards Stockholm. The most important band to look into is the coven Degial. They might be the best deathmetal band in Sweden right now, without competition. The deathmetal band Graveless, which consist of the drummer of Degial and guitarist from Växjö's Antichrist and me on bass and vocals, still awaits in the shadows. Invidious, another deathmetal act is also a brutal choice. Have in mind that none of these sound the same. All uniqe in their own ways. Reveal is also a mighty act to look up. Extremely violent, extremely harsh. And then you have Watain and In Solitude, but there is no need of mentioning since most people know them all to well.  

I know some members have been or are involved with death metal bands such as Graveless and Veternus. What are the current status of both of those bands? What other bands are the members of Anguish currently affiliated with? Would you consider Anguish to be the main focus of each member currently?

-Both me and David have been a part of Veternus. David still is. And I am still in Graveless. Both bands are still active. Ralle and Kribbe is playing in a doom act called Acolytes of Moros with Simon from Inception from Uppsala. It is really slow doom. It makes you suicidal. I don't think of either Graveless or Anguish as my main focus. Graveless I created and Anguish I'm a part of. It deserves the same amount of focus. Anguish has gained more ground. I believe that David's prime focus is Anguish since it's his creation and closest to heart. Kribbe and Ralle i really can't tell. They are hellbent devoted nonetheless.

Are there any or many differences that you see in todays extreme music scene compared to when you first got involved with the underground and playing in bands? Anything you miss about the older days?

-Since none of us are old enough to have experienced a real oldschool scene I can't really tell how it was like. Everyone has heard the stories though. The scene that is today is the scene I once walked in to. With a few exceptions. When you are younger you are more open for bands, back then every new band was a thrill to listen to. I'm harder to convince today. A band has to have that extra edge, and I sometime miss the way I was naive. As everyone around grew, the bands grew, the shadow grew thicker. We all got more sinister.

Is Anguish an active live band? Have you played live much since your inception? What can people expect from an Anguish live show? Do you use any stage "props"? Do you plan to play live much or maybes even tour within Scandinavia or outside of Scandinavia in support of the debut full length album?

-We hope to be. We have had no luck in getting any gigs so far, but we keep looking. I don't believe in studio bands. The goal is to spread the plague live. If you happen to stumble upon an Anguish gig, what you'll find inside the gates of the venue is loud guitars and slow tempo topped with the sound of a strangled dog. We would like to play alot, but we'll see about that. Hopefully something could be arranged for the wicked. Anywhere there is support, will the place we'll make our stand!

What is the songwriting process like with Anguish? How is mostly responsible for writing the great Doom hymns that you have produced on your debut album for example? Or is it quite a joint-band effort? Do you have any newer material written for a future release or is it too early to be thinking of starting to craft new songs?. 

-David does the most. It's not a dictator thing. If anyone of us comes with a powerful piece we will use that but he's the most productive man in Anguish. Everyone has a saying in the process. We have started to touch new waters, but this has to be done with utmost respect for the art.

Describe ANGUISH in 5 words only.

Downtempo Black Doom Metal Calamity

What are your plans for the rest of 2012 and beyond? Do you plan things out much in advance? Where do you want to take Anguish in the future?.

-As far as possible. As high as possible. As low as possible. Everywhere, is where I want Anguish to go. Hopefully, we'll do a tour or atlest some gigs throughout the summer but even better in the winters hold. Antonio Vivaldi can not have experienced the nordic winter, but we have. We'll show the warm world how it feels like. Other than that we might touch the outer rim of new material.

What kind of things do you want to evoke with your music, what kind of feelings do you want to stir in people when they listen to your album? I find it to be a very powerful album in terms of atmosphere, it just creates such a dark vibe from beginning to end,  just the other day for example I walked through a windswept old graveyard listening to some of your album and it just fit PERFECTLY with the surroundings! It was like musical and visual perfection!

-A graveyard is a very good example of the type of ambience that we wan't you to feel. If you find yourself in a similar situation and you happen to listen to "Through the Archdemons head" visualise the graveyard in early January with temperatures ringing at minus thirty degrees celsius. At that moment lungs hurt with every breath of purified cold air and body feels frostbitten. Limb after limb goes numb as the first signs of frostbite kicks in. The guitars now act as a samarithan that keeps your heat up and the drums gives you momentum as the vocals try to drag you down the slope of damnation. In winters grasp. 

Many thanks for answering this short interview Johan, please tell the readers what merch etc you have available and how they can pick up any recordings aswell as check out your music? The last words are yours....

-For the moment there are only the album itself and maybe the split with Black Oath available. But soon shirts will be up for sale. We'll try to reach a consensus about further merch. The album can be grabbed from Dark Descent, from the online shop. There might be some splits in the Distro. If you are really lucky, there could be some pro-tapes left available, also from Dark Descent.
May the demons thrust through you!


ANGUISH were also the subject of my latest blog for the TERRORIZER MAGAZINE Website :- http://truecultheavymetal.com/blog1.php/2012/04/02/band-of-the-day-anguish

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