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FOLLOW THE UNFOLDING OF SWEDISH DEATH METAL

Paradigm exists on all levels. In all places, at all times. Sometimes they are easy to identify and evokes immediate effect. It could be a shot in Sarajevo or a bloody guillotine in Paris – events that change a whole world. But it may as well be an individual’s own life-world as, at a particular time and a special event on different levels, takes new turns. We carry everyone on such events.

In my own case, one of my biggest paradigm shifts occurred in a local market in neighboring town when I was 12 years old. Me and a friend stood and flown in a back with vinyl records and our eyes stuck on a suggestively cluttered album cover with a hugely cool logo. Entombed – Clandestine.

I had already enjoyed listening to heavy music and preferably listening to Hell Awaits on 33 rpm. My cassette with Metallica’s Master of Puppets, and Ride The Lightning on the B-side was always spinning in my Walkman. But when me and my friend came home to him and put the newly purchased album on the gramophone player, there came some horrific but still fascinating sounds through the speakers. This was something completely different – the true soundtrack to all the b and c horror movies I’ve ever seen. The atmosphere was hauntingly horrific. The record became my absolute favorite album and I immediately went to the record store in the nearby city of Hudiksvall. There I found the CD Left hand path and an Entombed t-shirt where “Satan älskar dig [Satan loves you]” was written on the back. I had found my first favorite band. And I was in my home village, basically alone with it. From Entombed, a search for new rushes began and behind the corner I found Morbid Angel, Deicide, Grave, Dismember and many others.

The years passed and during the second half of the 1990s, the death metal scene was poisoned by blues and rock. Unfortunately, Entombed was one of the, or to put it straight – the main reason, to cause Carcass, Gorefest and others to be demolished into blues or rock n ‘roll bands. I therefore left the metal scene and instead searched for darkness in Swedish folk music and the classical masters, which led me to study classical violin and composition for six years.

The years went by and during my career as a folk fiddler and violinist, the death metal scene recovered. My old favorite bands once again released music with artistic value and Entombed crowned a series of solid records with Serpent Saints. Over time, I searched back for my musical roots and started my own band Wachenfeldt. During the same time, I received a request from Tommy Rehn, who was planning a concert with his band Corroded and the Nordic Chamber Orchestra. I was asked to arrange for the orchestra and was asked what other band would suit the project. Without hesitation, I said Entombed and Clandestine. The tools I had received during my compositional studies helped me to understand Clandestine’s songs and structures on a deeper level. And beyond that there were obvious classical influences

Shortly thereafter Alex Hellid called me up and it showed that he had been thinking exactly the same thoughts. After about an hour in the phone, a marathon work began which took three months to complete. The mission was to “return” Clandestine’s songs into an orchestral form. My suspicions had proved true. The music of Clandestine was written after prolonged abuse of horror movies and, above all, the music by Christopher Young.

Initially, I thought that Entombed would play the songs as on the record and the orchestra would be there in the background. But after the first demo was sent to Alex, I realized that it would be the other way around. The orchestra should be in the forefront and the musicians in Entombed should sit among the other musicians in the symphony orchestra. This placed considerably higher demands on me as an organizer, as the arrangements would carry themselves and sound like regular symphonic music. But! This was far more interesting than it usually was with these kind of collaborations after Metallica and San Francisco’s symphony orchestra’s project S&M.

The work of arranging and orchestrating Clandestine has in many ways been an introspective journey. At the same time as I analyzed the smallest note at a micro level, many things have been revealed. First: Clandestine is at all levels nothing but an ingenious work and many times a thought has struck me. Did the four members Nicke, Alex, Uffe and Lasse act as mediators of a metaphysical power materialized by these four teenagers? Like the unyielding and fierce power that flowed through the young Mozart in his early work.

I have also realized that Clandestine have shaped a great deal of my aesthetic view and taste – regardless of whether I play classical music, Swedish folk music or death metal. I always come back to and have always been attracted to the gritty endless darkness.