Holland's Lords of Metal e-zine recently conducted an interview with UNLEASHED frontman Johnny Hedlund. A couple of excerpts from the question-and-answer session follow:
Lords of Metal: "Midvinterblot" [is] a great album. When did you start working on it and was it a difficult album to create?
Johnny: Thank you so much! No it wasn't very difficult….but we sure did put lots of work to it. Again we had more songs than ever to choose from and the working process has been spread out over about two years, so we sure did some serious thinking before putting the fifteen songs on the disc this time. We tried to get as much competition as possible within the band and as many strong songs as humanly possible in this period of time we had. I think personally we could easily have taken another five songs on this album and our fans would have enjoyed them too just as much.
Lords of Metal: What inspired you to write again this fast and aggressive music this time?
Johnny: Life and death and everything in between. We just said to ourselves, "Let's take this another step towards brutality and try to get an even more harsh and brutal production over all on this one compared to 'Sworn Allegiance' in 2004." Not an easy task but I think we have done just that. And it seems that everyone I speak about it agrees, so I should be so happy about it, of course.
Lords of Metal: Did the new contract with Steamhammer/SPV set free some extra motivation also?
Johnny: Yes, indeed it did. Not that it affected the production or any of the material at all. It would have been the exact same album regardless. But it sure as hell is a motivation generally to wake up in the morning knowing we have a strong partner that is into doing something extra with the band. And with such a professional crew too.
Lords of Metal: What can you tell us about the recordings? How did you manage to keep again that typical UNLEASHED sound? Is there a special secret?
Johnny: Our lead guitar player, Fredrik, is our engineer and producer on the last three records. No doubt he has developed himself into a fantastic producer and he knows his craft very well. Also the entire group have a vision on things and how we want to develop in the coming years, that helps out too naturally. All of us are very much in agreement of how things should be with the band. And that's on all departments such as music, lyrically, business wise etc.
Lords of Metal: It is time to get something straight now. The logo from UNLEASHED shows the Satanic cross. The band is known for its death metal and a lot of lyrics are about The Vikings. So, is UNLEASHED a black, death or Viking metal band?
Johnny: From day one, one cold and snowy day in November 1989 and for the next hundred years we have always been a death metal band. Call it "Swedish death metal," if you like, since it might be a question of style within the death metal community. The Viking lyrics you will find on about three to five songs on every UNLEASHED album from 1991 and on. I don't think that fact alone re-defines our style in some way.
Lords of Metal: To support the album there will be a great tour in November with ENTOMBED, GRAVE and also DISMEMBER. How became this package reality? Did somebody just call somebody or what happened?
Johnny: We meet at parties, football games and club shows all the time and have been friends since the mid-Eighties. So we have had this idea for some time only it's hard to get all these bands on the same schedule really. Finally we said let's get this happening once and for all. So a little determination there made it happen!
Lords of Metal: What are the three best death metal albums of all time according to you?
Johnny: Damn, I hate to pick only three and I am pretty sure you don't want me to pick my own huh. But okay, since you ask for it: DEATH – "Scream Bloody Gore", MORBID ANGEL – "Altars Of Madness" and ENTOMBED – "Left Hand Path".
Read the entire interview at www.lordsofmetal.nl.