Originally formed under the
short-lived name of Elizium and then switching names for a more striking
impact upon signing a worldwide deal with Century Media Records,
Sweden's newest metal threat DEVIAN is the brainchild of former
Marduk members Legion (Vocals, ex Ophthalamia) and Emil Dragutinovic
(Drums, also in The Legion) after their departure from the Black Metal
commando in their strife to come up with a new breed of wretched
Scandinavian Metal. Together with guitarists Joinus and Tomas Nilsson,
DEVIAN form an unstoppable organic extreme Metal machine driven
by a raving hunger and deadset determination.
Rather than simply adjusting to
continue on their stylistic path chosen with the latest Marduk
appearances for Legion and Emil, DEVIAN decided to go for a more
dynamic old school vibe, which is built upon a very catchy combination
of melody and aggression. With references to bands like Slayer, Iron
Maiden, Possessed, Morbid Angel, Dissection or even Motörhead, you will
easily understand that DEVIAN gathers some of the best elements
of blackened Death- and Thrash Metal with strong influence from
traditional Heavy Metal.
After an intense year of songwriting,
DEVIAN had collected more than enough quality material to invade
Sweden's Art Decay Studio with producer Rickard Kottelin (The Legion)
for the recordings of their first opus "Ninewinged Serpent". Mixing
duties for the album were handled by sound-wizard Fredrik Nordström at
Studio Fredman (At The Gates, Arch Enemy, Dimmu Borgir, etc.), while the
final punch in mastering came courtesy of Peter In De Betou / Tailor
Maid and Greece's dark artwork master Seth (Paradise Lost, Soilwork, Old
Man's Child, etc.) suitably packaged the release with a very morbid
visual theme, which nicely enhances the album's thick and bleak lyrical
As the beast of Devian finally took
form with their first album 'Ninewinged Serpent' and the first real tour
with Vader has become reality, it is time for an interview with these
very friendly Swedes. The whole band is willing to sit down and talk
about the first album, the band and future prospects.
So, how was the show for you guys
All: Excellent, great, super, really
It started out a bit slow but
everyone got into it in the end.
Legion: Yes, and that's the deal
basically now, because it's a debut gig. And today in the metal world
you're kind of invisible if you don't tour. So this is the first
opportunity to plant our flag. So it's just going all out as you've got
only half an hour. No time to spare, just BAM!
Tomas: Blazing from the start.
How is the tour going so far?
Legion: It's been really good. This is
the biggest place we've played so far on the tour. But it's been good
turn outs and people have been really into it. So we're happy.
What is it like to be a support
band again, as both Emil and you were in Marduk?
Emil: It's a good thing. As this is
our 'baby' or whatever you call it. We started this band. Joining Marduk
was like being part of something someone else had grown up with. So this
feels much more like to the heart playing, since we have created the
songs from the beginning. I can't wait to just develop this band and put
new songs out.
Legion: And you know, when I joined
Marduk even though we, on most occasions, headlined it was still like a
pretty small thing to do. Somewhere around Nightwing everything started
to roll on. I don't mind doing that [being a support band, TvG] and
supporting Vader is really cool. I'm a great fan of them and they're
long time friends so it feels like a really good tour that we're on and
it's just like Emil said: it's fresh and new and it's ours and the
atmosphere and companionship in this band is far superior to what we had
in Marduk anyway. So it's really great.
Just a simple question: what do you
usually do to entertain yourself througout the day on the tour?
Emil: Some days it's like, you don't
have any strength and you just want to rest. But we try to compose music
with the laptop, play guitars and compose.
Legion: Weightlifting, or working out,
or all kinds of other goofy shit, like we tend to end up in weird
discussions talking about each others' weaknesses and tics and stuff.
[Laughter] It's a great time, just embarrasing yourself in front of the
others, watching people fall off their chairs because they're laughing
so much. Just anything is good to do on the road otherwise you tend to
just live in your head and just stare out of the window.
Emil: That happens too
Legion: Yeah, but we're entering the
studio in July and we still have so much work to do because we want the
next album to really kill. So we have a lot of songs that we really
believe in now, that feel much stronger and more together now that
influences have been fusing together a bit compared to Ninewinged
Serpent. You could hear 'this is this, and this is this' and now it's
starting to feel more like a band. But we still feel we don't have
enough time to work on the album, there's a lot of work to be done.
You mentioned the influences on the
album, it has many influences from all musical directions. Is this
because of the different backgrounds or is it just the music you like?
Joinus: Both actually, I come from a
thrash background but I try to mix in some heavy metal stuff into the
songs and things like that. You try to take things from every genre that
you grew up with and liked and listened to.
Legion: That was basically what we
said from the beginning as well when we tried to draw up a concept. We
couldn't figure anything out so we said: Fuck the masterplan, we'll just
play what we want to play and if it's a good song it's a good song. And
that's basically how everything came about. And since we've all been
metalheads since our younger years there's so much stuff that we just
let bleed into the concept and it kind of took on a life of its own.
Joinus: And why leave something out
that you enjoy listening to?
Tomas: A good riff is always a good
Was the first album really a group
thing or did some of you already have some parts ready?
Emil: One song is actually a song made
for Marduk, Remnant. It was supposed to be on Plague Angel but the other
guys in Marduk thought it was more The Legion material, which is my
other black metal band, but I don't see it that way. It's not even close
to what Legion does. As the songs developed during rehearsals we thought
that this song would fit the album, the new concept that we were going
for. We started out with rock and it went more into metal and then even
extreme metal as we mixed in black metal. That is one song that wasn't
supposed to be on the album, initially.
Why did Markus leave after the
recording of the first album?
Probably because he felt that he had
been pretty naive about his priorities. Before signing the contract we
had a sit down and it was like: look, we're going to do this all out or
you can piss off. We're not going to waste Century Media's time when
they have given us such an opportunity. And we didn't wanto to fool
ourselves. There's only one way to make it, and that is to let
everything else be secondary. And he really tried to commit to the band
as much as he could, but he felt that he couldn't. So he chose to be
honest about it and he took his leave. Because he knew that if we got
someone else in that really wanted it as much as the rest of us, it
would be better. And we remain good friends till this day as he's still
a killer guy. It’s just that he has some many things going on that he
wants to spend an equal amount of time on all of them, and of course
also commit to them. But we really want to tour and release an album in
a hectic pace so that would have been impossible.
How is the contact with Century
Media? Are they going to release the next album?
Legion: We have four options in our
contract. One album and three additional options. Right now they're
really psyched about the rough drafts for the new songs we've recorded
and how everything is developing and we think they're doing a killer job
Legion: They're always on the lookout
for us. As an example for this tour: one piece of merchandise we won't
get until we get to England. It's a tricky composition with detailed
artwork and it would cost us a lot of money to do it with the usual
process like when we get royalties and they take a cut and everything is
set up. So they're like: you know what, we're going to push this to be
cheaper for you guys, that the merch printing place is doing it cheaper
and then we just step out of it, you take it all. And you'll be on the
way in. It'll be a happier tour for you guys. And that's typical for
them, they always do stuff like that. They see that we put into it, then
they do something nice back. It's really great. If there's something
that they don't like, they'll say it. They're very up front and we
always have a good dialogue. So we're really happy with them.
How was the response to the album,
it came out in October?
I think the metalpress, many of them,
have written really good stuff. And we got some mediocre ones as well as
bad ones. But those magazines that I tend to write, excuse me, read,
they gave us a thumbs up. It seems like a good start.
You did all the recording, mixing
and mastering in different places with different people. Why?
Joinus: It just turned out this way.
We have a studio were we rehearse. And Richard who mixed the album is
also in the Legion, and he did a killer job on both our demo's we
recorded. So we choose to have him on the album as well. And to get a
more fat sound, we chose to mix it somewhere else. And it turned out
Legion: And the mastering courtesy
was, because Peter de Bateau and Fredman have a really good balance in
their work with each other so it was a natural choice.
Emil: I worked with Peter de Bateau
before, so I knew that he would do a great job for sure. It was a pretty
sure conscious move.
Are you really satisfied with the
album, or are there some things that could have been done better?
Emil: I go for number two! Yeah, of
course. You'll always hear mistakes when you record an album. And I
think we're discussing every day how much we'll improve the second
album. We've been rehearsing quite a lot, so our minds are set up for
the second album. Playing the songs from the first album has become a
routine. It's fun to play them, and it's fun to watch people respond to
Thomas: The next album will be...
Joinus: It will kill [Laughter]
Legion: It's definitely a few notches
up and it's amusing to see how much things have grown. Because I
remember when we were sitting in Emil's home studio. Me, Joinus and Emil
were putting together some songs, I can't remember which ones. We left
out some riffs that we thought like: these are song killer riffs but
don't really fit this song so let's save it for the second album. And
now we've written some new material and we listened to those riffs and
we went: what the fuck is up with this crap? This shit is not going to
be on the next album. It's just been going forward a lot. And the band
chemistry is the reason why. We've become five really good friends.
Everybody is pulling in different directions but everybody can respect
each other’s ideas too. It's a good fusion, compared to how we did the
Emil: And we all have such a passion
for sitting together and creating something. I haven't experienced that
with the other bands I'm in.
You said you were going to record
in July, when can we expect the new album?
Legion: January 2009
What was the first album that made
you think, I want to play in a metalband?
Inmediately Thomas: Guns 'n Roses –
Appetite for Destruction
Joinus: For me I think it was the
first album by WASP. I wanted to start a band called WASP 2 but I
decided against it.
Emil: I have to say for me it was
Sepultura – Beneath the Remains
Legion: Iron Maiden – Piece of Mind
Roberth: Twisted Sister – Under The
It's nice to hear something
different than Kiss, Kiss, Kiss.
Roberth in disbelief: Kiss??
jokingly the band: Who's that? Never
heard of them!
If you're really busy with
rehearsing and stuff, do you have time to visit concerts in your area?
Legion: Yes, of course
Joinus: Whenever there is a metalband
we want to see, we go there. You have to give the bands... I don't know
what I wanted to say....
Legion: But it's just, Sweden is a
shitty scene like that. It's all weak turn outs and far drives.
Emil: Especially our hometown.
Legion: Yes, so not all tours really
get up there. When I was living in Germany I was so spoiled. If I wanted
to go to a metal show I could go almost every day because something is
always happening there. Up north It’s not the same but Swedes are used
to driving. If we want to see a show then it is no biggie to drive for a
few hours because that's what you have to do. But if you really like a
band and really want to support them it sucks. I think a concert is
probably the best invention since the book. You can't duplicate it, you
can't download it, you have to be there.
Emil: People can download. In one way
it's just good for promotion that it's available. Sure, we don't make
any money out of it but still the name comes up.
Tomas: And the songs and stuff like
And in the end if people like it
they will attend the concert and buy a t-shirt or album..
Emil: And if you make quality music
people will buy the album
Legion: Internet holds freedom and
power. So it's kinda like you’ve got to take the bad with the good. I
choose to take it the way things are because you can push a button and
get out there. Before that it was basically impossible.
Tomas: And actually Seth, who did the
cover, he did a fucking amazing job. So the booklet and everything looks
killer. And it's very amusing that he sings in Septic Flesh so we
actually are touring with the guy that made our cover.
Legion: Yes, it was great to meet the
When you're busy writing songs, do
you actually listen to other music or do you need other influences?
Emil: I try not to listen to anything
while creating because I want to be focused on creating something
without musical influences. It's different with musical influences and
other things like books or thoughts, feelings.
Legion: I always listen to music and I
think in a way it affects you more than you think. So it's probably
going to sound a little like what is spinned most in the CD player. It's
a good move if you don't want a niche for music you should not listen
too much to certain cd's. Which I just do all the time. It's the same as
Coca-cola: they bombard you with commercials and in the end you'll buy
it without even thinking. So I guess it's the same thing.
And of course all the other kinds
of Cola are crap:
All the different versions are
Legion: Yes, it's a rip-off so it's
the same kind of concept. Yeah, no. You get what I'm saying. If you're
displayed to something too much you'll eventually absorb it and think
about it. We'll see if something will spill through on the new album. I
tend to obsess over cd's. If I pick up something and it's really, really
good I can listen to it over and over again.
That was it for me, any last words?
Joinus: Thank you for the interview
Tomas: Hope you enjoyed the beer!
I certainly did! Thank you for the
As always, questions pop up after
the interview. Luckily Legion was watching the Vader show and I got a
chance to ask him if there would be any summer festival shows by Devian.
Legion: Not at the moment no,
especially as we're heading to the studio when the festivals start.
But we're keeping all options open!
Current members :
Legion - Vocals
Joinus - Lead and rythm guitar
Tomas Nilsson - Lead and rythmguitar
Roberth Karlsson - Bass
Emil Dragutinovic - Drums and percussion
Ninewinged Serpent (2007)