Militia of Cake
Sweden's Antichrist are not only one of the finest thrash metal acts in the world today, but over the course of their existence they've also been the most difficult thrash metal band in the world to track down, mainly due to their refusal to exist on the internet. When regular AFITFOG mixmaker Fenriz tipped me off about them back in 2009, I ordered their Crushing Metal Tape demo, but it wasn't until I got hold of their second demo last year that the obsession began.
I originally tried to contact them via the address in the first demo in order to obtain the second, but got no reply. Noticing a different email address in the second demo, which I finally tracked down, I tried again and again got no reply. Then eventually when they did respond, I sent questions, but they didn't reply to them. So, I decided to take the law into my own hands and went to Gothenburg last weekend to see them play an insane show at their album launch party at Truckstop Alaska, a crazy little venue in an industrial area of Gothenburg whose clientele looked like the band shots of every good 80s metal record there is.
I sat down with band members Sven, Anton—above, after face-planting into their cake – yes, elusive thrash metal bands eat cake too—and Gabbe some time in the day leading up to this while they were busy setting up the stage and smoking a lot of weed.
AFITFOG: So, tell me how Antichrist were formed.
Sven: We met at a Destruction concert at a festival in Sweden called Gates Of Metal. That's when me and Steken [Anton, the singer] decided to start a band – a thrash metal band – cos this is what we were listening to at the time.
What year was this?
Sven: 2005, I think. It was a very messy show, but it was a very good show either way. So we decided to start a speed/thrash metal band, but we were both drummers so we didn't know what to do. We decided if we ever found a guitarist that I would do the drums and he would do the vocals. Then we met Gobbe, I already knew Filip from school – me and him were playing in a band called Eviscerated, Gabbe joined Eviscerated, and after that we decided to start Antichrist. This was probably 2007. In 2008, we recorded Crushing Metal Tape and in 2009 we released it.
Anton: This was around the time of the first Muskelrock. I don't think we sold anything 'til Muskelrock. We had it recorded but were like, "What will we do with it now?"
Sven: Also, we in Eviscerated had recorded some material back in 2007 as well that never was released due to some problems with the recording and shit and this led to the band collapsing. Blood Harvest was gonna release it but they didn't like the down-tuned guitars/production, even though it was supposed to sound like that. This all lead to the death of Eviscerated, so we concentrated on Antichrist instead. Weirdly, though, Rodrigo at Blood Harvest released the first Antichrist tape on Zombie Ritual Tapes. We also sent it to the Hellish Crossfire guys and they sent it to their friend Melle, who has this little label called Home Taping Cruelties and he said he wanted to release it as well. He knew Steffen from High Rollers, who eventually signed us.
Gabbe: He [Melle] really helped us a lot, he is very dedicated.
Sven: He also wants to release this lost Eviscerated demo too, which is probably something we should do anyway.
Was the popularity of the demo the reason you recorded the second demo, Put To Death?
Sven: Yeah, kinda. At the first gig when we were selling the demos, we had some new songs. People hadn't even heard the songs from the first demo and yet we were playing stuff from the second demo. No one had heard of us but we had two demos out, haha.
But they old sold out, right, with two pressings of each?
Sven: Yeah, there's two pressing of each. [This leads to much debate between the three band members, to which an answer is not known how many pressings of each demo] Basically, we don't really know how many there is, of each edition, etc.
How was Raging Death festival?
Sven: It was okay. It was cold. We slept in a fucking basement with cockroaches, piss on the mattresses, sperm on the mattresses, haha, shit everywhere. It was really fucking disgusting, haha. It was so cold and everyone got sick.
Anton: The day after, when Morbid Insulter arrived to the basement, I had pissed in, like, a paper bag and there was piss everywhere.
Sven: There was beer everywhere too, we were drinking like hell.
Anton: They were just like "Oh fuck". They couldn't sleep there because of us.
Sven: It was truly disgusting before we got there anyway.
Who did the drawings on the demo covers, inlays, shirts, etc?
Gabbe: His name is David Herrerías, he's from Mexico but lives in Gothenburg. He's an insane guy but a great artist.
Let's talk about the record then. How was the recording of it?
Sven: The production is "the way it is". We had a lot of problems with the technology in the studio, ha.
Anton: Killing technology!
Sven: I don't know how it got to sound how it does, but we got to a point where we had to decide on the sound cause we had too many sounds in mind.
Nah, it sounds great. Did you have an album in mind that you wanted the sound to relate to?
Sven: I think the problem was that we had so many albums in mind.
Sven: Every thrash metal album? Haha.
Gabbe: Stuff like Beyond The Gates and Kill 'Em All.
Sven: Also Ride The Lightning. At first, we wanted that kind of production – really fucking dark and heavy. But then, we started leaning towards this really weird Beyond The Gates production. I think we are really happy with the sound now.
Gabbe: We used some really weird stuff when recording. We used my Soviet amp, it has a special sound.
Sven: For this recording it was the first time we were able to do exactly what we wanted. Even if we had problems, the demos were way more low-budget.
Gabbe: When we were recording the first demo we just took the first sound we got, we didn't have a clue. We just recorded it in our rehearsal place, a very small basement at a friend's apartment.
Let's talk about the cover art of Forbidden World. It's handpainted, right?
Gabbe: Yeah, no stupid computers.
Sven: A friend of ours, Chris, who is guitarist of Eviscerated, painted it. It is huge, like 1.5 metres wide. An oil painting probably? So if you look at the vinyl you can probably see some brushstrokes.
Gabbe: I saw on the internet, when the artwork was released, that some people we like, "It's a shame, they must've used a computer", or something, ha ha.
Was it inspired by anything in particular?
Sven: Movies and other covers, I guess.
Gabbe: We wanted it to look like a cheap 80s cover.
Sven: Like a lot of stuff on that Mausoleum label.
Anton: Meat Loaf!
What about the logo change?
Sven: We had a friend make us a logo that we thought would look cool in 3D, cos we knew that hand would be grabbing the logo. I think we'll have a handpainted logo on every album. Maybe they'll look the same, maybe they'll be different.
What about Live Evil festival?
Gabbe: It is gonna be great, we can't wait.
Sven: Everyone who went last year said it was a great fucking festival, a lot of fun.
Anton: Most of the bands are from Norway or Sweden and we all pretty much know each other.
Sven: Yeah, so it's gonna be like big family, haha. We don't really intend to sleep, so some shit is gonna happen!
It will be killer, for sure. I like the website, by the way.
Sven: Informative and simple. Anton made it.
Anton: I couldn't do better, so… Haha.
So, how come no MySpace?
Gabbe: You get spam all the time, it's really difficult to actually do something on there, and everyone is trying to be friends with everyone and people are saying shit like, "wish you a rocking weekend", etc. It's lame.
Anton: The sound quality is terrible too. Worse than YouTube.
Have you started writing any new material yet?
Sven: We are writing some stuff yeah, maybe for an EP. We are talking about doing some mini-compilation, I guess. We haven't really spoken to everyone yet, but maybe with the Death Storm dudes.
So what about your other bands then?
Gabbe: For a pretty long period of time now we have been busy with Antichrist, but maybe if we have time we will see.
Anton: It takes time to record a demo with a side project, you know.
You got a tour lined up?
Gabbe: We want to, of course.
Sven: We may just buy a bus and book our own tour. Some friends of ours are in a grind band and they go away for weeks, months on end, booking their own shows. We want to play live, a lot.
Gabbe: That's the main reason we have a band, we love to play live.
Sven: It's always a blast! Free beer? Hell yeah.
Antichrist's Forbidden World is out Friday on vinyl and CD from High Rollers Records. It is easily my album of the year so far, so go buy it and come see them play at Live Evil the weekend after next or perish in flames. The choice is a simple one.
Don't forget the pre-show too at our own Old Blue Last next Friday. It is going to be 1986 in there.