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Maceration – “We use the HM2 chainsaw pedal on the new album and got exactly the sound we wanted”

maceration – “we use the hm2 chainsaw pedal on the new album and got exactly the sound we wanted”

Info

When one of the earliest Danish Death Metal bands, formed by two Invocator members, recently reformed and even put out a brand new album, the long-awaited follow-up to 1992’s ‘A Serenade Of Agony’, an album regarded by some as a cult classic. Released at the end of 2022, this new album, ‘It Never Ends…’ was not only a surprise in itself (who would have reckoned the band would return?), but its excellent authentic sound that makes you think time has stood still. Yet it has a fuller and more supportive sound than its predecessor from three decades ago. All in all, ample reason to put band member of the earliest years, Jakob Schultz through his paces…

 

Hi Jakob, thanks for accepting the interview request and welcome to VM-Underground!
Thanks for the interest in Maceration! My pleasure!

Let’s first go back to the early 90’s when Maceration was founded. It kind of sprung out of the minds of the two Invocator guitarists, what was the initial aim when laying down the earliest foundations for Maceration?
Maceration started as a fun project but developed into something more serious. It was a sideproject, and when I left Invocator I picked up Maceration and re-started that again for a year. The intention was to have a band beside Invocator to play more brutal stuff in the vein of the bands from Sweden and Florida. We loved death metal so we also wanted to do that style..

I guess Maceration probably had some kind of role in Denmark, but we didn’t think about it back then – we just had fun doing Maceration. When we did the album and got Dan Swanö to do vocals and we where two members from Invocator we automatically got attention from the scene, because then people knew the album was serious business. But off course it was Invocator that paved the way for both Maceration and also for a band like Illdisposed.

Apart from a live demo, Maceration was only able to release one album, ‘A Serenade Of Agony’. How do you look back on that album with today’s eyes?
It is very cool that it has a classic status, but we were never completely satisfied with the production. It was just an almost impossible thing back then to go to a studio in Denmark and find someone who knew anything about how to make a cool metal production. We had some ideas that it should be a production reminiscent of something Scott Burns/Morrisound like on Massacre’s “From Beyond”, but it didn’t quite turn out that way. There are some good ideas in many of the tracks, but there are also things that were not well thought out, but 30 years ago it was also a different time. But today the record is still its own and not much still sounds like Maceration did or does.

I wrote that the way Maceration ended must have been quite unsatisfactory. Can you take us back to those days and share some thoughts of the band in its last days?
When I left Invocator in the summer of 92, we (Lars and I) found some other members and played some concerts with, among others, Gorguts, Blasphemy, Deadhead, Beyond Belief, etc., around Denmark and Holland, but it never came to be exactly as we wanted it to be and then it was put on ice a little bit by itself. It just ended because people had other stuff to focus on.

Personally I was rather surprised to see the band resurface. When did you get the idea of resurrecting the band and what was the actual motivation behind it?
Michael from Emanzipation Productions was the one asking us to do a new album and if we would do it – he would release it. So we worked with him from the start. He got the thing started so big thanks to him. And also he thought that we should ask Dan. We got in contact with Dan and told him about our plans. First he said no because he had given up singing and also he didn’t actually growl on anything since the Edge of Sanity days, so he said it was impossible, but he would for sure mix and produce the album. We thought about it for a while and worked on the songs and I got in touch with him again, and he said he had been thinking about it and would like to give it a try.

If I am correct most of you weren’t active metal musicians for a good couple of years… What have you been doing in the meantime? Were you still involved in anything metal related?
I was always involved in the metal scene. I was the edifor of Metalized magazine for many years, and I also had a hardcore band SELF, whom we released an album with in 1998, but that band also never lasted long. Then I have been trying to do a couple of other projects but being busy with family, kids, job it never became a reality, so now I have the time for it. But I have always been a metalhead for all the years I was not an active musician. Thats just a part of your identity and life

In my review for ‘It Never Ends…’ I made another few assumptions, one of them is that besides the two of you the rest of the old band members were seemingly not all too interested in reforming Maceration. Can you enlighten how things really went when you brought the band back to life?
It was naturally only Lars and me. Jacob played drums back then in Maceration but it was a side project and even if he was interested he would not play the drums. I talked to him about it and he even don’t realize that he could play the drums back then when we recorded, because he is a guitarist. So like when we split last time in 1993 it was just finding som new members – and off course having Dan do the sessions vocals again on the recording.

Another one was that you were not able to find a suitable new vocalist and that might have been the motivation to ask Dan Swanö back at the microphone. The reason for me to think this as you now have a full-time vocalist in the person of Jan Bergmann Jepsen Can you tell us about the position of vocalists in the band?
Our no. 1 singer for the album was Dan Swano so it was our idea to have him record vocals again. We knew he was not interested in being in a band again and back then he was also just a session vocalist. So it was naturally for us to do it that way and have a live singer and actually he is also doing vocals in two songs on the album. In “Tender Twigs of Innocence” he’s singing the duet with Dan Swano. And also a part in the titlesong.

Speaking of Swanö, what was the reason he participated on ‘A Serenade Of Agony’ under a pseudonym, ‘Day Disyraah’, and do you have any clue what that means?
It really meant a lot to that record. Rune had chosen to leave the band and it was he who sang most of the songs. We had tried several singers at home, but there wasn’t really anyone who could deliver the goods. We knew Dan because we had played several gigs with Edge of Sanity in Invocator and they were also at Black Mark. In fact, Edge of Sanity and Invocator were signed almost at the same time to Black Mark when we played in Nörrköping with Entombed. Dan introduced us to Börje Forsberg from Black Mark at that gig and off we went. Therefore it was obvious that we had Dan in mind as a singer, but also because we knew he was talented. We asked him and he thought it was cool, so he jumped on a plane and was in the studio in Odense for two days. Then the task was done. He was pretty amazing and everything was almost the first take on his recordings. He also improvised the piano intro that we have on the first track on the record. He just did it right in the studio in minutes, so we were very impressed. He was also in on some of the lyrics. In fact, all the texts were not finished when we had to go to the studio, so we wrote a bit during the breaks and in the evening. The reason he appeared under a different name is due to Edge of Sanity’s contract with Black Mark, so he could not appear on releases that other companies put out.

How, in general, were the reactions to Maceration’s return and the new album?
The reactions have been absolutely awesome. Only good reviews from magazines in the whole world. So its very cool to see the positive vibes about the new album.

To me personally, the most remarkable thing about ‘It Never Ends…’ is the great sound. It feels as if you guys went looking for a sound that gives the music a real update, production wise, without loosing anything of the band’s old school roots. It really sounds genuinely authentic and real punchy at the same time.
Very happy about the sound and production and it came out as we wanted. It’s new and fresh but still very old school and also have a much better overall recording process and better mix and production than the debut  – all that which was not possible back in 1991 when we recorded the first album and no one in the studio knew how death metal should sound. And we use the HM2 chainsaw pedal on the new album and got exactly the sound we wanted – because Dan Swanö who also produced and mixed the new album just know how this shall sound. We actullay also did use that pedal back then 30 years ago, but well that production never became that great.

The album is also nicely decorated with excellent artwork. Can you take us into the album’s concept/lyrics? What was the main inspiration for ‘It Never Ends…’?
Ola Larsson who did the artwork is just amazing so I just knew I wanted to get in touch with him and he came up with this cool idea. The artwork and the tentacles can in my opinion also be reffered to an abstract reflection to strings from your mind or thoughts, nightmares and inner pain. These are always subjects we cover in the lyrics – its actually maybe metafors for all things happening in the human mind and thoughts – and also about the reflections about life, death etc. But I think you can have your own ideas and mirror them to your own abstractions.

Emanzipation Records took care of the physical product, they are a Danish label who are doing a good job in releasing nice and interesting new albums as well as reissues. Yet, I have read some complaints on their distribution. How would you grade your collaboration with the label?
We have been very happy about the whole process. Everything very professional and I have not heard any problems about distribution issues.

The new album is titled ‘It Never Ends…’, so can we consider Maceration to be fully and definitely back to the front? Assuming you are, what can we expect from you in the (near) future?
Yeah …. there will definitely be another album. Maybe in 2024.

One last question, a more personal one perhaps, but I always like to ask this one. What do you consider the most influential records for you as a person/musician? And, what were the latest albums you have bought or listened to a lot?
For me as a musician and metafan there are differences – because being young it was Priest, Maiden, Venom, Motörhead, Kiss that brought me into the heavier music and changed my projection and I began listening and I took all the new bands in back then who made more extreme music so bands like Mercyful Fate, Celtic Frost, Slayer, Metallica, Exodus, Dark Angel etc. And when I began playing guitar it was off course those who also inspired me in Invocator, bands like Death, Kreator, Slayer, Dark Angel and then Morbid Angel and Entombed. The latest albums I have listened to a lot is the new Obituary album, the new Demonical album and Danish hardcore band called Nexø.

Thanks for your time, the last words are yours…
Thank you so much for your interest in Maceration. It means alot to us that there are enthusiasts out there doing magazines like you and keep the scene alive!