Metallic hardcore pack OBSTRUKTION recalls the dark realities through ‘Monarchs of Decay’, short tour coming up

7 mins read

In the heart of Gothenburg, a city with a rich musical history and a reputation that precedes itself in the metal genre, emerges a band that shatters conventions with their unrelenting 2021 debut album, ‘Monarchs of Decay.’ Obstruktion, a group consisting of Swedish hardcore veterans and luminaries, is a testament to the power of experience and the evolution of sound.

Their music is a reflection of their formative years, shaped by the raw intensity of their youth, yet refined by the wisdom of accumulated musical wealth. With ‘Monarchs of Decay,’ Obstruktion has unleashed a record that transcends mere genre classifications, offering a sonic experience that resonates with fans of Hatebreed, Bitter End, Obituary, Harm’s Way, and Earth Crisis.

Today, in a brief interview, we recall their story, their quality debut offering, and ask the band about their local scene in Gothenburg.

Valand by @andy_kungman
Valand by @andy_kungman

Obstruktion’s ‘Monarchs of Decay‘ isn’t your run-of-the-mill hardcore or metal album. It’s a narrative that tears through the fabric of society, exposing the arrogance of the privileged few. When asked about the personal experiences or observations that fueled this narrative, the band remains enigmatic, preferring to let listeners find their own meaning within the lyrical content. Yet, a quote from Emma Goldman, “resistance to tyranny is man’s highest ideal,” echoes through the darkness of their music, hinting at the underlying themes of defiance and resistance.

In a city like Gothenburg, known for its thriving music scene, one might expect the local history to significantly influence the themes of ‘Monarchs of Decay.’ However, Obstruktion sees their message as universal, transcending geographical boundaries. As they put it, “Göteborg is no different from the rest of the world.” Their perspective is broad, addressing power structures that demand questioning and dismantling everywhere. In a world where tyranny manifests in various forms, ‘Monarchs of Decay‘ speaks to anyone who needs to hear it.

Throughout the album’s creation, Obstruktion was confronted with the overwhelming realization that our society often perpetuates a cycle of cultural violence that we seem unwilling to break. In a poignant reflection on the current state of Sweden, they note the rise of the far-right and the government’s alignment with their agendas. Despite ample information and tools for understanding and change, society appears to willingly embrace a path of increasing violence. It’s a frustration shared by many who yearn for a world free from the grip of such aggression.

Given their rich backgrounds in bands like ANCHOR, DISAVOW, and GUST, among others, one might wonder how these diverse musical influences collide to create something as potent as ‘Monarchs of Decay.’ Obstruktion’s approach is one of synergy, where each member’s unique background contributes to a sound that defies easy categorization. Their music is a testament to the power of collaboration and a refusal to be pigeonholed.

Obstruktion’s refusal to be confined to a single genre is a deliberate choice. They tread the fine line between honoring their roots and forging new territory. In a world where musical trends ebb and flow, they remain steadfast in their commitment to creating something fresh and unique. ‘Monarchs of Decay’ stands as a testament to this ethos, a record that refuses to be confined by the expectations of genre.

As Obstruktion gears up for three shows in Germany this month, they are also preparing to record a new LP, signaling that they are in a state of perpetual motion. With their debut album, they have declared their purpose and passion, revealing a band ready to take on the world, one uncompromising note at a time.

Obstruktion’s music is a mirror reflecting the darkness of our culture, but it is also a call to arms, a reminder that resistance to tyranny is indeed humanity’s highest ideal. Learn more about it in our interview below.

Obstruktion band by @andy_kungman
Obstruktion by @andy_kungman


Ok guys, so let’s go back to 2021, when you released ‘Monarchs of Decay’. We never had a chance to talk about it. This fierce debut offering tears through social constructs. What kind of personal experiences or observations fueled this narrative?

When writing the record, it felt important to not go into details about the lyrical concept of the album, or the musical either for that matter. We wanted to encourage listener involvement and interpretation. With that said, the entire thing deals with the tyranny of the few, over the many, and the different layers of that reality. Emma Goldman said “resistance to tyranny is man’s highest ideal. So long as tyranny exists, in whatever form, man’s deepest aspiration must resist it as inevitably as man must breathe.” and that quote seems to have stuck with me.

It addressed the violence of culture. How does Gothenburg’s local scene and history influence or contrast with this theme?

The way I see it, Göteborg is no different from the rest of the world. There are power structures that need to be questioned and defeated everywhere. The perspective of “Monarchs of Decay” is broad and general, to involve the listener and speak to whoever needs it.

You’ve mentioned that the album is built around our unwillingness to break the cycle of cultural violence. Can you share a moment during the album’s creation when this theme became overwhelmingly apparent to you?

I feel like that’s one thing I’ve come back to frequently ever since I started really looking at the world, trying to understand it. We have all this information about what’s going on, and we also have a rich set of tools to understand why, and ultimately bring things around, but it often seems like we deliberately choose not to.

The development in Sweden lately obviously serves as a great example of this. For well over a decade now we’ve seen the far-right rise to heights most probably didn’t see coming, and it seems like nothing’s going to halt their madness. Instead, almost all of the other parties are following them to various extents, and as of right now they’re basically ruling the country completely.

We see our government work hard to make the rich and privileged even richer, separate people from each other, and the climate is being completely neglected. Instead of working towards an end to the violence of our culture, they’re working hard to increase it even more. A majority of our population voted for these parties, knowing about their respective histories, and common agendas. It is beyond my comprehension.

Obstruktion by @marwil74
Obstruktion by @marwil74

Gothenburg has quite a reputation for its music scene, especially in the metal genre. How has the local scene shaped Obstruktion, or how does Obstruktion plan to reshape the local scene?

Even though we might not sound much like the most influential bands from our city, we certainly do hold them very dear to our hearts. I’d say one of the things I love the most about Obstruktion is we, as individuals as well as a collective, operate and partake, across the entire underground, and we’re not just involved with a single sub-culture. Our band’s expression also seems to attract quite a variety of people, possibly because we ourselves are huge fans of underground culture and music of all forms. With that said, it is an honor to be a little part in the current wave of Göteborg Hardcore, which has been amazing for quite a while now, and if we can connect, through our shows and our music, with the younger generation coming in there we’re super happy.

Can you give us some hot new names of local bands worth a solid check in 2023?

They’re certainly not new, but I’ve always loved FREDAG DEN 13. They’ve been around forever and seem unstoppable. They just put out a new album too. Beautiful people, phenomenal band.

I also really like RESSENTIMENT, which is our bassist Anton and guitarist E. They put out a demo a while ago. Anyone who’s into power violence will dig them.

CHILD is a great grind/death metal band from here. They also released an album earlier this year and it rules.

You’ve got members from diverse bands like ANCHOR, DISAVOW, and GUST, among others. How do these different musical backgrounds collide to create something like ‘Monarchs of Decay’?

It seems to me like my journey of creating music has always been an action/reaction kind of thing, where a current endeavor always has been a reaction to the one thing before.

When Obstruktion started I really wanted to make heavy, aggressive music, and somewhat also have it be a tribute to bands I grew up loving, like Sepultura, Obituary, Crowbar or Earth Crisis and Turmoil. I have no idea if that comes through, but in that sense, I guess it was a reaction to ANCHOR, for example.

DISAVOW has always been this simplistic punk thing, which in many ways is exactly what we’re doing here too. We’re just heavier and more dystopian.

Despite your rich backgrounds in hardcore and metal, the band doesn’t stick to one genre. How do you find that sweet spot between honoring your roots and breaking new ground?

I think that’s one of the most beautiful things about creating music – on one hand it’s highly intentional and within your control, whereas on the other it’s strictly instinctual, and even beyond your control. Certain forms of expression, rhythms and harmonies just resonate with you for some reason, and you therefore gravitate towards them. Perhaps without seeing it yourself.

We’ve all grown up loving a broad variety of music, regardless of how the bands in question have been defined or defined themselves. For me personally, I just wanna find that something that intrigued me as kid, discovering new bands, but not knowing much about them – and try to bring some of that into our music, if possible.

Two and a half years since the release of ‘Monarchs of Decay’, what are your plans for the coming months?

First, we have a couple of German shows coming up by the end of this month, in addition to that we’ll do a handful of shows around our area too. Parallel to that we’ve also started working on new material, and we’re very excited about that of course.


Karol Kamiński

DIY rock music enthusiast and web-zine publisher from Warsaw, Poland. Supporting DIY ethics, local artists and promoting hardcore punk, rock, post rock and alternative music of all kinds via IDIOTEQ online channels.
Contact via [email protected]

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