HARROWED is a rather young Death Metal band from Stockolm / Sweden, that was founded by ex – MORBUS CHRON member Adam Lindmark (drums and vocals) last year. They have just released a very cool split album with German Crust / Deathers PHANTOM CORPORATION via Supreme Chaos Records, which consists of songs from their excellent “MMXXI” demo. To find out a bit more about them, we contacted Adam for the following interview… Enjoy!
Greetings Adam, I hope you’re doing well and you are bored enough to spend some time on some annoying interview questions?
“Hey! Happy to finally be able to get around to this. Grown-up life gets a bit crazy sometimes!”
When exactly was HARROWED formed and was it you and Tobias only right from the beginning or did you try out other members as well? By the way, how long do you know Tobias? Have you been friends outside of your bands already?
“I can’t say exactly when the idea to start HARROWED actually came up in my mind, but I’ve been wanting to play Death Metal pretty much since my old band MORBUS CHRON quit in 2015. But I wrote the songs that became the demo during the fall of 2020 during the pandemic when there was not so much else going on. I think I knew that I wanted Tobias to play in the band as soon as the idea of the band formed in my head, so he was in the band before he knew it haha. But this is the first time I write songs, and I can’t play guitar for shit, so I needed someone who could help me bring the songs to life, so Tobias was the first person that came to my mind. We go way back as friends, we play together in DEAD LORD as well, and we share a common base musically. We kinda agree on the basics of what heavy music should sound like, but we also see things very differently (he doesn’t like IRON MAIDEN so he can’t be 100% trusted y’know).”
Who came up with the band’s name and logo and does it have any deeper meaning for you guys?
“Naah, there’s no deeper meaning behind it. I liked the word “Harrowing” from reading a bunch of Victorian suspense novels, but didn’t like that conjugation for a band name. So I went with the “Ed”-ending instead, like ENTOMBED, because they’re rad. And then I also basically stole that part of the logo. Or I didn’t, the logo is made by my buddy Robin Banks, who also did the artwork for the 12″ EP and the tape.”
Will you work with Robin in the future again?
“Robin is the raddest dude around, I love his style and he’s also a great guy. I will definitely work with him again for future releases, I think he gets that style that combines Punk and Metal aesthetics really well.”
You used to be part of MORBUS CHRON, first as their bass player and later on as their drummer… what made you switch instruments and what actually was the reason that MORBUS CHRON split up?
“MORBUS CHRON was a great part of my life, but it’s too long of a story to get into the details. I joined as a bass player, even though I pretty much never played bass. After some time the old drummer felt that he wanted to do other things, and I really felt that my bass skills were lacking, so I moved over to drums, and Dag joined the band, which made my life a lot better from that point, since he’s one of the funniest dudes I know. Then we went on to record some great albums and do a couple of great tours, but we decided to call it quits after a few years, since we were all moving in different musical directions, and Robert, who was the lead song writer, had different ambitions. Even then, it was completely without drama, and there was never a fight behind it. We’re all still good buddies today.”
Was it difficult for you to become a vocalist as well now or did you have any experiences in that department already in one way or another?
“Fucking hell, it’s so hard! Not only have I never sung in a band, let alone Metal music. And to play drums on top of that (kick-ass drums I might add) is a struggle. It doesn’t help that I recorded the drums for the demo before writing the vocals / lyrics, so all the cool shit on both vocals and drums happens at the same time. But it actually works pretty well live, I’m even surprised myself. Positively surprised, that is. It’s hard to remember lyrics though, so when I forget the words, I just sing ‘Radiation Sickness’ by REPULSION. And then I realize that I forgot those lyrics as well.”
You are also the drummer in the Swedish Rockband DEAD LORD, which is playing quite a lot of live shows, so was HARROWED founded pretty much out of boredom, when you weren’t able to go on tour the last years?
“Well, yes and no. I think I used the time during the pandemic to actually get my ideas off the ground, but as I said before, I have wanted to do this pretty much since the MORBUS days, so it’s not only to keep busy. I’m genuinely proud and happy that this band now exists.”
Musically HARROWED is a lot more rooted in very early Death Metal, when bands like REPULSION, DEATH STRIKE or MANTAS were still big influences on many younger musicians. Is it possible that you felt a similar urge as Nicke Andersson, who at one point in his career started DEATH BREATH, a band which musically most likely has similar musical roots as you have in HARROWED…
“Yeah, for sure! I actually discovered Death Metal with DEATH BREATH in 2007, the same year I joined MORBUS. DEATH, DEATH STRIKE, REPULSION, ENTOMBED, DISMEMBER and all the other classic old school bands were our inspiration at that time, but one band stood out for us then, and still does for me today. And that is the undisputed masters of filth: AUTOPSY. All hail the kings!”
Which five releases had the biggest influence on you musically and were they also responsible for the origin of HARROWED?
“For the inspiration behind HARROWED I could probably name five AUTOPSY releases (including releases post-reuinion), but since that’s no fun, here goes: DEATH STRIKE – “Fuckin’ Death” demo, ENTOMBED – “Clandestine”, DEATH BREATH – “Stinking Up The Night”, BASTARD PRIEST – “Eyes Of The Possessed”, TRAGEDY – “Tragedy”.”
Your part on the split release with German PHANTOM CORPORATION features the songs from your one and only “MMXXI” demo. Did Leif of PHANTOM CORPORATION approach you guys to be part of this split or was it vice versa that you convinced him to let you join? Are there any plans to release the material on CD sometime in the future as well, either the full split or your part of it?
“Yeah, Leify-boy is my main man! He’s an old time friend, and he also manages DEAD LORD. They came up with the idea of doing a split, and since my plans only stretched as far as a tape release originally, it was a perfect way to get it out on vinyl. Of course, everything took a way longer time than expected because of all the hold-ups at pressing plants etc. because of the pandemic, but all-in-all, I’m very happy with what has happened with the three songs of demo, and the response it has gotten. I think a CD – version of the split is in the making by the same label that put it out on vinyl, Supreme Chaos Recordings.”
Where did you record the whole material, are you satisfied with the result and will you go back there for upcoming releases as well?
“It’s recorded in a rehearsal room in Stockholm by my buddy Arnau “El Niño” Díaz. I’m super happy with the result. The funny thing is that Arnau is not a Metalhead per se, but he has a good ear for music, and when I basically told him to make everything sound gritty and shitty as hell, he nailed it. I sent some reference material to show him how music can sound bad in a good way. I’m planning on recording a full album soon, but since that is in the works, I’ll keep my plans a secret for now.”
Was the song ‘Wendigo’ recorded at the same session as the other two songs? Was it supposed to serve as some kind of bonus track right from the start or why didn’t you release it digitally as well?
“Yes, it was part of the original recording, I just released a bit later, since it’s long and weird. The idea was mostly to keep interest up until the tape arrived, but that proved to take way longer anyway, so it didn’t really make sense anymore. It’s on the demo now, digitally and physically.”
So far, your songs are all quite lengthy, between six and seven minutes, which is unusual for a band which in a way is also rooted in raw Punk, so will you continue to write longer songs in the future or did they just turn out that long by accident?
“It pretty much happened by accident. As I mentioned before, the three songs on the demo are the first songs I have ever written. So I basically just stacked some riffs together. There is a red thread in the songs, and even though I’m happy with them, I can look back at them now and feel that they’re a bit “all over the place”. In my own opinion, I’ve developed a lot as a songwriter since then, and a quality that I hold in very high regard when it comes to songwriting is being able to keep things short, and yet still interesting. That being said, the new stuff I’ve written is still pretty weird, I will never write intro-verse-chorus-verse-chorus songs for this band. And I know nothing about music theory, not even when it comes to drums, so I just write and play what I think sounds cool. I leave it to Tobias to tell me if it’s 5/7 or any other weird time or beat I play.”
I suppose you first of all released the songs digitally only, so how long did it take until Desiccated Productions contacted you for a cassette release? Have you thought about releasing it on any physical format yourselves when you were finished with the recordings or was it originally planned to be just a digital release?
“Nah, my idea was always to make a physical release, but my starting plan was just to make a tape release. But I decided I was going to record everything and have a ready product before deciding on a label to release it on. So the first tape release is actually on an American label called Muerto de la Cruz. The tape turned out cool, but it’s a small edition, and it took a pretty long time for it to come out. When I heard from Malik from Desiccated Productions, I decided to do another release. It’s also a lot easier with shipping and whatnot when the label is based in Europe.”
What kind of topics do you write about in your lyrics? Is it typical Death Metal stuff or do you also draw inspirations from what’s going on in the world these days?
“It’s been pretty varied actually. I’m very content with the lyrics I write, but I also know that nobody hears a single word of what I’m singing. Old school Death Metal has a certain vibe, and I think lyrics should be in line with that, but it doesn’t have to be only about Zombies and murder. I usually see a documentary, read a book, hear a cool phrase or something, and think: “That could be a cool theme for a song”, and then it kinda writes itself. Once the first 3 or 4 lines are written, the rest comes by itself. The hard part is to get started. So I’ve written songs about folk tales, war atrocities, 19th century Russian poetry, but also of course about regular Death Metal stuff like death by poison, and severed limbs in jars of formaldehyde.”
Have you already written new material ever since that demo came out? Do you have enough material for a full live set already or will you simply throw in a couple of cover songs as well then?
“Yeah, we played our first run of shows in May, we did three shows in Denmark, Germany and The Netherlands, so now we’re an active live band. The line-up features myself on drums and vocals, Tobias on guitar, Estefan Carrillo on guitar and Dag (who was also in MORBUS CHRON) on bass. The idea is to play more up ahead, we had heaps of fun playing on the last run. And we haven’t yet played in our home town Stockholm, hell, we haven’t even played in Sweden. I’ve also written a bunch of new songs, so I basically have an album ready that I will try to record some time this year. And a few of those songs already made it into the setlist.”
Ok Adam, if you survived my questions up to this point without falling asleep, you can consider yourself a lucky guy, cause I have no more questions left. Thanks a lot for taking the time. If you would still like to add something now, you’re welcome to do so of course. Take care and all the best!
“Thanks for letting me rant a bit, I’m glad to talk about what we’re up to. I’ve got nothing to add except that fascism and triggers have no place in Death Metal! UGH!”
Live pics: Paul Verhagen
Interview: Frank Stöver