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The Pioneering Teenagers Who Helped Create The Swedish Heavy Metal Story

The Pioneering Teenagers Who Helped Create The Swedish Heavy Metal Story

“I was about seven or eight once I started listening to my Dad’s cassettes, he had tons of by the late 70s. He all the time like Motörhead especially the track “One Monitor Thoughts” off of One other Good Day (1983). He would play it full blast in our blue Volvo, so I assume my sister and I have been brainwashed at a really early age. I feel I was initially drawn to the metallic cassettes because of their covers and spent a whole lot of time gazing at his vinyl assortment, particularly the duvet of Lene Lovich’s album Flex and the skull on the duvet of Oxygene by Jean-Michel Jarre. It was a sheer luxurious to have as a toddler, something I noticed as I acquired older.”

–the writer of Blood Hearth Dying: The Swedish Heavy Metallic Story, and journalist Ika Johannesson speaking about her early exposure to heavy metallic rising up in Sweden. We should always all be so fortunate.

Long before the band Europe put Sweden on the map in 1982, teenagers in Sweden have been already busy cultivating their very own heavy metallic scene. Youngsters would journey to Stockholm to buy issues of Kerrang!, share demo tapes, and type bands whose members would typically rotate in-and-out of other bands communally. Bands like Heavy Load (shaped in 1978), Bathory (1983), and Nihilist (1987, later Entombed) have been a formative part of the early days of Swedish heavy metallic and the emergence of Swedish-styled dying metallic. In the newly updated e-book by scene veterans Ika Johannesson and Jon Jefferson Klingberg, Blood Hearth Demise: The Swedish Heavy Metallic Story, the authors have mapped out a clear trajectory of how teenagers from throughout the nation came to successfully mix the fuck off fervor of punk rock with the then emerging wails of dying metallic, whereas drawing inspiration from bands like Iron Maiden and KISS. Satanism, Nordic pirates, and dying–all are cornerstone elements of Swedish heavy metallic and dying metallic, and what happened in Sweden early on was conceptualized and made tangible, to a big diploma, by teenagers.

In contrast to their contemporaries who shaped bands hundreds of miles away like hardcore heroes Circle Jerks and Slayer, youngsters in Sweden had a tough time accessing musical leisure that wasn’t ABBA or ABBA-adjacent on the radio and TV within the 70’s up till the late 80s. Johannessen recollects any sort of musical leisure was scarce on SVT until about 1984 when the music video present Bagen (The Bag) launched. Radio fortunately provided extra options and selection. Lack of accessibility fueled the will to create a metallic scene in Sweden, not only together with technically proficient musicians devoted to the ethos of metallic in its darkest type, but in addition artists whose work would help further define the mystique of the scene, particularly ideas and pictures meant to encapsulate dying metallic. From Niflheim’s obsession with their do-it-yourself leather-based and spikes to the extremes Per Yngve Ohlin–aka Pelle/Lifeless of Morbid and Mayhem would subject himself so as to create his art, the motion was rife with subversive imagery and messages embraced with open arms by anybody prepared to receive its message.

As the title of this publish tells you, we’ll be specializing in the youngsters who ended up in bands similar to Entombed, Nifelheim, Heavy Load, and Morbid, bearing on some backstory to help shed a much-needed mild on the dedication it took to make Swedish heavy and demise metallic turn into a actuality. I imply, have been you breaking into slaughterhouses to select cow spines, pig heads, and entrails to place in a coffin at your bands next gig in the 80s? Have maggots ever rained down on you during a gig while the rusty ideas of your spiked armbands rip your flesh? No? Demise metallic bands within the U.S. weren’t hitting up butcher outlets for stage props, but they have been using imagery impressed by Satan, gore, and pain.

Before we get began a fast word; I don’t think about myself an professional as it pertains to my information of Swedish dying metallic. I simply know what I like, and Blood Hearth Demise is the last word gateway drug to turning into more enlightened concerning the seismic impression Sweden made to heavy metallic. Let’s roll.


The back of Nifelheim’s 1995 self-titled album.

“We’ll kill you in the event you do not like Iron Maiden because then you are a fucking wimp.”
–Erik “Tyrant” Gustafsson of Nifelheim

Shaped by twin brothers Pelle “Hellbutcher” Gustafsson and Erik “Tyrant” Gustafsson, visually Nifelheim has been described as a mashup of “Pinhead” (from the movie franchise Hellraiser) and a “psychotic biker risen from the depths of hell.” Within the words of Tyrant, “You will need to endure for metallic. It demands it” and the fact that Tyrant and his twin Hellbutcher make their gonzo Street-Warrior-gone-metal clothing themselves is just one of many ways the band attested to their “struggling” within the identify of dying metallic. Nifelheim produced only 4 albums, enjoying solely 100 exhibits over the course of almost three many years, and thus far they are one of the crucial revered black metallic bands hailing from Sweden. They are additionally thought-about two of probably the most dedicated followers of Iron Maiden. Proof of this was broadcast in a phase for Sveriges Television culminating with the brothers assembly their idols.

As youngsters, the twins would travel with their mother and father, looking for out document stores wherever they went and shortly each Erik and Pelle have been enjoying devices–Erik choosing up the bass like his hero Steve Harris. After shifting to Uddevalla to attend highschool, they might lastly join with different metalheads who introduced them to the magic of heavy metallic fanzines, and shortly thereafter have been in contact with youngsters identical to them everywhere in the country. With pig entrails, black leather and a few hundred spikes common from nails later,  Nifelheim came to be in 1990. Their most up-to-date release, 2014’s Satanatas, has been compared to early Bathory and rightly so–it’s that fucking good.

Nifelheim and their selfmade stage clothes. Damn.

“From Hell’s Vast Plains” a monitor from Nifelheim’s 2014 album, Satanatas.

Nihilist and Entombed

Leif Cuzner (left, Nihilist), Nicke Anderson (middle Nihilist/Entombed), and Daniel Strachal (Lobotomy) at a summer time camp in Dalarna within the mid-80s.

The typical age of members of Nihilist in 1987 was fifteen. Unique members Nicke Anderson and guitarist Leif Cuzner have been childhood buddies, and the two attended summer time camp collectively (within the common Dalarna county region of the Svealand province in Sweden) with one other future member of the black metallic group, Lobotomy drummer Daniel Strachal. The photograph of the trio (above) throwing up satan horns with Strachal sporting a W.A.S.P t-shirt could possibly be thought-about a heavy metallic crystal ball of types, considering the contributions and connections both Nihilist and Entombed made inside the genre. In accordance with an interview with Cuzner, after he moved to Canada they even shaped a band at summer time camp referred to as SONS OF SATAN, named in honor of the primary monitor on Venom’s 1981 debut, Welcome to Hell. As a result of in Sweden, even summer time camp is totally fucking metallic.

Guitarist Leif Cuzner of Nihilist as a young person.

Although Leif Cuzner was sadly not lengthy for this world (the progressive guitarist dedicated suicide in 2006), his “buzzsaw” method (additionally referred to as the “Swedish Dying Metallic Crunch”) set the black metallic benchmark for guitar sounds. I am no musician but I enjoying geeking out on gear and method, and Cuzner’s hallmark noise was achieved by combining B tuning and a Boss “Heavy Metallic” impact pedal, then cranking his Marshall stack up all the best way. Entombed vocalist LG Petrov performed the drums on Morbid’s demo December Moon and Nicke Andersson was deeply concerned in buying and selling cassettes and contributing articles and paintings to varied fanzines. Nihilist only lasted for 2 brief years, placing out a bunch of celebrated demos earlier than turning into Entombed sometime in 1989, releasing the album Left Hand Path (most members have been seventeen and eighteen-years-old now), and the report is considered probably the most defining contributions to the Swedish metallic scene.

An early shot of Nihilist.

A monitor from Nihilist’s 1988 demo Premature Post-mortem, “Sentenced to Dying.”

The title monitor from Entombed’s 1990 debut, “Left Hand Path.”

Heavy Load

Heavy Load circa 1982.

Heavy Load was began again within the late 70s by one other brother duo of Ragne Folke Herman Wahlquist and Stybjorn Wahlquist, along with bassist Michale Backlund. When the brothers have been seventeen, like all good metalheads they went to go to their grandmother (or Moremore as Nana’s are referred to in Sweden) in Norway where they listened to Deep Purple’s 1971 album Machine Head. Because of their impossibly cool Mormore, the boys would spend the subsequent two years listening to Machine Head till that they had saved enough money to buy Deep Purple’s 1972 stay album, Made in Japan and have been deadly critical about turning into a band themselves. Their first gig as Heavy Load occurred in 1976 for which they created an enormous drum riser product of wooden. Ragne additionally introduced six Marshall cupboards and four amps to the show noting on reflection the next:

“No one really wants six Marshall cupboards and four amps. However I needed it that approach. It was my thing.”

While we’re on the very metallic matter of Marshall amps, one other notable Swede, Leif Edling of Candlemass, acquired to see Heavy Load early on and stated unequivocally that the band was the nation’s first heavy metallic band. It was also the same time he had ever seen a band line your complete stage with a wall of Marshall stacks. With assistance from another deeply influential Stockholm-based useful resource (and a mecca for metalheads), document store Heavy Sound helped Heavy Load finance their first document, Full Velocity at High Degree (1978). The closing monitor on the album, “Son of Northern Mild,” might simply be handed off as an obscure, early jam from Metallica (assume “Hit the Lights”), despite the fact that Metallica would not be Metallica until 1981. 1981 was also the identical yr the Wahlquist brothers began their very own report label, Thunderload Data. Since I’ve established beforehand, I am a little bit of report art nerd, Heavy Load’s album paintings does not disappoint. A minimum of three of the band’s albums embrace fantasy paintings by mysterious Swedish artist, Johan Holm.

Paintings by Johan Holm for Heavy Load’s 1982 album Demise Or Glory.


A merch sheet sent out by Heavy Load’s Scandinavian fan club.

“Son of Northern Mild.”


Pelle Ohlin (right) and his younger brother Anders having breakfast together in 1983.

“He (Pelle Ohlin) is an icon, a type of Jim Morrison of black metallic. I consider anybody who’s in in the least enthusiastic about black metallic traces the genre back to him.”

–Erik Wallin of Swedish extreme metallic band Merciless.

In a incredible interview with Decibel, Ika Johannesson spoke a few notably poignant chapter in Blood Hearth Dying which focuses on Pelle Ohlin, aka Lifeless–the vocalist for Morbid, and later Norway band Mayhem. The acute metallic scene in Sweden had proliferated when Pelle took his life in 1991–and the surprising information (particularly in regards to the actions of Pelle’s Mayhem bandmate Øystein Aarseth following Pelle’s suicide) have been quickly joined by reviews of Norwegian church buildings being burned to the bottom by blood-thirsty Satanists. As famous in the guide, Erik Wallin’s feedback about Pelle are accurate, and Pelle’s contributions to the genre have lengthy been overshadowed by the sensational occasions which transpired following his demise on the age of 22. Actually, as Johannessen discovered, most of Ohlin’s Swedish buddies have been taken back by stories and “rumors” portrayed in numerous posthumous documentaries about Pelle and Mayhem, as well as books and other articles. This was not the Pelle they knew or had grown up with–an easygoing child who liked going to events together with his buddies who liked KISS, Venom, and horror movies.

Pelle Ohlin and Morbid bassist Jens Näsström.

Issues would change for Pelle in highschool the place he was mercilessly bullied and later so badly crushed by his classmates that he almost died. His mother and father acted shortly and enrolled Pelle in a brand new faculty where he would discover his tribe and type his first band Ohlin Metallic, ultimately dropping out of highschool to pursue music full time. Soon, Pelle would begin to domesticate his image with such excessive dedication he would, amongst different things, bury his garments with the carcasses of lifeless animals he had discovered for days earlier than a gig in order that they reeked with the stench of “decay.” Because of Johannessen’s tenacity and want to see Pelle’s story informed, Ohlin’s family and associates seem to lastly have some closure as it pertains to Pelle’s dying, that his influence on the style receives the credit it so rightfully deserves.

If in case you have not already, I extremely advocate choosing up a replica of Blood Hearth Dying, as this submit has merely scratched the floor of the vast floor coated by Johannessen and writer/Docenterna guitarist Jon Jefferson Klingberg in the seven years it took to finish their exhaustive, eloquent homage to a scene they have been very much part of. Lastly, if the title of the ebook reminds you of something, it should because it was borrowed from the title of Bathory’s fourth album of the same identify.

Pelle Ohlin on stage with Morbid.


Paintings by Kristian Wåhlin (aka the almighty Necrolord) for Morbid’s album December Moon, reissued within the 1990s.

“My Dark Subconscience” from December Moon.

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