My Dream Band; Diabolical's Carl Stjarnlov

Sweden's Diabloical have a new album out soon, so we decided to have a chat with guitarist Carl about a few people he'd like to see working together in his 'dream band'...

So, welcome to our happy band of headbangers, Mr Stjarnlov - what's happening in your world at the minute? "I play guitar in Diabolical. We’re from Stockholm, Sweden, and we’re about to release our fifth album which is entitled Neogenesis. It’s a pretty unique concept album that comes with a post-apocalyptic novel where every chapter of the book is connected to a song on the album. Musically we play death metal but we’ve spiced up this album with a full choir and a string orchestra. That doesn’t mean we’ve softened though, there’s plenty of blasts and crushing riffs in there".

I'd expect nothing less. And our readers will be able to read a review of Neogenesis in the fullness of time. But we're here today to chat about your dream band, and that's where I'm steering this conversation now. Who's going to front this idyllic outfit? "Needless to say I very much like our own vocalist Sverker. His growl is deep and aggressive yet he has very good pronunciation which makes it possible to actually hear the lyrics. If I couldn’t choose him I would go for any of the other best growlers out there like Dave Vincent of Morbid Angel or Mikael Åkerfeldt from Opeth. Åkerfeldt’s diversity and clean voice might make him the preferred choice".

OK, so I get the idea with the direction we're heading in here. Now, guitarists: One or two, and how are you going to deploy them? "First off: why settle for two players? We have three in Diabolical which makes it possible to reproduce some parts on the albums that actually use both rhythm guitars and harmonised leads when we play live. If I were to choose guitarists I’d be looking for guys who don’t necessarily excel as instrumentalists, I think it’s much more important to have “it” as a musician, meaning the ability to play what is most beneficial for a song and to be able to come up with parts that really catches your attention. Sweeping up and down the fret board and doing gymnastics might impress other guitarists aspiring to prove themselves in the same manner but as a listener I couldn’t care less about someone jerking off a guitar. A lead or a solo with only three notes might do much more for a song and that’s what I’m looking for. So basically I’m looking for really good musicians who play guitar. In that category I’d look for people like Ihsahn, Ivar Bjørnson from Enslaved or Steven Wilson from Porcupine Tree".

A good point well made. Three guitarists it is! And now to the bottom end. Nominate a bassist please! "I’ll throw in a curve ball here and say Peter Kubik from Abigor because of the way he played bass on the masterpiece Fractal Possession and Time... where the bass played an impressive role in the song structures. The bass here formed not only a firm backbone to the songs but was also playing a big part in the melodies and the overall impression of the songs. That’s what bass is all about.'

This is shaping up to be an intriguing unit! Who's going to keep time? "There are lots of great drummers out there. I think it’s important for a drummer to not only be fast and technical but also be very musical and be able to perform parts that in themselves tell a story of their own while intertwining with the structure of the part or song. That’s what I really love about our drummer Pär because he really possesses that rare gift. Other drummers who can play like that include for example Brann Dailor from Mastodon"

Okey dokey. Finally - any other sidemen or women to add a bit of colour and texture? "I’ll throw in Brendan Perry from Dead Can Dance and he can bring in his whole arsenal of weird instruments, provide soulful vocals and write some really interesting parts to fit in between the blasts and the heavy riffing. That would sure be interesting".

By Christ it would. Thanks Carl - I have to say this lineu has actually got me fired up - if ony we could make it happen!


Neogenesis will be released by ViciSolum Productions on the 27th of September.