Graveyard Doesn't Aim for "Throwback Metal"

Categories: Q&A

Anders Bergstedt
When Swedish hard rock Norrsken disbanded in 2000, its principles both embarked on their own doom rock journeys: Guitarist Magnus Pelander formed Witchcraft, while vocalist Joakim Nilsson formed Graveyard.

Both outfits maintained Norrsken's dedication to Sabbath-indebted doom metal, but as time has gone on, both bands -- especially Graveyard -- have moved toward a beefy, melodic rock sound.

This isn't to say that either fits the "Nickelback" template -- far from it, but selections from Graveyard's latest, 2012's Lights Out, wouldn't sound entirely out of place following Three Doors Down, Saliva, or Shinedown on some modern rock radio station. Propulsive album opener "An Industry of Murder" coasts from a sinister, palm-muted verse to an wide-open chorus; "Slow Motion Countdown" grooves over soulful jazz and blues textures; album highlight "Endless Night" lifts the kickstand and rolls steadily toward boogie rawk glory.

Lights Out doesn't abandon Graveyard's classist leanings, but it does find the band folding in contemporary metal touches into its brawny crunch. I spoke with Nilsson about the album's blues elements, his record collection growing up, and how the band never attempted to play "throwback" rock.

Up on the Sun: I saw you guys play last January. Do you remember playing the Yucca Tap Room in Tempe?

Joakim Nilsson: Yeah, yeah, of course. It was a wild little room with a lot of people in it. It was really packed. It was fun.

I read so many things about Graveyard that reference you as "retro" or "vintage" metal, but Lights Out doesn't really sound that way to me. There's certainly some warm, analog tones which are evocative of '70s production techniques, but this one seems much more in touch with "modern rock" than people normally give you credit for.

I don't know why people are so hung up about us recording [using] analog [technology]. A lot of people do in all types of genres and all types of music. I don't think that has too much to do with it. We always say that in interviews, that we are inspired by old bands, old blues, hard rock and all of that stuff, so I guess that is where our roots are. That's our foundation, but we never tried to be a throwback band. We never wanted to sound exactly like the band's playing in the '70s. We always try to be as contemporary as we can. We're trying to write music for today, not to the kids in the '70s.

Do you get fans of old boogie rock from the '70s showing up at your shows, or is it mostly young kids who just sort of imagine that you sound like "The Seventies?"

We have a wide variety. It's both young girls in the front row and old men with ponytails in the back, you know? It's all different types at our shows. It's pretty great, actually.

Location Info

Crescent Ballroom

308 N. 2nd Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Music

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Mo Sberg
Mo Sberg

More psychobilly/hard rock than metal. I dig the sound. Sweden always does it right. Grotesque, anyone?

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