a virtue, especially for fans of the Swedish band WITCHERY. This
band’s previous album ‘Don’t Fear The Reaper’ was released back in 2006
and so it took the band approximately four years to complete their new
album ‘Witchkrieg’. The new opus was released through Century Media
Records and has been available in the stores since June 21.
is a Swedish thrash metal band, formed by former members of Satanic
Slaughter in 1997. The current lineup consists of vocalist Legion (ex-Marduk,
ex-Devian), guitarists Patrik Jensen and Rickard "Richard Corpse"
Rimfält, bassist Sharlee D'Angelo, and drummer Martin Axenrot. To date,
the band has released four full-length studio albums and an EP. It all
began in 1997 when Swedish cult band Satanic Slaughter split up in a way
that basically only left their singer Ztephan Dark in the band. Thus the
proto-version of Witchery started out with Satanic Slaughter members
Patrik Jensen (Orchriste, The Haunted), Rickard Rimfält (aka Richard
Corpse), vocalist Toxine (Seance, Total Death), drummer Mique (Seance),
and bassist Sharlee D'Angelo (Arch Enemy, Mercyful Fate) on board. In
1998 they recorded and released their debut ‘Restless And Dead’.
Witchery quickly gathered a cult following with their combination of
serious, technical thrash metal and all topics "dead". Their strictly
tongue-in-cheek humour, often involving executions, murder, necrophilia,
resurrections and other morbid topics can be spotted in song titles and
album names as well as in their very own mascot - an animated skeleton
called "Ben Wrangle", the name being a pun on the Swedish word "benrangel"
which best translates into "skellington".
released the ‘Witchburner’ minialbum. The EP featured three originals
and four cover songs bearing witness to the individual musicians’
influences, among them Accept, W.A.S.P and Judas Priest. In the same
year, Witchery embarked on a U.S. tour with Emperor and Borknagar. Their
second full-length album ‘Dead, Hot and Ready’ was unleashed soon
thereafter, a six-week European tour followed in 2000. ‘Symphony For The
Devil,’ the band’s 2001 release, was recorded at Berno Studio (Amon
Amarth, Dark Funeral) in Malmö, Sweden with new drummer Martin “Axe”
Axenrot (Bloodbath, Opeth). Witchery returned to tour North America
later that year with The Haunted. Returning to Berno Studios in 2004,
the band recorded ‘Don’t Fear The Reaper’, this time entrusting mixing
duties to Tue Madsen and his Antfarm Studios (The Haunted, Heaven Shall
Burn, Himsa). After recording the album, the band signed a worldwide
record deal with Century Media.
In April 2010,
accomplished black metal singer Legion (Erik Hagsted, ex-Marduk, ex-Devian)
joined the band to replace Toxine who was forced to drop out because of
schedule issues. According to the press release, this split happened by
mutual agreement. The new album entitled ‘Witchkrieg’ (an obvious pun on
Blitzkrieg) was released recently. A number of guest musicians such as
Kerry King, Hank Shermann and Andy LaRocque are featured on the new
there is much to talk about and so we tracked down Jensen
(Guitars), who is currently on tour with The Haunted somewhere in
Europe, to answer some questions. Here you can read what he had to say
to the readers of Metal-Experience.com
Congratulations on your new album ‘Witchkrieg’ which will be released
soon, of course we’d like to ask you a couple of questions about it. First
of all, how are you?
Just fine... been busy sipping champagne, ‘n driving 'round town in my
new RR I bought after receiving the fat cheque the initial sales of
Witchkrieg gave me.
you start this interview off with a short update about the band? We
understand there have some line-up changes and it has taken for this
release to become a reality?
Yeah, we had to find a new singer since founding member
Toxine had lost his drive to be in a band and do live shows etc. We
found an excellent new singer in Legion...And yes, there was a 5 year
gap between ‘Symphonies for the Devil’ and ‘Don’t Fear the Reaper’, and
this was something I didn’t want to happen again. I had all the material
written for ‘Witchkrieg’ by 2008, only two years after the release of ‘DFTR’.
Rickard and I recorded the guitars in the fall of 2008, and Axe and
Sharlee recorded their instruments during their time off at xmas 2008.
We waited from January 2009 until January 2010 for Toxine to come down
and record the vocals. After a year of waiting we had to move on. We
asked Legion in February 2010 and two weeks later he had all the vocals
you launch into writing material for ‘Witchkrieg’, the last time you
told us (March 2006) that already 60% of the new album was written, what
Witchery has previously always jammed out our material.
We just got together and had a lot of fun with trying all the ideas.
This has proved increasingly difficult with the growing success of our
other bands. There just wasn’t any mutual time off to be found. After
having let the fans wait for 5 years between SFTD and DFTR, we had to
change our way of working, so I started to write everything myself, and
then emailing my songs to the others for evaluation and approval, so the
album is still some sort of a band effort. Next album will be written
just like ‘Witchekrieg’ and hopefully, with Legion now in the band, no
further unnecessary delays will occur.
have to rewrite some of the material after Legion joined the band? Was
he your first choice?
No, everything was recorded and all the lyrics were
written (albeit with Toxine in mind, but all the same) Yes, Legion was
our first choice.
approach did you choose to create this album, did you go for a more raw
exposition.. or something more reminiscent of your previous other works,
or something all together different?
I think ‘Witchkrieg’ is pretty much in the vein of the
first album (‘Restless and Dead’). It’s very direct and in your face. A
lot of that was achieved with Legion’s vocals, but the music is very
much to the point without any mucking about. It wasn’t anything I was
planning to achieve, it just turned out that way.. I don’t like having a
plan for my writing. I like to see where creativity takes me and just
work with it, rather than forcing it.
were the goals you had in mind when you started to record ‘Witchkrieg’,
any elements you definitely wanted to include on the album?
Not really. Like I said, the music goes where it wants
to... I think the most important thing was to get the band together and
kick ass together. I personally think Witchery is one Hell of a band,
and that it’s a shame that conflicting schedules prevent us from playing
as much live as we would like to and releasing albums as often as we'd
spend a fair amount of time working on the album before heading over to
record it? How much time did you spend in the studio?
Not much time in the studio, but I worked on the songs
like a motherfucker on the computer before we decided we had the version
we wanted to record... Studiowise, however, I think guitars and bass
were done in three days, drums in another two and vocals took maybe
four days. I don’t know how long the actual dailing of sounds and
mixing/mastering took. We sent everything off to Tue Madsen and he sent
it back when he was done with it. That might have taken 2 weeks or so..
but I don’t know if he was working on something else at the same time,
so, no real count of time there...
a typical creational process for Witchery when you guys are in the
Yes, I’d say the typical way is recording everything
live. That’s how we've done it on all the albums, except for ‘Withckrieg’.
We will have to leave this way of recording unfortunately due to time
conflicts, so.. the new typical way will be recording the instruments
one by one...which is fucking boring and I hate it. I love recording
live..but, what can you do..?
look at the album cover, it looks like an old Russian propaganda poster
featuring Stalin, and the title ‘‘Witchkrieg’ obviously refers to
‘Blitzkrieg’.. what do you wish to express with this cover and title?
Yes, cover artwork is soviet style (with the usage of
Stalin, correct).. A totalitarian state. ‘Witchkrieg’ is derived from
the word “Blitzkrieg”, a term from another totalitarian state. Lastly,
witches weren burnt at the stake by totalitarian religion a couple of
hundred years ago. The ‘Witchkrieg’ lyrics are about sticking to your
opinions no matter what religion/authority tells you to think.
course the main themes of the songs are clear, but where do you get your
inspiration from and can you tell me more about the lyrics? Is there a
story behind them?
If you want the lyrics to be just horror stories, they
can be. If you are looking for something more, then there are things
between the lines, just like with the title track ‘Witchkrieg’. I get
the horror ideas from sci-fi/fantasy/horror books/movies I digest. The
deeper stories I get from all around me...
you get in touch with all the guests on the album? Was it hard to
convince them to contribute to this record?
They are all personal friends of both mine and the
band's. Gary and Lee really like Witchery's music, Andy recorded
Witchery's second album ‘Witchburner’, Jim has been a friend of
Witchery's since 1999. When Jim heard our first album ‘Restless and
Dead’, he wanted to get back into playing metal music again. Kerry has
been a friend since I met him over 10 years ago. I’m really glad that he
found the time to put down a solo for us and be in the Witchkrieg video.
Hank Shermann is the real hero.. He has been on the last three Witchery
albums, and will probably continue to be on them (if he hasn’t grown
tired of us ha ha).. ohm and it wasn’t hard at all.. they all like the
band and the music.. And we are very grateful for them wanting to be a
part of our music.
the most typical guest appearances is the one by Kerry King, the song
almost sounds like a Slayer song. Did he pick this song himself?
No, but after having written the song, I realized that it
had some Slayer elements to it. We had asked some of the other guest
musicians already by then, so the thought struck me that this might be
something Kerry could see himself doing, and sure enough, he's into the
problems arise, getting this job done with so many guests?
You mean getting the solo’s recorded? The Exo guys
recorded their solo’s at Studio Fredman when Exodus came through
Gothenburg, the rest of them recorded their solos either at home or
during the recordings of their own albums..
album was also mixed and mastered by Tue Madsen, what made him the
perfect man for the job?
Because Tue is a great guy and he knows exactly what we
want to achieve..
elements on the new album can one clearly hear your vision and ideas?
Weeell... you are talking to the guy that wrote all the
music and lyrics, arranged all the songs and chose which guests to ask..
I’d say you can hear my vision and ideas on all the songs, although they
are all colored and made better by the rest of the band. Without them,
I’d just be another guy sitting at home with a lot of his own music
sitting on his harddrive haha
What do you think are the main differences between your
previous album ‘Don’t
Fear The Reaper’
I think the new album is more direct than DFTR. Plus I
really like the way Legion adds aggression and heaviness to the songs.
Not that Toxine was/is a bad singer.. but Legion just adds something
the utmost important ingredient for a song?
A main catchy riff or vocal arrangement.
have any favorites on the album?
As in songs? Hm.. maybe “The God that Fell from Earth”
are you pleased with the outcome of the songs or would you have liked to
have changed anything in retrospective? Which element of the CD are you
the most proud of?
I am very happy with Witchkrieg and I wouldn’t change
anything at all... And even if there were things I’d like to change, I’d
do it on the next album. That’s what albums are for. For trying new
ideas and growing as a musician and improving on the next album.
several albums under your belt, how far has you career surpassed your
original dreams and what would you say is the most rewarding part of
being in the band?
It’s gone way beyond my wildest dreams, and it is still
going. Most rewarding is to see how much of an impact one’s music has on
people from all around the world.
your opinion on the metal scene these days? What do you think about the
overload of bands at the moment and is there anything missing in the
The metal scene isn’t at all as it was when everything
that happened was new.. I’ve been around a while. I remember when
Metallica’s and Slayer’s first albums came out... Not only the metal
scene, but music in general, has stagnated. It’s probably no one’s
fault. There might be only so much you can do when you write music, but
there has to be some reason to why there were so many defining and
fresh-sounding bands every year up until 10-15 years ago.. I know, there
are exceptions to the rule.. but I think it’s an indication of where
music is going.. into ever-repetitive cycles for the next generation
that hasn’t had the opportunity to hear the original band/-s.
you respond to the following terms in just one word or sentence:
: long time since it had any real meaning
: life consuming
: truth consuming
Netherlands : furnished by IKEA
intoxicated by Heineken
we expect from Witchery in the near future, will we have to wait for
another 4 years for the next album to come out? Do you guys have any
No touring plans due to lack of members’ time, but
definitely festivals.. and no such wait for the next album....
left to say to our readers?
Check out the ‘Witchkrieg’ album. You'll be sorry you
for your time,
Rimfält - Guitars
D'Angelo - Bass
Axenrot – Drums
(Tony Kampner) Vocals (1997–2010)
Restless And Dead
Dead, Hot And Ready
Symphony For The Devil
Don’t Fear The Reaper