Growth Through Experience
CoC talks to Nils Eriksson of Nocturnal Rites
by: Adrian Bromley
There are very few bands out there nowadays that have the momentum to produce consecutive solid albums. Swedish power metal sextet Nocturnal Rites have been pretty lucky over the last few years, issuing forth three powerful records, one after another. The momentum began with 1999's breathtaking _The Sacred Talisman_, carried through with 2000's strong _Afterlife_ and now finds the band in 2002 with the triumphant _Shadowland_. What is the secret? Bassist Nils Eriksson talks to Chronicles of Chaos about the music, the creativity and the emotions that run wild and free in Nocturnal Rites. Their heavy metal passion runs deep!

"The great thing about us is that we are always growing with our sound", starts the bassist. "If you play back the last few albums, which I love all the same, you can really hear the difference in our music. A gradual evolution of the sound of Nocturnal Rites. I think we [the band is rounded out by vocalist Jonny Lindkvist, guitarists Nils Norberg and Fredrik Mannberg, drummer Owe Lingvall and keyboardist Mattias Bernhardsson -- Adrian] always make an effort to, not really go out and do it, but maybe subconsciously, try to make each album stand out on its own and offer something new but still sound like us."

You don't want to change too much, eh? "Yeah", says Eriksson. "We have a really good style and there is only so much we do and evolve before it gets away from you and won't fit into the music people like us to play."

And do you enjoy the recording process or is it something very intimidating each time out? "Recording an album is something I don't find to be too fun", notes Eriksson. "Sometimes it is okay, but it can be very stressful. I mean, we love to work on the album, but the finished product is what we look forward to, and being able to take that new material out on the road with us."

"The thing about every new album is that you basically have to start from scratch. I mean, you have a general idea of where things are with the band and sound, but you need to expand on that and that is the difficult task sometimes. We never really look back at what we have done once we start writing and working on a new album. We need to just put our heads down and write what is coming from our heart and hopefully we can capture those emotions on disc."

He adds, "I think a lot of bands out there look back at what they did with their last recording and try to recreate the emotions and ideas. We don't care how it turns out; as long as it has the Nocturnal Rites' sound to it, we are happy."

Are there certain things you try to avoid in the studio? "There are lots of bands who try to do all of these fancy things in the studios and try new techniques and new ideas and we aren't like that at all. We just sit down, write music and record it. It would be difficult for us to actually try to come up with all of these other ideas and try to make it work together when we already have a simple technique of assembling songs."

For the first time in their career, Nocturnal Rites worked on _Shadowland_ with producer Daniel Bergstrand (Meshuggah, Strapping Young Lad, Stuck Mojo) at Dug-Out Studios. He is a great producer. That must have been an experience? "Yeah, he was a lot of fun to work with", states the bassist. "He really helped add a nice sound to our music. We've done all of our previous albums in our hometown (Umea, Sweden) and we just needed a change and needed to get out of this crappy city to record _Shadowland_ in Uppsala, Sweden with Daniel. We tried everything we could here at home and just needed some new ideas to bring to the band."

"He was really excited about working with us, just as we were about working with him. He came up to talk with us about the new album and right away we knew he was the right guy to work with. He had a lot of great ideas to help further the sound and power of Nocturnal Rites' music."

"Recording this album -- other than the new city and producer -- was pretty much the same as it has always been for us. We really didn't have much time to any thing else in the new surroundings other than concentrate 100% on finishing up the album in the allotted time."

What reaction did Eriksson have to _Shadowland_ when he played it back the first time? "I felt really good about the album when I heard it. For the first time with any of our recordings I could sit back and listen to an album all the way through and be really into it. I think that we did a really good job of creating an album that offers up a lot of variety. Not one song on the album sounds like another and by having the album assembled like that we are able to bring about a lot of different moods and emotions within our music. I think people expect most albums to have variety, but that isn't always the case with new releases. I am proud to say that every song on _Shadowland_ sounds new and fresh and I love it."

And how does he want the Nocturnal Rites' fans to react to the new disc? He finishes, "I just want them to be really excited about the new album and be really into like we all are. I think the music, the power and the production of the album will blow people away. I think it is easily our strongest and most complete Nocturnal Rites album to date. Enjoy!"

(article submitted 1/9/2002)

6/15/1999 A Bromley Nocturnal Rites: Nightly Nastiness
6/7/1998 A Bromley Nocturnal Rites: Retro Metal For the Masses
12/7/2005 A McKay 8.5 Nocturnal Rites - Grand Illusions
10/25/2000 A Bromley 6 Nocturnal Rites - Afterlife
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