– Hello Johan, thanks for answering our questions. Soon after releasing your brand new album “The Dark Epic”, what are you currently up to? I guess a lot of promotion might be coming up these days.
Hey! Yeah, there´s a lot of PR in motion for sure. Massacre is doing there thing and I´m doing the interviews but it´s fun to really get things flowing so to speak. It´s nice to see the progress of the release. We have a great new album so I hope that most countries and magazines show their interest in supporting us so thank you very much for this.
– Since it´s released, how has been the feedbacks so far?
The few ones I´ve seen has been pretty great except for the Swedish ones, haha. They don´t seem to understand what this album is about. So that´s pretty unfortunate since we are from Sweden but what the hell, earth is bigger than just Sweden, right?;-). Overall it´s doing great I guess.
– Mikael Lagerblad left the band back in 2009, what has brought new to the band your new guitar player?
Our new guitarplayer is called Jonas Blom and he´s put a lot of new energy into the band. First of all he has written most of the music and then he´s also brought a new fresh attitude into the band which we were in need of. Now we have become hungry again. Earlier we kinda felt that everything was the same over and over again but now this band has gotten a new fresh start and it feels great. We have sort of stepped outside our own boundaries and now anything is possible. Now there´s 5 people that´s very much into death metal compared to before where things didn´t quite sync between all the members.
– This album seems to be your most brutal album so far. Has been this a conscious change?
Yeah, we kinda discussed on how to make it a bit different towards the other albums. Personally I think that there were way too much melody earlier and since I´ve always been more into the extreme stuff this was the only way to approach the future. We had a new line-up and we wanted to refresh our sound and start over from scratch basically. But of course you can still find the traditional Army sound on the album but a lot of elements both musically and on the artwork has changed and that´s a really good thing cause we have become more hungry again and this has a lot to do with finding a new songwriter for the band with new inspirations and ideas.
– It also seems like you have improved the balance between Death and Thrash Metal. What sound did you want to get with “The Dark Epic” when you started working on it? I mean, what was your approach?
We wanted to surprise the listener basically, to make them wanna stay and to find out what´s coming next cause there´s a lot more on this album than typical boring 3 minute songs. You need to be focused and alert when listening cause only then you will get true joy. We were a bit tired of the old ways so we kinda changed the whole concept of writing songs. We wanted them to be more epic, more interesting and more brutal. The combination of death and thrash has always come pretty natural for us and in many ways there has been thrash music with death metal vocals but it´s cool if you think we have improved on that pointJ
– This time we can find more lengthy songs, is there a concrete reason for this? An example of that could be the track “The Dark Epic”. Did you somehow try to make this song epic?
That song had the working title of “Dark epic” already on an early demo and we tried to include some growls on it but we felt that it would destroy the song so we kinda left it 99% instrumental. The reason for this new attitude within the songs comes mainly from the new guy. He had a lot of songs written for this album and we had to cut some off the final product. He had these ideas which we felt were great so we continued this conversation throughout the whole process, to make a lot of the songs more epic, just to be able to do more with your music instead of plain basic and boring stuff. He came up with most of the ideas and then the 5 of us improved the songs in the rehearsalroom.
– I could say with this piece you have managed to create a really entertaining, varied and dynamic CD. Was anything different during the composition process? How was it like?
Yeah, cause earlier me and former bandmate Mikael used to write 50% each of the music. Now I´ve only written one song and the new guy Jonas has written the rest. But I do write all the lyrics still except for a couple of lines on “Dark epic” which Jonas also wrote. The cool thing this time is that we have gotten music from a new guy which means that new influences occur within the songs and this feels awesome. We´ve had the same view on things a couple of years now but finally we can break some barriers. We really needed to do some other stuff in order to entertain ourselves as well. This is more like the death metal music I would listen to at home compared to for example Grim Tales or Error In Evolution so I´m totally satisfied and glad that you like it.
– Your music sounds like you now have even more influences. Have you been lately listening to any new music?
No, not really, but Jonas has a different style in writing songs even if he also likes a lot of the music I like. We always have the basic influences like Slayer, Morbid Angel, Metallica and Death but of course when a new guy joins there´s always small changes that comes that you might not notice yourself and even more so when the new guy´s writing music. But we did discuss the songwriting process on the early stage just so we could be focused on the same thing and we all came to the conclusion that we wanted to do something different and I think we really did. This album shows a much more dynamic and aggressive Army that hopefully will sound more interesting to the listener compared to a lot of other shit that´s out there.
– While listening to the album I found several new details on it. What could you say there’s new in this album or what differences it to your previous ones?
First of all I´ve gotten back to the roots with my vocals. I sing more brutal and more in the vein of the old Crown albums. This was intentional since I was very disappointed with how the vocals turned out on Grim Tales. It also suits the new songs better. I guess there´s also a huge lack of “happy” melodic parts which could be heard on some previous work. We simply wanted this to be more brutal and more straight on death thrash even if the classic groovy Army still can be found in the music.
– “The Dark Epic” is, if I’m not wrong, your second album with Massacre Records, as the first two ones were released by such a big label as Nuclear Blast. Why did you move to Massacre Records and how are you feeling with them?
It´s going good with Massacre. The thing with being on Nuclear Blast was that we ended up being on the lower level with the smallest bands and that´s not easy for us as a band nor Nuclear Blast cause they have problems pushing such bands because they have all the other big bands that has much higher priority. Now with Massacre we have a better spot. We gain better promotion and we don´t slip down under. They like us and push us like we deserve.
– You have filmed a video for “Skeletons of Rose Hall”. What can you tell us about it?
It´s a perfect song for a video. We thought about doing a video for one of the shorter songs but the director Rune Foss had this song as a favourite so we kinda followed his lead towards his vision which in the end was the best choice. It´s a mixture of performance shots that were filmed in our rehearsal room combined with some story telling that we filmed at Runes house and outside in the forest. The story is taken from the true events on Jamaica in the 18th century. About a girl called Annie Palmer that was practising black magic and voodoo and she was torturing and killing slaves on a plantation that both she and her husband owned. Although the story is a bit updated in the video, hehe.
– “The Dark Epic” is a solid prove you’re still improving. How important is this for you both as musician and as individual?
Well, it´s everything. If you don´t try to improve and to write better songs. Then what is the point in continuing? If you succeed or not, that´s another question but you have to try. The day I stop trying is the day I quit.
– The album has been produced, mixed and mastered by Jonas Kjellgren and I think he has definitely done a great job. How was all the recording process? Are you pleased with the final result?
We are very pleased. The sound is magnificent. It´s more raw and aggressive compared to Grim Tales which was way too clean and good to be a death metal product. So we basically intentionally said that we wanted a dirtier sound that can be more compared to a live sound and I think Mr Kjellgren did a tremendous job. The process was as smooth as ever and we were very relaxed throughout the whole recording session. And this was one of the reasons we decided to go back to Black Lounge cause Jonas Kjellgren always brings out the best in you without bringing any pressure into the picture. You simply have fun while recording your parts.
– Even have been several years since you left THE CROWN, many people still compare both bands. What are your feelings about it?
There´s nothing I can do about it. I do think that we have different sounds but since I´m the original Crown singer people will compare both bands until I´m dead and buried. But I don´t really care. It´s fine because without The Crown there would never have been a One man army. I´m happy that they are back together and blasting through some great tunes.
– And finally; what are your near-future plans? Any touring plans to be announced?
We hope to be back on the road very soon. Our guitarplayer has just become a father so we will wait until May or June and then hopefully some festivals and maybe also a tour in the fall. Time will tell.
– That has been all, thank you once more for your time. If you want to add some last words to our readers; last lines are yours.
Thank you very much for this nice interview Tania. Hopefully we´ll get to Spain soon cause I love the country and to all the readers: Please check out The Dark Epic… It slays big time!!! And keep on supporting death metal.