I am honored to exclusively host the full 24-hour stream of the newest album by Gothenburg, Sweden-based dark metal / hardcore act AGE OF WOE! Titled “Inhumanform”, the album brings in tons of brutal heaviness, set on solid metal backbone and clearly characterized by metallic hardcore dynamics. Definitely one of the most interesting albums to come out this year.
Apart from the stream, I have teamed up with AGE OF WOE‘s vocalist Sonny Stark to get some more information about the band and their new era defined by this new album. Check it out below.
[!] [The full album stream has expired] [!]
Gothenburg really inspires for evil, huh Sonny? :D
It sure seems that way. I can’t really pinpoint it but it’s definitely something going on in Gothenburg that bands tend to thrive on. Maybe it’s just an inspiring city to live in altogether. The music scene in Gothenburg in particular is really alive and well, I’d say.
Are you guys proud of this work? Share some personal feelings and thoughts on your debut full length.
We definitely are. This album is something we are all extremely proud of and something we will all remember forever. It took some time to write it and get it all together, but in the end we took the right path and the result speaks for itself. I remember thinking, “how are we ever going to top this recording?”, when we were done. At least for me, I can say that I feel very reluctant to record instrument by instrument after this.
As a whole, how would you say ”Inhumanform” sounds?
Very organic. It really sounds like music sounds, in an honest and authentic way. There is only so much that can be done digitally with a recording, but you miss the whole atmosphere and feel to it. When you listen to this album, you know what it will sound like when you see us live.
Instrument-wise, did you have to bring about any change in your style, or was it simply a development?
Not really. We still have a classic set-up (i.e drums, bass, guitars and vocals), although it seems to make people confused sometimes. I remember reading a review of our EP (2011) where the writer thought he could hear a synthesizer on one of the songs. We of course never used any synthesizers on the recording, but we do like to play around with effect pedals and stuff like that. It’s remarkable the kind of sounds and atmospheres you can create only by using some fuzz and delay pedals. But on “Inhumanform” we have actually used a Hammond organ in a few places. We also added some extra percussion and rhythm instruments like a cowbell and a rattle, just to add some more groove.
Is it possible to pick out just one song and agree that it best represents this album as a whole?
That’s a difficult question. The songs on this album are very diverse and different from one another, but at the same time there is an obvious theme in everything from the sound to the structures of the songs. But if I have to pick one song, it has to be “Black Rain”, it holds all the different elements that together creates this album.
Is ”Inhumanform” a kind of an autobiographical title for you? Should be autobiographical for all of us? Is there a particular theme to it as a whole?
Yes and no. It’s not your typical theme album per se, but we did have a phrase to work from, a phrase that would bind all the different songs together. We have tried to implement that in the artwork on this album as much as we could to kind of emphasize the theme without writing it out.
So why are you against pacifism? :)
We are against pacifism? I did not know that actually haha. I say: by all means necessary!
I must have heard wrong’ ;)
The Picasso artwork looks fantastic :) Who’s done it and what’s the story behind the masterpiece?
Yes, it looks amazing and very special. I like it a lot and it’s made by our friend Fredrik Flegar (also in WALK THROUGH FIRE) which is a very talented artist. He really has his own deranged style which fits us perfectly.
Suicide Records and Give Praise Records are taking care of the distribuition. How did you team up with these labels?
Well, we where actually looking for a label that would suit us for a very long time. Pretty fast we made an agreement with Give Praise Records to release the CD, but the LP release was not an easy task to find a label for. Then we came to think about Suicide Records. We e-mailed them and the response came very fast and after a few meetings with them and some discussions back and forth, the deal was done. It’s very nice since it’s a Gothenburg based label and it’s very productive and efficient. We are very happy with both the labels and it will be great to keep working with them.
Are you still looking for more labels interested in releasing it somewhere outside the covered region?
No we are not. Suicide Records and Give Praise Records will handle this release. We do however want to release this album on cassette, so we have been looking around for a suitable label for that. But no luck so far. So if anyone out there know of any cool labels who releases cassettes, get in touch.
Ok, so tell me about that place you decided to run away to and focus on the record last year. You called it “a cottage in the woods” and it hell wicked scary! ;)
That was quite interesting and nothing any of us had done before. We just packed our gear and head out to a cabin on the countryside to focus on writing “Inhumanform”. We stayed there for 5 days and worked on the material 8 hours a day. It was very nice to just get away from everything and just focus on the music. It’s something very special to create music when you are close to the nature and don’t have any distracting elements at all. Just serenity and a nice atmosphere. It’s very inspiring.
You have teamed up with legendary producer Lennart Östlund (LED ZEPELLIN / CANDLEMASS) from Polar Studios and Sonny: Carlos Sepulveda (NO HAWAII, JOE BARESI, PSYCORE etc) to produce the album. Was it hard to reach those guys?
Carlos Sepulveda have been a friend of the band since the beginning and he also worked with us on our EP that we recorded 2011. So it was an obvious choice to involve him in this album as well. He is an amazing producer and is a big part of the Age of Woe sound. When it comes to Lennart Östlund, we would never have dreamed of getting him on this project. But fortunate for us, it turned out that Carlos had been working with Lennart before. So before we knew it, the project was on and we could just kick back and enjoy the ride. And what a sweet ride it was.
Did you enjoy Rosenhanska Magasinet?
We sure did. It was so beautiful and silent out there in the middle of nowhere in this 18th century estate and it served us great inspiration. Lennart Östlund had been thinking about doing this kind of recording at Rosenhanska for a long time, but I guess he just hadn’t found the right band for it yet until we showed up. But we absolutely loved it there and I don’t think we can grasp what actually went down and what we experienced there. Somehow it is just too unbelievable to understand. Recording and working during the day and then we ate good food, drank beer and wine and had a good time in the evening. I wish I can do every recording from now on that way.
The music for this joint was recorded live in 4 days. Quite fast, I’d say. How did you make the decision to record it this way?
That’s true. I know that Lennart wanted us to record 3 songs a day, tops. But at the end of day 1, we had recorded 7 songs already. I guess that shows how incredivly well rehearsed we were and how focused we were. I love the fact that we decided to do it this way, it gives the recording a more honest and vigorous sound. I think we realized that this was the way for us when we were doing an online live broadcasted show from the Belly of the Whale studio back in 2011. The energy and groove that we create live was something we really wanted to capture when recording the album, so the decision was not that hard to make. We wanted it to sound like we sound live, it’s as simple as that.
What do you think was the key for Lennart to produce the record? How does he work?
I think the key was that he thought it was a really interesting and fun project to do. As I said earlier, he had been thinking about doing this for quite some time and now he got a band to do it with. He was very excited about it all. So we drove up to Stockholm to get him and also to load in his mobile studio that we were going to use. Then we built up the temporary studio in the main hall of the warehouse and miked everything up, and we were ready to go. It was an amazing experience to have worked with Lennart, he’s after all a legend.
After the actual production process you headed back to Gothenburg to do vocals and mixing at Belly of the Whale studio with Carlos Sepulveda behind the desk. Would you like to share some thoughts on this part of the birth of “Inhumanform”? Also, what was the job of Brad Boatright from AudioSiege (SLEEP, HIGH ON FIRE, FROM ASHES RISE)?
Exactly. It was very nice for me to be able to record the vocals back home and without the pressure and stress that a time limit creates. So I could really take my time to record the vocals properly, which for me is the first time ever I think. Usually it’s the last thing you do when all the other instruments are recorded and you have only one day to do it, so this time it was very different. So me and Gonzo (guitar) worked in the studio with the vocals and also to record all the additional guitars and backing vocals. When we were done Carlos Sepulveda started to edit and mix the recordings.
When it was time for mastering the album, I had been talking to Brad (AudioSiege) and sent him previews of the album and he loved what he heard. He have done some really awesome work for a bunch of bands that we really like, for example: Sleep and High on Fire, so we were very excited to let him lay down the final touch on the album and the result is just mind blowing. To pair up Carlos Sepulveda and Brad Boatright was a recipe for success.
Speaking of this period of time non-musically, did something happen that affected the new album? Any additional inspirations?
I’m not sure if there was anything specific that happened during the time we wrote the album. There are things going on all the time in the world that inspires, affects and upset us. AGE OF WOE works as an outlet for all the shit that goes around and it’s a great way to transform all the anger into something positiv and productive. So no, I don’t think that there was something specific that happened during that time.
I saw your teasing the upcoming Incubate Festival, to take place in September.What about a proper tour? When and where are taking this outing for live promotion?
Incubate Festival will be amazing. A lot of cool bands will play (Mayhem, Immortal, Downfall of Gaia etc) and the idea of this big festival is just really cool. We will be doing a mini tour around that festival and we are also heading out on a 10 day tour in July to support “Inhmanform”.
How much material from the new album will be on the setlist?
Pretty much all of it. We might throw in a song or two from our previous EP as well. We will see.
Have you practiced playing the album live yet?
Yes we have. We have put quite some time and energy to build up a great live set.
What venues would you say fit the most to these new tunes?
I’ve always been a fan of small and intimate venues and I think our music fits perfectly in those kind of venues. We don’t really play your typical arena kind of music, if you know what I mean. So I’d say small to medium size venues is our choice of venue.
What does it mean to you to be driven by DIY ethics?
It means everything. It’s the driving force behind Age of Woe and it’s a way for us to remain control over everything we do. At the same time it is something that I grew up with and learned so much from. Somehow it means to help eachother out and to thrive on togetherness instead of money and fame. So I’d say it is a political way to work since you actively oppose the profit driven music industry by doing things your own way.
Ok, before I let you go… have you been listening to any interesting artists / records lately?
I’m a sucker for new bands and I always try to find new stuff I haven’t heard before. Some of the stuff I have listened a lot to lately are THE DEAD GOATS, INFINITE VOID, SANGRE DE MUERDAGO, JUNGBLUTH and of course; the new AGRIMONIA album “Rites of Separation”. All really good stuff, so check it out.
Cool. Thanks for your time, Sonny!
Thank you very much Karol for doing this and supporting AGE OF WOE. Cheers!
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