Living Forever
CoC sits down with Pontus from Miasmal
by: Johnathan A. Carbon
Rising out of the bogs of Gothenburg, Sweden, Miasmal has arrived with their debut self-titled offering, which is nothing less than a whiplash of old-school Swedish death. Before their gigantic US tour, guitarist and vocalist Pontus discusses the album, Sweden's metal history and the quest for immortality.

CoC: Your sound, while very death metal(ish), seems to be also very influenced by punk rock. Do you acknowledge any strong influences from punk, blackened crust or Swedish D- beat?

Pontus: Stuff like early Disfear and Anti Cimex is an influence indeed. Those bands really know how to make a three-chord riff sound completely pulverizing and captivating. Actually I think stuff like Discharge has been in the backbone of Swedish death metal since the beginning. When it comes to making hard-hitting music, the less is more approach is something that I feel is very important.

CoC: How has the reception in Gothenburg been towards the very raw approach that you present? Is Gothenburg still pro-melodic death or has that scene faded?

P: I don't really know. Bands who are the flag-bearers of the "Gothenburg Sound" are mostly more popular outside of Sweden, I think. The Gothenburg vs. Stockholm I think was relevant twenty years ago, but now I don't think it matters. I have never even heard In Flames and the likes.

CoC: Was there a conscious decision to "bury the sound" for your debut as compared to your EP and demo? Was this a product of the recording process? Are you happier with the fuller, more earthy sound?

P: The production might be a reaction to the tendencies in metal productions that I'm bothered with. We wanted the bass to actually sound like a bass, for example. You know, like when you're playing in the rehearsal room or live. I felt that the EP sounded a little "hollow" perhaps. However, I mostly tried to let the atmosphere within the songs guide the mixing and production, and I think it turned out well. This was not really a product of the recording process, however we really paid attention to the guitar sound. We wanted the guitars to be bigger and uglier this time.

CoC: Your self-titled debut comes packed with the record as well as your first demo and EP. Did you view these two entities as standalone releases rather than sketches for your first release?

P: Standalone releases for sure. We never wanted or intended to re-record those songs, they are already done and done with.

CoC: Care to illuminate the lyrical backbone of Miasmal? Your name certainly reflects death and destruction, but your song titles seem to deviate from the rotting stench of most death metal.

P: I do enjoy a good zombie or horror movie, but those themes has never felt natural for me to write about. For this new record, it struck me after writing the lyrics that through a lot of the songs, there was a common theme of apocalypse present. I feel it's hard not to get affected by the feeling of impending doom around us. This I guess got me thinking about ways to prevail in the apocalypse, and most of the ideas weren't very "humane". Mutation, chemically or alchemically altering the world, our surroundings or ourselves. The answer is inhumane, which is ironic because of the fact that it's human failure and the human condition that is responsible for the situation in the first place. If anyone is interested in reading the lyrics, check out www.miasmal.net -- we just launched the site and all the lyrics are there.

CoC: "We Will Live Forever" has a more optimistic tone than most. Is this song about zombies or have you found the secret of immortality?

P: This touches more than most of the songs on the themes I wrote on in the previous answer. The bliss of finding immortality, to prevail. Something humans have sought after, researched and been obsessed with for a long, long time. Is it hell or heaven? What the fuck do I know, and do I want to know? Also the song is about revenge on humanity. Evolve and strike.

CoC: Favorite Swedish death record?

P: Entombed - _Left Hand Path_.

CoC: Most underrated Swedish death record?

P: I feel Cemetery's first album, _An Evil Shade of Grey_, should get more recognition. On that album, they successfully managed to incorporate some doom 'n' gloom in the Swe-death style while losing none of the heaviness and brutality. The production is a bit so-so and that might detract from the listening experience, but try to look past that and listen to the songs instead.

CoC: Beginning in May, you are embarking on a lengthy United States tour including a stop at Maryland Death Fest. Is this the first time in America with a band? Any places you are looking forward to playing? Any bands at Maryland Death Fest you look forward to seeing?

P: I did a US west coast tour with my other band Agrimonia last summer. We had a great time, so I have nothing but high expectations. People were very friendly and supportive. I'm looking forward to see all those cities of course. And those festivals will be killer for sure. Lots of good stuff at MDF; Neurosis, Voivod, Doom, Funebrarum, Bastard Noise, etc. We're also playing Chaos in Tejas where I will get to see Autopsy again, and Killing Joke!

CoC: It seems that you have just gotten started. What are your 2011 plans after your non-stop one month tour?

P: We plan to do a mini-tour in the UK later in the summer, that's about it so far, but most likely to change! Thanks for the interview. Cheers!

(article submitted 5/15/2011)


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