Introducing Nepehente - our Scandinavian correspondent

Metal as Fuck has a stack of regular columnists, and we're going to introduce these guys to you one by one. For starters, we'd like you to meet Nephente: our Scandinavian correspondent. Nephente checks in with us every couple of months, writing about metal, metal culture, and all things from the North.


1. Can you give us a bit of your background - in terms of how you got into metal, the bands you've been in, and a bit of your band - and how you came to be writing for Metal as Fuck?

I know the exact moment I knew I was a metal head. I was 9 and saw the video for the W.A.S.P. tune I wanna be somebody on Swedish television. I had never seen anything that had such an impact on me and I was hooked instantly. From that point on it has been a journey into different aspects of metal and in the late 80:s I found the more extreme domains of doom, thrash, death and black metal and I have had not looked back since. I do listen to a lot of different music but I will always come back to the death and black metal albums from 89-94 for inspiration when I find nothing new that gets me going.


2. What drives you to get out and see shows locally? 

The only time I feel complete at ease is when I am at a venue, big or small doesn't matter, and watch a band perform. I am usually standing centre stage in front of the mixing console to get good audio and to avoid being disturbed. I will remain in that spot for as long as I am alive. It is the reason to exist and spite the fact that the crowds and styles change over the years the experience is still just as strong. Nothing can top a band performing their music and the energy of a crowd when the magic just happens. 


3. What's your local scene like? Is it really quite strong, and have you noticed patterns where it's dipped and changed and something else (in terms of trends) has emerged? 

The scene in Sweden, and I guess in all of Scandinavia, is in constant change though it is slow that it's sometimes hard to notice it. What has made me react a bit is that a lot of bands emerged in the early 90s and they are still around but there are fewer new bands on the intermediate or high level. It seems to be harder to get "accepted" and those bands that does get recognition all seem to be backed by bigger labels. It is harder from underground bands to rise on their own merits nowadays. Perhaps because the old bands still are around and that there are relatively few venues currently makes it hard to make room for new talent. 

There are vast amounts of bands around and a lot of them are good but very few are able to escape the gravitational pull and get recognised. So that might be something that has changed a bit but I wouldn't know if it is a trend but I hope so, if that means it could change into something where talent and good songs can take you all the way. As a result of this need for bigger label backing a band in order for them to "make it" also make some new bands sound a bit to calculated for my taste.  They play music they think will "work" rather than what is their true passion and that is of course sad and nobody will remember those bands ten years from now.


4. If you were asked to predict the most popular movement, or subgenre, of metal for the coming year, what would you say?

I would guess the rather polished Americanised sound where metal acts combine raw and clean vocals seems to stick for yet another while but at the same time I have noticed a rising number of bands playing really dirty black metal. So there is a reaction and a counter reaction going on. I find that rather interesting! But I am still waiting for a band that can offer something really new and creative, it is not so easy to pinpoint any band that has really made an impact when it comes to introducing a new sound in a while.


5. What's the craziest thing you've ever seen at a metal show?

I think it actually was when the Swedish police tried to make everybody leave the Deicide concert in Stockholm in 1992 after someone had detonated a bomb at a door backstage.  Nobody wanted to leave and Deicide refused to leave the stage. It became a rather interesting setting with the band performing with all lights on in the hall and riot police entering meeting an angry crowd. Finally they dragged the band off stage and police with riot gear made us in the audience leave. In hindsight it is of course a crazy moment because they of course feared more people getting injured but that was the least thankful people being “rescued ” ever. Deicide only got to play four songs if I remember it correctly but kicked ass and I remember being damn happy to have seen them live spite the fact that some lunatic with a home made bomb ended the whole thing so quickly.


6. And the best and worst shows? Why were they such?

The most perfect show actually was At the Gates live at Philmore NYC during the summer of 2008. I saw them eight times during the reunion tour but the first show in NYC was the perfect combination of a band performing at their very best and the most vibrant crowd I have ever witnessed. Everyone sang along to every word drowning Tomas completely, that was the most massive experience I have had so far and it will be hard to top. 

I have thought about the worst one but I will let those memories rest. I usually concentrate on beer if the show sucks, that way I am always a winner at every sort of concert. 


7. What is one band that you've never seen live, that you would quite literally kill to see?

To be totally unrealistic it would be Bathory live at the release of Hammerheart. But it was of course never possible since Bathory never performed live. Another choice would be be Death at the time they released Human, that would only demand some time travel.