Nifelheim - 31/12/2007

NIFELHEIM was formed in 1990 by Tyrant ("bestial holocaust bass/guitar"), Demon ("pounding disaster drums") and Hellbutcher ("death vomit vocals"). Soon they were also joined by guitarist Morbid Slaughter and hellish orgies of drunken debauchery and deviant behaviour sometimes were interrupted with rehearsals.


Around New Years' 92/93 the band made their first recording and released the legendary landmark of metal - "Unholy Death Demo". Reviewers were shocked and listeners everywhere wondered who these hounds of hell might be? Soon after that the band signed with Necropolis Records in 1994 and entered Studio Fredman to record their self-titled debut album. In 1997 they recorded their second album ‘The Devil's Force’. Once again a devastating blow to everything whimpy in the metal scene and once again with help by John & Jon. NIFELHEIM was ready to conquer the world, but their label turned out to be run by an incompetent village idiot so the band's plans of world domination had to be postponed.


After ‘Servants Of Darkness’, that came out in 2000 the band decided to create a new line up consisting of five members to be able to play live. And so they did, the band soon got famous for being one of the most intense live acts with a show filled over the top with spikes, studs, leather, blood, fire and death! During the years the band's cult status has been growing more and more thanks to the band's totally uncompromising and unique sound and attitude.

And now finally the fourth studio album is finished, the new album ‘Envoy Of Lucifer’ is not polluted by any modern influences from the awful 1990s or shitty present decade, and once again even darker and more aggressive than ever before!!



So when we had the chance to speak to vocalist Hellbutcher (Per Gustavsson) at the Arnhem Metal Meeting where the band promoted their latest effort we didn’t hesitate for a moment. So here we go!!


First question, you guys don't do many live shows or tour that much, why then did you decide to go to AMM?

I don't know. (Laughs). No, but sometimes when someone asks if we want to do a show and we think 'why not', then we do it. It's nothing special. And this seems like a cool place to do a show.


You also went on tour with Venom on their Scandinavian dates. How was that?

It was great. We have been Venom-fans for ages, so it's of course a great opportunity to go on tour with them. They are one of my favorite bands so it was fucking great.


Did you blow Venom off the stage?

Hehe, well I'm a great fan of the band but our crowd was pretty good to us. But nevertheless, it was great.


Seven years ago you released 'Servants of Darkness' and now the new album is coming up. In between you released two split albums, an EP and a compilation disc. Why did it take so long to record a new album? Were people busy with other bands?

Not really. First of all, after the last album we had a different line-up with the drummer Devastator and another guy called Sadist. They were actually the ones holding us back. They messed-up everything. We're spread out all over Sweden so if we want to rehearse we usually go to Gothenburg to rehearse, and then usually the drummer didn't show up. So we had to kick him out. And then we had to start all over again. Of course, Sebastian from Necrophobic joined right after the release of 'Servants of Darkness' so he has been in the band for like 7 years. But we had to find new members, and that takes time. And you know, we tried to do an album since the last one, but somehow it just didn't happen. It got fucked up every time. We had already recorded 5 of the new songs for the new album in 2003, so it was ready since that time but we messed up. But now the new album is finally out there.


How did you find your new members? Did you just ask friends of the band "come play with us"?

At one gig we played Sadist couldn't come because he was doing some stupid things instead, so we asked Apocalyptic Desolator from Necrophobic as he was playing in a band with our other guitarist. And when he'd played with us once, he wanted to stay. And exactly the same thing happened with our drummer Insulter (of Jesus Christ). We tried to call Devastator to tell him that he was fired, but he didn't answer the phone. So he found out when we were playing with our new drummer, haha. Very rock 'n roll. And since then they have been in the band, and it feels like we have a steady line up. And most importantl, we can play live now with this line up.


You also changed labels from Black Sun to Regain Records. Why was that?

I can tell you one thing: to this day I have never, ever received one cent from any record label. So it's their problem that we chose to leave them. Record labels are fucked up.


So do you have a good relationship with Regain Records now?

I think so. We haven't been there long enough to say, but I suppose they are more serious than Black Sun. Because Black Sun is run by a drunk idiot. He can't handle his business. He gets money and goes out to buy beer for himself. That kind of stuff. So we had a little bit of bad luck with record labels. But I hope this will work out. It seems like this new record label is much better. And for instance they are very good with distribution. Our old albums are very hard to get these days, they were probably sold out many years ago. But this label seems to be good.



You had already recorded some songs, but was it hard to come up with the other songs?

Recording them was quite easy. It took quite a long time in the studio, but the drums were done in two days. We just put up the microphones, went into the mixing room and: voila, it sounded perfect. Everything went very smoothly, but we had to stop recording because of the tour with Venom. And then we had to come back later and then things kind of slowed down.


The production of 'Envoy of Lucifer' sounds fuller with drums and guitars than 'Servants of Darkness'. Was it meant to be like this or was it just something that happened?

More or less. We just tried to get a good sound. We never think of something different that our next album should have. I just like a total kcccchhhgggg brutal sound. We recorded in a different studio. We try to get the same sound, but it doesn't always work out that way. That's the only reason that it sounds different. And everything is recorded analogue. Nowadays bands record their drum parts in different sections, but we just record them straight onto a tape in one go. Even if we don´t play all of it live, it will still sound more or less like it does on the album. You have to play the song 'true'. It's harder to record it this way, but it sounds better.


On the track 'Evil is Eternal' you use your voice in a different way.  Was this done to create a certain effect?

Different songs have different moods, yes, and we tried to really point this out. It's a slow and evil, disgusting song. So we didn't want it to have the same sound as the other songs. If you screamed too much on it, it wouldn't sound good. And we also put two lower channels on the song, so it sounds a kind of weird. It's strange, but it's cool.


Is it me, or is the last track 'No More Life' a nod to Iron Maiden's 'No More Lies'?

Yes, it is! Hahahaha.


Are you also looking forward to the 'Somewhere Back In Time' tour?

 Of course. You know, I'm a big fan. I'm really looking forward to it. That's gonna be so great. You know, they sold out the two biggest venues in Sweden in less than two hours. They are still going strong, especially in Scandinavia. Even if they put on two shows in a row, they will just sell out. And maybe that's because every time bands tour they don't always make it to Sweden, because they think of it as some fucking far away country. You Dutch guys are just spoiled, haha! But it will be great with the pyramid on stage, and they´ll 'Rime of the Ancient Mariner'. Usually I go to all the gigs of their European tours. Last tour I was at all of the 28 gigs. As you know, I have loads of Iron Maiden records. Somewhere around 1500, and over a 1000 t-shirts and stuff like that. So yes, I'm quite the Iron Maiden fan.



Have you received any feedback on the new album yet?

Yes, I usually don't read many reviews as I get totally mad when someone writes something bad. But I read a lot of good reviews, so I'm satisfied. And from the fans the response has been really good.


Are there any further touring plans for the album?

Actually we don't have real touring plans, but when we come back to Sweden we will try to plan a tour. We don't play much live, in Sweden we did but not outside the country. And you need to see us live to get the whole idea of the band. Then you get the point of what we are trying to do.


Are you planning anything special for the show tonight?

We have some new stuff yes.  But I must tell you, our manager was supposed to bring our backdrop, but he forgot it. And he also forgot the wireless stuff for the bass and things like that. We have to sort that out one way or the other. But yes, we will have some nice surprises for you.


As I read in interviews you don't like anything that's recorded in the '90s and later. Are there any bands that you like that are young but sound old school?

No! (laughs). Maybe, I don't know. I'm not really looking for new bands. There might be good bands, but I don't bother to listen to them. But it's not like a principle that I just refuse to listen to anything new. I like Blaze's new band. But I really don't like the modern metal.  And I still haven't listened to all the good bands from the '80s. And at the moment I'm really into Eastern Europe bands, like from Bulgaria and Romania. There are many bands from over there, old bands, that are totally great.


Any examples?

I'd have to think about it. Era from Bulgaria is a good one. They're great. And Hungary also has a cool heavy metal band called Pokolgép. There are a lot of many cool bands there. I just go to Metal Archives and look up bands.


I'm out of questions. Anything you would still like to tell us?

Buy our new album. And that's it, hehe.


Thank you very much for the interview!

No problem!


Thomas Van Golen



Current members: 

Erik "Tyrant" Gustavsson - Guitar, bass (1990 - )   

Per "Hellbutcher" Gustavsson - Vocals  (1990 - ) 

Peter Stjärnvind - Drums  (2006 - ) 

Johan Bergebäck - Guitar (2006 - )    

Sebastian Ramstedt - Guitar (2006 - )    

Former members: 

Morbid Slaughter – Guitar (1991-1993)   

Demon - Drums (1990-1994)  

Per "Goat" Alexandersson - Vocals (1996)  

Adrian Erlandsson - Drums  (1998) 

Mika Leppänen – Guitar (2004)   

Martin "Axe" Axenrot - Drums (1999-2005)  

Session musicians: 

Tobias Kjellgren - Drums   

Jon Nödtveidt - Guitar (1998)  

John Zwetsloot - Guitars (1998)


Nifelheim (1994)

Devil's Force (1997)

Servants Of Darkness (2000)

Envoy Of Lucifer (2007)