Last year, I was really killed by a tiny, yet extremely big piece of vinyl. "Kolumbarium" was the title of this vinyl 7", MORDBRAND was the band who really made me bang my head with two of the finest pieces of Swedish Death Metal I heard in years. This three-piece from the Värmland Iän features a quite prominent name with Per Boder (GOD MACABRE) on vocals as well as two experienced members of the Swedish underground, Björn Larsson on guitar and bass and drummer Johan Rudberg. In the meantime, MORDBRAND released another EP, a 12" this time, called "Unmake" and recently the band announced the release of their first full length in the not too distant future. It is high time now to get a few more information on Sweden’s Death Metal hopefuls. Björn was so kind to answer my questions, with Per stepping in to one question.
Let’s start with the usual question for a "first interview"… Björn, how and when did it all begin with MORDBRAND?
"It’s a bit blurry, but we started out as a project around 2006 I think – and that’s what I’ve been saying thus far, so let’s go with that. We wanted to do primitive Death Metal in the vein of AUTOPSY and such. It didn’t really turn out that way in the long run, but it was our main goal at the time. This was before Per joined the ranks and we recorded a few songs as a duo that ended up on a split with EVOKE. By then those tracks were pretty old, but to see it released fueled a fire in us to keep going."
Per was known before, since he is, respectively was, the singer of GOD MACABRE and MACABRE END. But not much is known about HORNED, the band you and drummer Johan were in. Please, give us a little background information…
"We were a Death Metal band that existed for 3 to 4 years during the beginning of the millennium. We did a couple of demos and made a little name for ourselves in the Swedish underground scene, but due to lack of motivation we ended the band in 2003 (or 2004)."
It’s pretty unusual for a Death Metal band from Sweden to choose a name in their native language, even though MORDBRAND sounds damn cool for me as a German. Why did you chose that name?
"That is true. But a moniker is just a moniker, really. The reason we picked it is because it’s a very unsettling thing. It means ‘arson’ in English, but it sounds good in English as well (and German, obviously). So people can remember it even though they don’t necessarily know what it means. It sounds odd, and we’re odd."
It all started with a strictly limited split LP with EVOKE from the UK on a very small label from the UK as well. How did you get in contact with them, since you didn’t have any demo or stuff out?
"Well, our songs were never intended to be released in the first place. It was John Redfern’s (EVOKE) idea and he made it happen. We have to thank him for a lot of things, in hindsight. I sent him the songs and he liked them and thought they would fit quite good as a split release with his old band’s demo recording."
In 2011 you were signed by American Deathgasm Records and released the "Necropsychotic" EP. Did the fact that Per’s name quite well known open any door?
"Yes, it did. This was never our intention when we approached him about joining the band. We wanted him to sing since he’s the best Death Metal vocalist of all time, plain and simple. We thought that GOD MACABRE was this underrated band from the past, but obviously people still gave a couple of fucks about that band – for good reason. I’m sure it was a big reason for Deathgasm to be interested in the first place, but I think we’ve earned some of the recognition that we’ve gotten – through hard work and deadly Metal. But I must admit that we were quite shocked with the overwhelming feedback we got from that EP."
You were busy last year doing more "small stuff". First you released another limited split 10" with Jonas Stålhammars Death Crusties BOMBS OF HADES. Is that one sold out already?
"It isn’t from what I know. But it was a huge pressing, so I’m not surprised. It’s a really cool release on a quality 10" pressing, so make sure you get it ’cause it’s still selling pretty good. The artwork by Juanjo Castellano is (as usual) stellar too."
Then there was the "Kolumbarium" 7", my personal 2012 fave. These two songs were a little different from the other stuff you recorded before, slower, more doomy. Is that the reason they were released separately?
"Honestly, we just wanted to do a 7". We love the format and those two songs just happened to fit the format well. They are fairly long and they go different places, musically. We are very happy with how that one came out too."
Since most of your earlier stuff was released in limited quantities only, did you ever think about re-releasing them, as a compilation for example? It would be a real pity that the world should do without the "Kolumbarium" songs…
"The thought has crossed our minds. We’ll see what happens. No matter what, you can listen to our full discography at our bandcamp page for this particular reason. Even if you can’t track down every single release, you can stream them (for free) over there. Everything we’ll ever release will be available online for free streaming sooner or later."
The latest MORDBRAND offering, the "Unmake" 12", wasn’t done by Deathgasm Records. Doomentia were in charge. Was it just a so-called "one-off" release again? Or is it the start of a new collaboration?
""Unmake" was intended as a split with GRAVEHILL, but due to some circumstances (that I can’t remember) it didn’t happen. It was GRAVEHILL who was in contact with Doomentia in the first place, so we asked Lukas of Doomentia if he was interested to do an EP instead, since we had already recorded all material. He heard the songs and liked the idea a lot."
For "Unmake" you also recorded your first cover tune. It was a very surprising, yet brilliant choice, since you did EXCITERs ‘War Is Hell’. Why did you choose that song?
Per: "EXCITER is a huge inspiration for me and I hold their "Violence And Force" album very high, a personal favorite since its release and a classic. The idea of making a D-Beat version of ‘War Is Hell’ has been with me for a long time, dating back to the endtimes of GOD MACABRE. MORDBRAND did this as a test when we started recording the split with BOMBS OF HADES, but decided to put it aside for different reasons. We reworked it a bit later on and released it with the three songs the "Unmake" recording."
Björn: "This song was first meant to be on the BOMBS OF HADES split, but it would make no sense for us to have 4 songs when BOMBS OF HADES only had two, so we saved ‘War Is Hell’ for a future project. That project turned out to be "Unmake"."
If you should describe MORDBRAND’s music to someone who hasn’t heard of you before, what words would you use?
Björn: "Primitive Death Metal with atmosphere."
Björn, is it correct to say that you’re the musical mastermind of MORDBRAND?
"Well, no. I do most of the music, but everybody has a say on everything. A song starts as a demo from me and then we arrange it as a group. Both Per and Johan has contributed with riffs for the upcoming album, and Per writes all the lyrics."
On your youtube channel, there are two live clips from the first MORDBRAND show in Falun. Who were the live musicians who played with you?
"Andreas Olander (VOLTURYON / AGES) and Patrik Westling (LIVET SOM INSATS) played guitar and bass respectively."
Did you play more shows after that one?
Are there more shows planned for the near future? And who will play the bass and second guitar at these shows?
"We’ve had quite a lot of offers, but it all has to do with timing. We have very busy schedules and should we do a gig again we’d need a lot of time to prepare since we’re not a rehearsing unit. We’d also need some money so that we can pay our live musicians that we’d need in order to make the gig happen. But we have nothing planned for now."
Since you became more and better known over the past months and have plans for the future also, did you ever think about looking for a steady bass player and a second guitar player?
"No! To get five people to get along and to be on the same page musically is very hard. I think the reason we’ve stayed so productive these last three years is because we have a limited amount of wills that’s colliding."
It seems like you’re pretty busy in the music scene today. Can you tell us something about THE LAW?
"THE LAW isn’t keeping anyone busy these days. I think we all got drained of Thrash riffs in the end, and all members are busy with other bands (Peter in VOMITORY, Tobias in SAFFIRE and EVIL MASQUERADE and Kristian in INFERIOR). We’ll see what happens in the future and we’ve talked about doing something again, but I guess it’s written in the stars."
Björn, you have another band called KARENSDAG with MORDBRAND drummer Johan. What is this band about?
"KARENSDAG is a Hardcore / Punk band that’s also on hiatus at the moment."
Every musical project you’re involved, past and present, also features Johan on drums. Is it blind understanding? Or are you evil twins, separated at birth? ; -)
"You are correct. We’ve been playing together for 13 years so we know each others musical strengths and weaknesses, which is helpful and saves a lot of time. We’ve been the motor of many of the projects we’ve both been involved with and when I have an idea it’s often natural to ask Johan to try it out on drums. And from ideas you get projects and bands."
Let’s turn back to MORDBRAND… There will be two new releases pretty soon. First there will be another split, this time as a 7" with RITE. Is that song an exclusive one?
"Yes. There are two re-recorded and partly re-written tracks on "Necropsychotic", other than that – we’ll try to keep every release as exclusive as possible. Our track, ‘Order Of The Formless’, is a track that represents the heavier and filthier side of MORDBRAND. Perhaps our dirtiest production thus far."
And then, finally, there will be the first full MORDBRAND album "Imago"on Deathgasm AND Doomentia.
"Indeed. It will be a split release between two of the best labels for Death Metal. Nine original exclusive tracks of varied Metal of Death. We’ve worked hard, constantly, for eight months and it’s rewarding to hear the final result – and I honestly think that we’ve outdone ourselves. We also have some guest appearances from RITE, CC DeKill (GRAVEHILL) and Eric Cutler (AUTOPSY). It’s an honor having these brothers doing their thing with us."
So, finally, an important question: With "Imago" at hand, will MORDBRAND conquer the world by tour bus? I’d love to see you live on stage in Northern Germany, and I’m pretty sure the rest of the world would love it as well…
"I don’t think we’ll do any touring, but a one off festival gig is not excluded."
That really is a pity… So, listen to their records and hope for a festival manager with a very good taste…