Sweden’s LORD BELIAL strike again, this time with
their new album ‘The Black Curse’. Following their full-length last
year, ‘Revelation – The 7th Seal’, the band’s new offering submits more
melodic black metal blasphemy and unhinged hatred.
is a Swedish black metal band that has incorporated traits of death
metal and doom metal at times. The band formed in 1992 and released
their debut album ‘Kiss The Goat’ in 1994. This debut album was
well-acclaimed by fans and press due to its originality and the
intriguing combination of melody and aggressiveness and placing them
among the pioneers of Swedish black metal.
‘The Black Curse’ is by far their best recording achieved so far, and it
truly shows Lord Belial's potential as one of Sweden's leading and most
unique Black Metal acts, therefore we tracked down Thomas Backelin
(Guitars, Vocals) to ask him some questions, this is what he had to say…
First of all, congratulations with the release of your
album ‘The Black Curse’ which was released recently in Europe, we’d like
to ask you a couple of questions about it.
It’s been less than 1-1/2 years since ‘Revelation’ came
out, so it seems this inspired you to write a new record. How did you
launch into writing material for ‘The Black Curse’ and how much time did
you spend on the songs?
Thomas: The inspiration was on top for the writing of The
Black Curse. In total I think I spent about 2 months preparing and
arranging the riffs and writing the lyrics.
Did ideas come easily so that you just had to write them
down or was it more of a careful composing thing?
Thomas: both actually, when I’m in song writing mode I
literally have my guitar on me as soon as I’m at home. When I watch
movies or whatever I sit, playing my guitar and jamming riffs and
testing new stuff, working like this I end up with lots of riffs. Some
days I sit and actually compose the songs in a more “writing” style
where I sit and carefully put everything together.
What comes first, lyrics or melodies?
Thomas: The music always comes first, or sometimes I
might have some words done but most often I have to rearrange the entire
lyric to fit the music anyway.
What were the goals you had in mind when you started to
record ‘The Black Curse’, any elements you definitely wanted to have on
Thomas: The primary goal was to make a continuation of
the ‘Revelation’ album, which was a step towards a more aggressive touch
than its predecessor ‘The Seal of Belial’ and ‘Nocturnal Beast’. We
wanted to have a more raw feeling to the album as a whole, but still
melodic and with some slow atmospheric parts which are essential for the
sound of Lord Belial.
Was it a conscious decision to do it this way?
Thomas: It was a very conscious decision. We talked it
over before we even decided about when or where we should record what
would become ‘The Black Curse’.
What is the utmost important ingredient for a song
according to you?
Thomas: Above all, the atmosphere and feeling of a song
is absolutely most important for us, it always has been. No matter what
speed or technical achievements, the feeling of a song conquers all
those other aspects.
‘Revelations – The 7th Seal’ was already a step forward,
but ‘The Black Curse’ is actually the first album on which Lord Belial
shows its full capabilities: What are your thoughts on this statement?
Thomas: We felt that we had been wandering a bit too much
in the mid-tempo melancholic songs and almost forgot all of the
aggressiveness which we used to have in our older albums. A big reason
for this was that I was in a major depression/anxiety period for several
years and I guess that my mental state was reflected into our songs on
some of our albums. But now everything is getting along pretty well and
as I found myself it was time for us to take it all up a notch hence The
Black Curse came to finally see the light of day.
Could you please describe the implications of the title
‘The Black Curse’, what does it stand for and is there a special meaning
Thomas: ‘The Black Curse’ is more like an abstract
collective name for the entire work on this album regarding both the
musical and lyrical achievements. There are only lyrics filled with
hatred and resentment towards religions and all false hypocritical
preachers with their brainwashed followers out there, therefore the
title ‘The Black Curse’ felt very suitable and striking.
Who was responsible for the lyrics on this album and
where do you get your inspiration from? What would you say are the main
themes in your lyrics ?
Thomas: I made all of the lyrics; I get inspiration from
everything from movies, dreams and my own opinions and views on life
itself. The main team is hate towards religions.
One of the most typical songs from the new album is
‘Antichrist Reborn’, which reminds me very much of Dark Fortess and now
and then of Dimmu Borgir. Is this an influence you wish to develop more
in the future, or can we expect Lord Belial maintaining the typical
Thomas: We don’t have any real influences or wishes to
sound/remind of any bands. If we do remind of any bands it’s pure
coincidental. You can always expect Lord Belial to keep on making
exactly what Lord Belial want to do; the next album might as well be a
disco album if it was what we felt like. Lots of people didn’t like us
changing more into the slower songs as on ‘The Seal Of Belial’ and
‘Nocturnal Beast’ – so fucking what? We do what we like, when we like
and now there are some people that got all upset because we have changed
into a more aggressive sound… their problem.
How did the recording process proceed this time, did you
work differently than on previous albums? How much time did you spend in
Thomas: We spent about 17 days or so in total. The
recording was very smooth and it felt very relaxing and reliable to work
with Valle on this album, we had a meeting several months before the
recording to speak about what kind of sound we had in mind and how we
wanted to schedule the recording itself since we wished to be in the
studio at nighttime as well. We worked as we did with so many albums
before, I had made a click track several months before the recording (so
that Micke could rehearse to this) and then we used the same click track
in the studio. After the drums were done it was time for the rhythm
guitars and bass. Having this foundation complete it was time for the
vocals and lead guitars, and last of all we added all the acoustic parts
Your sound on ‘The Black Curse’ is excellent, it was done
by Valle Adzic, what made him the perfect man for Lord Belial?
Thomas: The main reason we chose Valle was that first of
all he’s a very competent studio engineer and secondly we have known him
for many years which made everything run very smooth personally. Also
the studio is located just outside of Trollhättan which made all the
traveling very unproblematic. Valle totally understood what we wanted
with this album, we didn’t want it to get too polished and well
produced, and not too crappy either.
In which things/songs on the new album can one clearly
hear his vision and ideas?
Thomas: The songs on the albums sound very much as we had
made them before entering the studio, Valle mainly helped out with the
technical stuff and made the sound while we were focused on the songs.
Although Valle did come with lots of feedback and ideas as well.
Do you have any favorites on the album?
Thomas: It’s very hard to choose a favorite; I do like
“Antichrist Reborn” a lot. I also enjoyed recording it and making those
choirs in the middle of the song which was the very first time I did
something with clean vocals.
Have you received any feedback on the album yet?
Thomas: I received LOTS of positive feedback on ‘The Black Curse’, the
best so far in our career I must say.
Are third party opinions (press, fans, etc.) on your
music important to you? Or are your music and band the only things that
Thomas: Of course we listen to what our fans have to say,
but WE decide everything about Lord Belial – no one else. I don’t care
too much about what press has to say about our album, I wouldn’t change
a thing about us anyway so they can write whatever they like, it won’t
Overall, are you pleased with the outcome of the songs or
would you have liked to have changed anything in retrospective?
Thomas: I am very pleased with this album, we put lots of
time and effort into this album and I think it can be heard. I am very
much proud of this album and wouldn’t want anything to be altered.
Which element on the CD are you most proud of?
Thomas: Everything all together, we managed to get
another good album recorded after more than 15 years together with lots
of ups and downs through the years. In the end, ‘The Black Curse’ was
actually on the contrary not a curse at all for us.
Which song is your favorite one to play live? Which song
do you find is the most challenging one to play live?
Thomas: I like all of our songs live, the most demanding
songs are “Unrelenting Scourge Of War” (Angelgrinder) and “Divide Et
Impera” (Unholy Crusade) since they are quite complicated with lots of
intriguing melodies/leads and chords all mixed at the same time, with
vocals at the same time as leads occasionally.
Who are your greatest influences - both in terms of
composition, as well as your guitar playing?
Thomas: I have no musical influence in that aspect.
Taking it back a little, when Lord Belial started out you
obviously put in quite a few hours honing your technique. What was your
practice routine like, especially during that period and compared to
Thomas: I never had any “real” practice routine such as
scales and finger setting techniques. I just played, making riffs and
testing different chords and stuff like that. I have never been much for
practicing; I like to play which is my way of getting my practice I
Can you tell us a little about yourself and the kinds of
things that motivate you in your writing, your poetry, and your lyrics?
Thomas: My main interest is horror movies which quite
often get me very inspired to write lyrics – I never write about the
movies I watch but I get in a very sinister mood from them and my dark
visions gets triggered which allows me to see beyond this tedious and
sickening world we’re in. Besides horror movies I like to read books,
the last ones I read were Angels and Demons by Dan Brown, As Angels Die
by Andreas Roman and the biography for Lemmy Kilmister. The latter was
With all the touring and over eight albums (and several
singles) under your belt, how far has Lord Belial surpassed your
original dreams and what would you say is the most rewarding part of
being in the band?
Thomas: our only dream back in 1992 when Lord Belial was
formed was to get a record label to sign us and to release an album. 16
years later we have released 8 albums which is a small victory for us;
even if we don’t come any further than this we will still have been
around for almost 2 decades soon and we’ve had a very good time both on
the road and in the recording sessions. And that is quite rewarding.
Micke and I have been playing together since 1987 which also is more
than we ever thought when we started out in a barn on the countryside
outside Hedekas where we grew up and started Lord Belial.
What were the highlights and low points throughout your
Thomas: The highlights of course were the releases of all
albums and also all the touring!
The low points were when Niclas left the band, and later
on when Micke also left the band. Those episodes weren’t good at all for
neither me nor Anders who back then were the only original members left,
however we decided to get some new members and write and record a new
album and see what would happen, ‘The Seal of Belial’ was the outcome of
In the early days of the nineties Lord Belial used folk
instruments and flutes. Nowadays it’s dark and fully electric. What are
your thoughts on the progress from your first album ‘Kiss The Goat’ to
the latest one ‘The Black Curse’ and what can we expect from Lord Belial
in the future?
Thomas: I know that Lord Belial was the first band to introduce the
flute into Metal, adding a flute (or anything else than keyboards) was
very unusual back then. The progress is mainly that the songwriting has
become better and also our techniques have improved a lot since ‘Kiss
the Goat’ if you compare it to ‘The Black Curse’. The goal for Lord
Belial has always been to progress as a band, that is why you can always
expect anything from us, as I said earlier: if we feel like releasing a
disco album we might do it (not that we would since we all hate disco)
Which album has been your biggest musical influence, one
that made you think “this is what I want to do!”?
Thomas: Accept – ‘Metal Heart’, Judas Priest –
‘Painkiller’ and Bathory – ‘Everything’ are some of my top albums all
time. But I don’t have any album that actually “made me” want to play
What is 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 scene?
Thomas: just boring, I hardly buy albums nowadays. If I
buy something it’s most often some old stuff, or some new album from an
old band which I need for my collection (you can never collect a band
and neglect the new albums even if they suck) The newest album I got was
Metallica – ‘Death Magnetic’ and the next album I will buy is Ac/Dc –
I hardly buy Black Death metal because I think that the
scene is over flooded by uninteresting bands which are just trying to be
the fastest, the grimmest, the truest, and the most fucking evil band in
the universe. I am so fed up with it.
What can we expect from Lord Belial in the near future,
any touring plans?
Thomas: We don’t have any plans for tours at the moment
but our tour manager is in contact with some promoters in UK, Germany,
Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Holland at the moment so I think there will
be some touring in springtime for Lord Belial in these countries.
Where do you see the band going within the next 5 years,
and where do you see the band’s musical direction going for the next
Thomas: Charge, FORWARD! ‘The Black Curse’ has just begun
and we will continue in the same vein.
Any last statement?
Thank you for showing interest in Lord Belial and for
spreading ‘The Black Curse’
Anders Backelin - Bass
Micke Backelin - Drums
Thomas Backelin - Guitars, Vocals
Niclas Andersson - Guitars (1992-2000, 2001-2003, 2006-)
Daniel Moilanen - Drums
Plague (Fredrik Wester) - Guitars (2000, 2002)
Hjalmar Nielsen - Guitars
Lilith - Flute
Jenny Andersson - Flute
Cecilia Sander - Flute
Catharina Jacobsson - Flute
Annelie Jacobsson - Flute
Jelena Almvide - Cello
Kiss The Goat (1994)
Enter the Moonlight Gate (1996)
Unholy Crusade (1999)
Doomed By Death (Split, 2002)
Scythe of Death (EP, 2003)
The Seal of Belial ( 2004)
Nocturnal Beast (2005)
The Black Curse (2008)