I recently stumbled across one of the most interesting metal bands I’ve heard in quite some time that hails from Sweden. They go by the name of Noctum, and they just released a new record on Oct. 29 through Metal Blade entitled Final Sacrifice.
Tobias Rosén, the group’s bassist, took the time to chat with us about their experience working with a label, releasing the “heaviest” music of their careers, touring, and much more. Check it out below:
First and foremost, I wanted to congratulate you guys on all of your recent success. You are gearing up for the release of Final Sacrifice. Can you tell us a little bit about the theme of this record?
Final Sacrifice is a concept album where every lyric has a connection to each other. The album in general has a more profound and darker touch to it, and I would say we took more time developing that kind of thing on this album. But it’s hard to say what the actual themes are; I think the progression of Noctum would have to speak for itself on this album. It’s everyone out there to form his or her own impression of the album’s essence.
How has the experience with Metal Blade been thus far?
It’s been great! Haven’t collected so much experience of them yet, but my impression so far is that they are nice people and really support what we do. I have no complaints whatsoever. They did a good job editing the lyric video for “Temple Of The Living Dead.” I was worried that it would turn cheesy, but it turned out good!
For a major label, I think they are awesome. I maybe expected them to be a bit more non-compromising and strict, but they seem to meet our views and needs. I hope the future cooperation will run as smoothly as it has so far. We actually met [Metal Blade CEO/founder] Brian Slagel when he was visiting Stockholm to chat, have a few drinks and talk about metal. It was nice!
I read recently that this release is noticeably heavier than most of your work. Is this true? I cannot wait to hear it!
Yes, I would say that is true. The ‘70s bluesy riffs have kind of vanished. Now it’s more straightforward, heavy metal-driven music, I guess. I think that fitted us better and felt natural to go into that direction. But it still sounds like Noctum, with the rock-driven force in it. If I have to refer to bands, I would say this upcoming album sounds like a mix between early Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath and Mercyful Fate.
I saw a glimpse of the album art. Is there a strong meaning behind it?
Yes, the album artwork reflects the lyrics and concept of the album. The colors and the feeling you get of the artwork I would say really fit the atmosphere in the music as well—kind of naked, dark and raw.
The artwork was drawn up by Timo Ketola. He has provided album artwork for a lot of Swedish death/black metal bands. We liked what he had drawn and thought his drawing style would fit our album concept.
Out of the nine tracks that made the final cut, was there a lot of material you decided not to put on the record?
Yes, there was. We have recorded demos on all songs that we’ve played in the past two years, and listen and picked songs that were nice. A lot of songs were actually thrown away—those who kind of didn’t fit the heavier approach that we have reached.
Personally, I think there is one track on Final Sacrifice that I don’t think fit with the rest of the songs, and that is the instrumental song “Deadly Connection.” It’s quite good, but it doesn’t really fit with what we are doing now.
You guys have toured Europe a lot lately. Are there any plans for a U.S. run in the near future?
We did one small tour in Germany and Austria last year, but that’s it. It was with the band Orcus Chylde, and it was various qualities of the venues. The last gig in Cologne was really good; hopefully it will be more of those types of gigs in the near future.
There are plans and ideas going over to the U.S., but there are no firm plans in tours right now. But it would be fun touring the East Coast—have heard a lot of good things about playing there, and spread rock music across the Atlantic.
What would you say are the biggest differences between the metal scenes out in Sweden compared to the United States?
I would like to play in the U.S. before I can give you a good answer to that. But I’ve heard that it has a lot of similarities to Europe, and the audiences are dedicated. A lot of good bands come from the U.S., both old and new bands. But I can imagine it being more restricted there over there, and far less liberal as in Europe. But I would like to experience playing over there to see the differences.
I have a really hard [time believing] that there’s an audience that’s more dedicated than the Germans. They all love what you do and want you to sign every record that they buy.
What are some bands that you guys are into right now?
It’s different for each of us. I try to keep myself updated when it comes to new bands, and I have noticed some good new ones that have emerged. You should check out the Gothenburg act Horisont. Personally, at the moment, I would say I listen to a lot of old, forgotten NWOBHM bands, and Swedish acts as well, like Heavy Load and Gotham City. Totally brilliant!
For people who aren’t too familiar with Noctum yet, what is the best way for fans to find out more?
Listen to the new album when it comes out. I would say the previous material has very little to do with our developing sound. The progression from our latest release [The Fiddler EP] to this upcoming album is really huge. You should check out the new lyric video for the track “Temple Of The Living Dead” while patiently waiting for the new album.
Noctum’s new album, Final Sacrifice, is available now through Metal Blade Records. For more information, go to noctumofficial.com.