– Hello and first of all, thanks for taking the time. How is everything doing right now with CRUCIFYRE?
Hi Tania! Thank you for having us. We are quite anxious to get the new album out! It has been a long time coming to say the least.
– Your debut album, «Infernal Earthly Divine», came out in 2010. What has the band been up to throughout these years and how do you think it has evolved?
A lot has happened in the band, as well as personally, individually since the debut. For instance we’ve had some line up changes and I made a film about the history of Swedish metal. Of course it wasn’t intended that it would take this long. For different reasons it did and finally the album was delayed a year or so.
– Now you will release your sophomore album, «Black Magic Fire». How are the first reactions being? As it isn’t out yet but it has already hit the press.
We are just seeing the first reactions and it seem like those who understand what we are about, like you really appreciate it. So far we have only seen a few reviews and they have basically been very positive. Lucky for them!
– This album sees bass player Karl Envall joining the band. Was the part of the songwriting and recording sessions? If so, what could you say has Karl brought new to CRUCIFYRE?
No, he wasn’t really since most of the tracks were already written when he joined the band. But with those songs that were finalized last, like “Pentagram Palms” he had some input in maybe if I was going in the right direction with the last versions as well as what parts the bass should play.
– «Black Magic Fire» is quite somber album title, even mystic I could say, as well as the cover and the lyrics. It seems like everything works as a whole. Is it actually like this? Moreover the album starts and ends in a similar way, with female chants, so somehow gives a feeling of wholeness, of a cycle.
I am glad to hear that. This is a record that we have worked on for a long time and it is meant to have a dynamic within itself, which of course any great album should, so that there is a balance between the songs or a line if you will. I guess you could say it is a somber album and the mystic and magical aspects of it are very important! I have also thought of the opera choir, in the first song and the children’s choir in the last song, they kind of make a circle. It’s cool that you point that out even if those two songs aren’t positioned first and last mainly because of that.
– Anyway, the whole album sounds really honest and passionate. I think this is something lacking in a lot of newer bands, and I personally believe honesty is what makes the difference and helps an album being good but, what do you think makes «Black Magic Fire» stand out?
We are extremely passionate when it comes to our music and how we want to present ourselves. And I agree, unfortunately most music lacks passion and sucks, Period! In that “Black Magic Fire” stands out just because it encompasses passion and focus. And maybe even more important there are songs. “Black Magic Fire” is for people who can understand and appreciate the linkage between Slayer and Judas Priest or the fact that Black Sabbath And Discharge were probably, the most important bands for thrash and death metal, like Muddy Waters was for the Rolling Stones. This is not meant to sound like a highbrow, pretentious, ass hole sentiment, it is just a-matter-of-fact.
– Even though you play Death Metal, you also throw a lot of elements from different music styles, such as Black Metal, D-Beat, Punk, Grind, and I also notice a lot of inspiration of Rock and Heavy Metal, specially on guitar terms. Due to this I would like to know what bands do you think have been the most influential ones for the sound of CRUCIFYRE.
I look at music like, I think Lemmy of Motörhead, and others have said: There are two types of music – Good music and bad. Unlike a lot of bands, and I am sorry to say especially in metal, we do not exclude music of other genres. As long as it fits what we want to achieve it doesn’t matter if we get inspired by whatever kind of heavy metal, classical music, punk or even rock. And of course Slayer or Metallica would never have become what they are if the excluded punk rock for instance. The most important influences for Crucifyre come from the seventies in the form of Black Sabbath, and the eighties in the form of Slayer and Bathory. There are also punk influences like Discharge and The Damned, and yes, dare I say, even some rock influences. There are also some influences from Candlemass and Autopsy I guess.
– In fact all of you are or have been involved in different bands. How much of your experience and music background do you bring to what you are doing now with CRUCIFYRE?
I think it is mostly a case of being experienced from playing for a long time. Crucifyre is quite different to what any of the members have done previously. So, yes I would say that our experiences in other bands has helped us to put our focus on the right things in Crucifyre, but I think that’s as far as it goes. Those other bands are quite different to what we are doing in Crucifyre anyway.
– On this album you have done something new I think, which is also adding some Doom Metal elements, even a bit of epic I think, may not so much in music, but in feeling. Was this something you wanted to do on purpose or just happened?
Well, Black Sabbath is an influence for any metal band worthy of deeming their music metal, so slowing down is quite natural in that sense and something I have wanted to do in the right form and space with Crucifyre. And I guess you could say that songs like “Funeral Pyre”, “Anneliese” and “Wolf’s Hour” are pretty epic, either in their lyrics, structure, atmosphere or all of the above!
– But you are still a really aggressive and brutal band, with a lot of fast tempo songs, still being melody always present. How do you manage to get a good equilibrium between apparently opposite elements?
When it comes to music based around songs, it’s all about the songs, be it Elvis or Slayer. So all I try to do is write good songs. For the most part there’ll be a verse and chorus and you can be quite brutal and still maintain a lot of melody. If you go deep on “Reign in Blood” for instance I bet you’ll find a lot of melody, even though the riffs and music are played in such aggressive and merciless way, as well as in minor keys and/or with “disharmonic” chord progressions. So I am not sure if melody and brutality need to be opposites really. And if I should let you in on a major secret when it comes to our music, and Slayer’s and any good, brutal rock and roll, it is too go back to the music. Just make songs, play the blues or whatever you want to call it and if you play drums like Dave Lombardo, play leads like Jeff Hanneman or sing like Erik Sahlström it’s gonna get fucking brutal, even if you play a fucking lullaby! Or let me rephrase that, especially if you play a fucking lullaby!
– All this has made of «Black Magic Fire» an album with a lot of dynamics. How important is for you (not just for the listeners) to keep things interesting and dynamic? Both as composers and as musicians.
And there you just followed up what I am talking about. Dynamics are extremely important for Crucifyre and as it should be for any style of music! Without them you are totally lost. You need to know what goes where and why. An album like “Reign in Blood” again, the most brutal record every written, is extremely dynamic if you pick it apart. Every song has its natural place, even if it feels like you’ve been run over when you hear it! Or take a song like “Black Sabbath” the build in that song makes the song totally, together with the eerie melody, vocals, lyrics and so forth. Dynamics is in my opinion the key to all great music, as well as art.
– And talking about such; how does CRUCIFYRE work on the songwriting process?
Most of the time I come up with the songs or riffs and we try them out in rehearsal. Then I go back home and put them together. But if you want to know how I come up with the songs from their inception, that’s a totally different story!
– Despite all the aforementioned, which I can sum up saying you are not just a plain Death Metal band, I guess some people will label you as a Swedeath band by the fact you are playing DM and you are hailing from Sweden. Do you feel comfortable with this label or do you think there’s a lot more going on in your music?
I guess we do think that there is more to our music than fitting into a pretty narrow label likte that. Not slaging “Swedish Death Metal” off at all, I do not think that that is what we are about, nearly at all. See Crucifyre is a band that takes it’s influences from what made this type of music to begin with, bands like Venom or GBH or Possessed or whatever, not just Autopsy or Entombed. We have parts in our songs that people might deem heavy metal, black metal or thrash metal, and so on. We are not restricting ourselves to playing just one niche type of metal or music. Yet we are very particular in keeping it coherent with Crucifyre’s music, that being violent, magical, rebellious metal!
– Since your debut album you are working with Pulverised Records, which seems to be a dedicated label releasing interesting newer Death Metal bands, it actually looks like a fitting label for you. Do you feel the same way? How your experience with them been thus far?
They are dedicated just like we are. So, yes I think they are a good label for what is going on in the metal underground and beyond these days.
– All this about your new «Black Magic Fire» being said; how could you describe it in just 3 words?
You just did!
– As I said earlier, all of you have been involved with different bands, and most of you were already active during the early 90’s, let’s say the golden days of Death Metal, but there now it seems like the genre is living some kind of second wind but, how do you think has this scene changed since the early 90’s? Could youy say is stronger now that during the late 90’s or early 2000’s?
It is not really possible to compare the scene in the late eighties and early nineties to what is going on now. In the early days the scene was in exciting, unpredictable and all of that really. Even though there are probably a lot more bands I couldn’t say there even is a scene the way it was back then. It was exciting then. I am rarely excited over a new album release these days and that is probably the reason to why I needed to have this band.
– In fact there now seems to be a huge interest in Metal toward anything «old school» sounding, in anything traditional and 80’s/90’s sounding. How positive is this for bands like CRUCIFYRE?
I don’t really know. If that is the case it might be, but if people are positive before they know what the hell is going on, they can go fuck themselves!
When this band started out we probably had some benefit from having members that had played in Morbid or so, but I don’t think that is the case now. Crucifyre stands on its own merit which most certainly has to be the case. Otherwise, what is the fucking point?
– Finally, what are your near-future plans?
We are looking at some line up changes that hopefully are sorted out by the time this interview hits the www. After that we have quite a few live shows to catch up on and possibly some touring.
– That’s all, thank you once more for answering our questions. If you want to add some final words; feel free to do it.
Thank you for your thoughtful questions! If you prefer bands like Slayer, Black Sabbath and Bathory, rather than triggered plastic make sure to check out Crucifyre! Worship! Die Hard!