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Interview: Miasmal

Photo by Christina Blom

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Miasmal create old school Swedish death metal that bursts with energy.  Their demo (downloadable here) reminds me of “Override of the Overture”, one of my favorite Swedish death metal songs, from Dismember’s Like an Ever-Flowing Stream, one of my favorite Swedish death metal records. The similarity lies in the way that both bands craft their riffs. Hammer-ons and pull-offs carry the melodies before resolving through tremolo picking or rhythmic power chords. When I say melody, I’m not talking about some In Flames bullshit.  I’m talking about being recognizable, memorable, and arranged into cohesive narrative structures.  Pontus (guitarist/vocalist) took time out to deliver some thoughts about his band.

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Given your “old school” sound, are you paying tribute to the greats, or are you creating something new?

Our sound is rooted in the old school sound, since that’s what we enjoy most in death metal. [That’s] re-inventing the wheel, some perhaps would say, but I don’t think originality is important at all, especially in metal. A good song is a good song, and that’s it.

Did your style of metal begin as a concept, or is it something that grew organically?

Yes, it was definitely a concept from the beginning. I’m already in two other bands called Agrimonia and Martyrdöd, which play other styles. I guess it was an urge for death metal [that] started this band. Me and Magnus (other guitarist) were listening to the latest Entombed album, and we both said, “Why can’t the whole record sound like the first track?”

Do you have an agenda in your music?

We have no agenda in our music at all. That being said, personally I hold the belief that you should be able to do what the fuck you like (using common sense) without being harassed by self-proclaimed harder-than-thou metal guys.

When writing, are you primarily concerned with song structure? Riffs? Overall feel?

Overall feel, definitely. The riffs and structures are there to serve the song.


How do you view your place in the current metal underground?

Miasmal has found its place in the metal scene on a level I’m completely satisfied with. It’s obviously a different climate today compared to 20 years ago. It’s easier to check out unreleased music and form a label thanks to [the] Internet. Communication is fast and cheap.

That being said, I guess it’s too easy to upload your first rehearsal boombox recording on MySpace. I also believe people are getting tired of the “use once than discard” mentality today with millions of MP3 files on the computer, and are getting interested again in physical formats like demo tapes. Still, it can never be the same as it was, since trading tapes is something you do by choice today, not because it’s the only way to get to know new music.


What separates music that is worth listening to from that which is not?

It’s all in the ears of the listener. If you’re interested in all music, everything is worth listening to. However, since these days you can reach out with your music with a minimal amount of effort, I sometimes feel that some bands should put more time into what they’re doing instead of flooding the Internet with sloppy rehearsal recordings.

Top five records? Top five metal records?

I can’t decide on a set top list, since that changes all the time depending on what mood I’m in. But here’s a couple awesome records right off the top of my head:

METAL:
Bolt Thrower – For Victory
Entombed – Left Hand Path
Autopsy – Mental Funeral
Bathory – Under the Sign of the Black Mark
Celtic Frost – To Mega Therion

OTHER STUFF:
AC/DC – Powerage
PJ Harvey – To Bring You My Love
Sisters of Mercy – Floodland
Stooges – Funhouse
Killing Joke – 2003 S/T

Do you consider yourself a “metal musician” or a “musician” in a broader sense?

Never really thought about it.  I guess most of what I’m playing relates to some kind of metal, but that’s mostly because it’s what I do best. I also enjoy making softer sounds, but it’s nothing for Miasmal.

Why do you play metal?

I play metal because it’s just so fucking good. A gut feeling, really.

Last words?

Thanks a lot for the interview! Our self-titled 7″ should be out in April on Detest Records / Me Saco Un Ojo Records.  Cheers!

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