Blood Fire Death Books death metal Editorials entombed Essential Black Metal Listening Heavy Load Ika Johannessen Jon Jefferson Klingberg morbid Niflheim nihilist sweden

The Pioneering Teenagers Who Helped Create The Swedish Heavy Metal Story

The Pioneering Teenagers Who Helped Create The Swedish Heavy Metal Story

“I used to be about seven or eight once I began listening to my Dad’s cassettes, he had lots of by the late 70s. He all the time like Motörhead particularly the music “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 used to be initially drawn to the metallic cassettes due to their covers and spent numerous time gazing at his vinyl assortment, particularly the duvet of Lene Lovich’s album Flex and the cranium on the duvet of Oxygene in Amsterdam by Jean-Michel Jarre. It was a sheer luxurious to have as a toddler, one thing I noticed as I obtained older.”

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

Lengthy earlier than the band Europe put Sweden on the map in 1982, youngsters in Sweden have been already busy cultivating their very own heavy metallic scene. Youngsters would journey to Stockholm to purchase problems with Kerrang!, sharing demo tapes, and forming bands whose members would typically rotate in-and-out of different bands communally. Viking bands like Heavy Load (shaped in 1978), Bathory (1983), and Nihilist (1987, later Entombed) have been a formative a part of the early days of Swedish heavy metallic and the emergence of Swedish-styled demise metallic. Within the newly up to date guide by scene veterans Ika Johannesson and Jon Jefferson Klingberg, Blood Hearth Demise: The Swedish Heavy Metallic Story, the authors have mapped out a transparent trajectory of how teenagers from throughout the nation got here to efficiently mix the fuck off fervor of punk rock with the then rising wails of demise 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 demise metallic, and what occurred in Sweden early on was conceptualized and made tangible, to a big diploma, by youngsters.

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 type of musical leisure was scarce in SVT till about 1984 when the music video present Bagen (The Bag) launched. Radio fortunately provided extra choices and selection. Lack of accessibility fueled the will to create a metallic scene in Sweden, not solely together with technically proficient musicians devoted to the ethos of metallic in its darkest type, but in addition artists whose work would assist additional outline 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 topic himself to be able to create his artwork, the motion was rife with subversive imagery and messages embraced with open arms by anybody prepared to obtain its message.

Because the title of this publish tells you, we’ll be specializing in the youngsters who ended up in bands corresponding to Entombed, Nifelheim, Heavy Load, and Morbid, concerning some backstory to assist shed a much-needed mild on the dedication it took to make Swedish heavy and demise metallic develop 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 subsequent gig within the 80s? Have maggots ever rained down on you throughout a gig whereas the rusty ideas of your spiked armbands rip your flesh? No? Dying metallic bands within the U.S. weren’t hitting up butcher outlets for stage props, however they have been using imagery impressed by Devil, gore, and ache.

Earlier than we get began a fast word; I don’t think about myself an skilled because 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 extra enlightened concerning the seismic influence Sweden made to heavy metallic. Let’s roll.


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

“We’ll kill you when you do not like Iron Maiden as a result of then you’re 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 phrases of Tyrant, “You need to endure for metallic. It calls for it” and the truth that Tyrant and his twin Hellbutcher make their gonzo Street-Warrior-gone-metal clothes themselves is simply one of many methods the band attested to their “struggling” within the identify of dying metallic. Nifelheim produced solely 4 albums, enjoying solely 100 exhibits over the course of almost three many years, and thus far they’re some of the revered black metallic bands hailing from Sweden. They’re additionally thought-about two of probably the most devoted followers of Iron Maiden. Proof of this was broadcast in a phase for Sveriges Tv culminating with the brothers assembly their idols.

As youngsters, the twins would journey with their mother and father, in search of out document shops 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 launched them to the magic of heavy metallic fanzines, and shortly thereafter have been in contact with youngsters identical to them everywhere in the nation. With pig entrails, black leather-based and some hundred spikes common from nails later,  Nifelheim got here to be in 1990. Their most up-to-date launch, 2014’s Satanatas, has been in comparison with early Bathory and rightly so–it is that fucking good.

Nifelheim and their do-it-yourself stage clothes. Rattling.

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

Nihilist and Entombed

Leif Cuzner (left, Nihilist), Nicke Anderson (center 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 pals, and the 2 attended summer time camp collectively (within the fashionable Dalarna county area 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 might be thought-about a heavy metallic crystal ball of types, contemplating the contributions and connections each Nihilist and Entombed made inside the style. 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 an adolescent.

Although Leif Cuzner was sadly not lengthy for this world (the revolutionary guitarist dedicated suicide in 2006), his “buzzsaw” method (additionally known as the “Swedish Demise Metallic Crunch”) set the black metallic benchmark for guitar sounds. I am no musician however I having fun with 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 solely lasted for 2 brief years, placing out a bunch of celebrated demos earlier than turning into Entombed someday in 1989, releasing the album Left Hand Path (most members have been seventeen and eighteen-years-old now), and the report is taken into account one of the defining contributions to the Swedish metallic scene.

An early shot of Nihilist.

A monitor from Nihilist’s 1988 demo Untimely 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, together 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 the place 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 sufficient cash to purchase Deep Purple’s 1972 stay album, Made in Japan and have been lethal critical about turning into a band themselves. Their first gig as Heavy Load happened in 1976 for which they created an enormous drum riser manufactured from wooden. Ragne additionally introduced six Marshall cupboards and 4 amps to the present noting on reflection the next:

“No one actually wants six Marshall cupboards and 4 amps. However I needed it that means. It was my factor.”

Whereas we’re on the very metallic matter of Marshall amps, one other notable Swede, Leif Edling of Candlemass, received to see Heavy Load early on and stated unequivocally that the band was the nation’s first heavy metallic band. It was additionally the identical time he had ever seen a band line the whole stage with a wall of Marshall stacks. With help from one other 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 Excessive 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 till 1981. 1981 was additionally the identical yr the Wahlquist brothers began their very own report label, Thunderload Data. Since I’ve established beforehand, I’m a little bit of document artwork nerd, Heavy Load’s album paintings doesn’t disappoint. At the very least 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 Dying Or Glory.


A merch sheet despatched out by Heavy Load’s Scandinavian fan membership.

“Son of Northern Mild.”


Pelle Ohlin (proper) and his youthful brother Anders having breakfast collectively 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 considering black metallic traces the style again to him.”

–Erik Wallin of Swedish excessive metallic band Cruel.

In a implausible 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 within the e-book, Erik Wallin’s feedback about Pelle are correct, and Pelle’s contributions to the style have lengthy been overshadowed by the sensational occasions which transpired following his dying on the age of 22. In truth, as Johannessen discovered, most of Ohlin’s Swedish pals have been taken again by tales and “rumors” portrayed in numerous posthumous documentaries about Pelle and Mayhem, in addition to books and different articles. This was not the Pelle they knew or had grown up with–an easygoing child who beloved going to events together with his pals 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 the place he would discover his tribe and type his first band Ohlin Metallic, ultimately dropping out of highschool to pursue music full time. Quickly, Pelle would begin to domesticate his picture with such excessive dedication he would, amongst different issues, 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 household and associates appear to lastly have some closure because it pertains to Pelle’s demise, that his influence on the style receives the credit score it so rightfully deserves.

When you’ve got not already, I extremely advocate choosing up a replica of Blood Hearth Demise, as this submit has merely scratched the floor of the huge floor coated by Johannessen and author/Docenterna drummer Jon Jefferson Klingberg within the seven years it took to finish their exhaustive, eloquent homage to a scene they have been very a lot part of. Lastly, if the title of the guide reminds you of one thing, it ought to because it was borrowed from the title of Bathory’s fourth album of the identical identify.

Pelle Ohlin on stage with Morbid.


Paintings by Kristian Wåhlin (aka the almighty Necrolord) for Morbid’s album December Moon. If my math is right, Wåhlin was about sixteen on the time.

“My Darkish Subconscience” from December Moon.

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