MARDUK guitarist Morgan Håkansson recently spoke to the Chronicles of Chaos extreme music webzine about the group's new album, "Plague Angel", the band's recent lineup changes, and black metal as a whole, among other topics. A couple of excerpts from the interview follow:
Chronicles of Chaos: Leading into the recording of "Plague Angel", MARDUK went through some lineup changes. First of all, you brought in Mortuus to replace Legion on vocals, and then you had your bassist, B. War, leave the band as well. What sort of effect did this have on the eventual outcome of the new record?
Morgan Håkansson: "Well, the effect was really positive, I think. First of all, we brought the vocalist in to replace Legion, and he brings a new dimension to the music, because he uses his voice as more of an instrument and a vehicle than most vocalists, and that helps us do more mad and more morbid stuff. He also shows more devotion and more passion for the lyrical concept than Legion did, so we work together better as a unit. He wrote two songs worth of lyrics for the new album, and then I wrote the rest and he rearranged them, which is really fine with me, you know?! It works well. And when it comes to our bass player, getting Devo [Andersson] back — he used to be our guitar player between '92 and '94."
Chronicles of Chaos: He played on the first two albums, right?
Morgan Håkansson: "Yeah, and having him back a decade later; he's more focused and both he and Mortuus are driving forces in the band. Even our drummer, Emil [Dragutinovic], stepped up to the plate and wrote like three or four songs completely by himself for the new album. Everybody is taking part in the process now, and that's fine with me, if everyone wants to be driving forces in the band and everybody is working toward the same goal."
Chronicles of Chaos: Legion's departure obviously left you guys in a bit of a quandary at first, and you ended up having to cancel some of your appearances on the Blackest of the Black tour. What's the story behind his decision to quit the band?
Morgan Håkansson: "It's the same thing for both him and B. War: people change. He was in the band for over eight and a half years and B. War was in the band for twelve, and they have family and kids and just couldn't be 100 percent loyal to the band and maintain the level of focus and dedication that the band requires. So they had to step down, because it doesn't work that way with this band. You have to be with us 100 percent, because it takes a lot of time and energy. There are no bad feelings between any of us or any shit like that — we're still friends, or whatever you want to call it. We talk once in a while, but we don't really hang out. But it was just a natural thing to happen to this band."
Read Morgan Håkansson's entire interview with Chronicles of Chaos at this location.