One Man Army | Interview with Johan Lindstrand

[One Man Army]

After almost three years in torpor, Swedes One Man Army and the Undead Quartet emerge with a new album entitled “The Dark Epic” that shows a reinvigorated group determined to make up for the lost time. Below, vocalist Johan Lindstrand fills in the details behind the making of their latest work.

So why did it take the band three years to follow up your third full-length “Grim Tales”, I understand that the departure of long time guitarist Mikael Lagerblad in early 2009 was one of the major setbacks right?

“Yeah it was. He left us back in 2009 after the last tour for ‘Grim Tales’. He was one of the main songwriters so it kinda slowed down the machine for a while. But during Mikael’s final months I wrote “Inside the head of God” and recorded it at his house ‘cause I wanted to get on with the 4th album straight away after the touring was done. But when all this happened everything was just put to rest and now when looking back at it this was the best that could happen album-wise ‘cause we had a lot of time to figure out what we wanted to do and also having a new guy in the process also took more time. But as I said, this has definitely been a winning situation in the long run for this band.”

And did the loss of one of the principle composers within One Man Army affected the song-writing process, or it was motivating factor for the remaining members to top themselves?

“The writing process was kind of unique this time. I only wrote one song while the new guy Jonas Blom wrote the rest. We really didn’t know how it would turn out but after a while when more and more songs started to come up we realized that we had some really cool stuff here and we all helped out pretty much in the rehearsal room to get 110% out of each song.”

As for the new album, the first thing that stands out for me is how dark it is and how it sounds heavier than the last one. Was that your intention all along, to morph into a more brutal and darker direction?

“Well, we really wanted to have a change both visually and musically since this whole thing felt like a new fresh start for us. We had lost our longtime member Mikael and with him there was a lot of melodic stuff. Now we wanted to go even more back to the roots and make a true death metal album with more aggression than before. Like the extreme music I started to listen to when getting into death/thrash back in 1987/1988. We knew very early what kind of music Jonas wrote and he had like 12-13 songs to chose from in the end and we kinda took the best of the best and put a little cream on them and made something different compared to our previous work. This was something that had to be done ‘cause I was kinda bored with the classic concept of before. A standard typical 4 minute song that hooks you immediately wasn’t part of plan this time. We wanted something more advanced and there you have The Dark Epic…”

What does new guitarist Jonas Blom bring to the table, did he had a hand in the writing of the new record “The Dark Epic”?

“Yeah, as I said earlier. He has written tons of material for this album and it feels really good ‘cause a new energy has been brought onto the table. We had a standard routine that often comes after a few years and we really didn’t create anything interesting as far as I’m concerned even if I’m proud of all our work. We did solid music before but now when having all the proper gear in hand we can now create stuff beyond the barriers. Jonas is a true death/thrash metal guitarist and knows how to create wicked songs that stands out. Mikael wasn’t true to the genre even if he wrote good songs. He wasn’t meant to be in a death metal band but I wish him good luck and although he decided to leave we will have a special bond forever because of the music history we’ve made in the past.”

What do you like about working with Jonas Kjellgren (SCAR SYMMETRY, CARNAL FORGE)? This is your second straight album with him producing.

“It’s great to work with Jonas. Always a relaxed environment which makes the process very smooth. You never get that much pressure and still he gets the best out of you so it’s been a cool ride both of the times but this time I think the sound fits the music better than on Grim Tales. Now there’s more of a live feeling. A much more aggressive sound cause on GT I think it sounded too good and too clean to be a death metal album. But I don’t know where the next album will bring us.”

What sort of themes do you address in your lyrics? The song titles seem mostly sinister and perverse, especially the last one “How I Love To Kill You”?

“This time the lyrics are more straight-on. Earlier I sometimes put some dark humor in the whole thing but now there’s only darkness minus humor, hehe. There are all kinds of shit dealt with on this new album. I mix a lot of reality and fiction to get a good soup. There are some psychological nightmares as well as my version on the Jeffrey Dahmer incident. And the last one pretty much deals with sickness and how a deadly virus evolves within a person. I think a good title is as important as the rest of the lyrical content. That’s the first you read and if you get a boner out of the title then you probably reach climax after hearing the rest. That’s my philosophy anyway.”

Are you going to tour ambitiously in support of this new album or are you sort of past the point in your lives where you can’t stay away from your families and jobs for too long?

“We will try to get as much shows as possible in order to promote this great album but yes, we do have other lives as well and sometimes it’s hard to get everything in place. You must also remember that I’ve done this for 21 years now and I haven’t earned shit from it so I really think twice before heading out for a month without no guarantees. But the bottom line is. We have an awesome album and we want to push this as much as possible so hopefully some touring soon.”
David Alexandre

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