Hans gets up close and personal with Swedish melodic death metal band Meadows End and the whole band joins in to give some insight.
Meadows End is a melodic/symphonic death metal band from Sweden that released a monster of an album in June 2014. It’s so strong, in fact, it’ll make my year end top 20 list, but before talking about the album I wanted the band to introduce themselves to our readers and also describe the meaning behind their name.
Jan: Meadows End formed in 1998. Before that we were four guys playing Sepultura influenced metal. Then the Gothenburg metal with In Flames, Dark Tranquility, and At the Gates started to get a hold of us. Keyboards were added to the band and we recorded our first demo, Beyond Tranquil Dreams the same year. Not long after I (JD) left the town for university studies. The band was kept alive but things got down-prioritized much due to the geographical distance. We managed to record a few more demos and eventually even the Somber Nation’s Fall EP but things were kept on a hobby basis. When we released the Dead Calm Rise EP my studies were finished and we decided to put more energy into this. Unfortunately two of our members decided to leave at that point.
We started scouting new members and struggled hard but in 2009 the last piece of the puzzle was laid by adding Johan ‘The Brute’ Brandberg to the lineup. We started finishing the songs we had in the pipe and in December 2010 we digitally released Ode to Quietus and in March 2011 the CDs arrived. We started writing new material later the same year and in June 2014 we released our second full length The Sufferwell.
Today Meadows End is:
Johan ‘The Brute’ Brandberg: vocals
Jan Dahlberg: guitar, vocals
Robin Mattsson: keyboards & orchestrations
Mats Helli: bass
Rikard Öqvist: guitar
Daniel Tiger: drums
There’s not actually much meaning behind the name Meadows End. We ran across a site back in the days who covered metal news with the name “At the meadow’s end.” It caught our eye and Meadow’s End was born. Later we removed the apostrophe to Meadows End for technical and graphical reasons.
After the introduction I wanted to focus a bit on the new album, The Sufferwell, starting with its reception.
Johan: Overwhelming & encouraging! Majority of the reviews have been awesome & a lot of attention from people with, obvious, great taste!
While on the topic of The Sufferwell, I pointed out that structurally it’s quite different from the previous album, Ode to Quietus, which was less punchy and more focused on varied structures and riffs.
Robin: We wanted the album to be like a journey. We don’t want our listeners to feel that when they’ve heard one song they’ve heard them all and that is one of the reasons we put a ballad in the middle of the album, giving the listeners one song to rest their ears.
I couldn’t help but ask which songs each band member liked the most.
Rikard: “Ur Askan” because it sounds unique and the vocals are more convincing when they are performed in Johan’s native language.
Johan: “Kings of Greed,” crushing song with catchy chorus.
Jan: “Kings of Greed.” The bridge always gets me going, perfect (but dangerous) for driving!
Mats: “Ur Askan” and “Reap” for me. “Ur Askan” for the melodies, the chorus and the awesome solo, “Reap” for the rhythm and the heavy ass general feel of the song.
Daniel: “Kings of Greed” is what hits you first when you start listening to the album and it starts the whole party for a reason. It’s a badass song!
Robin: The favourite right now is “Kings of Greed.” It’s fast and brutal and I’m having a lot of fun playing.
I then shifted gears slightly and asked about a promotional video for “Devilspeed Loathekill,” which features a series of clips of fans headbanging to the song, and even one guy taking a piss. My curiosity rested in the inspiration for the collaborative effort and if there are there plans for something similar in the future.
Daniel: That was a fun project! It started out as a collaboration with metalyoutuber Ed “Infidelamsterdam” Veter who thought that we should do something together on his channel and this idea came up. It turned out really well, the contribution from the fans was amazing! I still watch it regulary and I always get that warm feeling inside! We would definitely want to do some more of that stuff in the future! When the ideas and the time is right, something will happen for sure!
Meadows End is still an independent band two albums into their career, so I wondered if they were considering record contracts.
Mats: We’ve had contacts with labels from several countries through the years, but we haven’t found the right kind of partnership as of yet. It would be really nice to have a company backing us up and sending us on tours, but it’s a tough business with lots of great bands. And on the other hand, it fits us nicely to be independent as well, since we get to have full control over the songs, the production, the merchandise and so on.
One track on The Sufferwell (“Ur Askan”) is written entirely in Swedish, which I thought was unusual for death metal. I asked about that decision and if more songs in the future would also feature Swedish lyrics.
Mats: I’ve actually wanted us to incorporate Swedish in our music for a long time now, but the rest of the band hasn’t been as passionate about it. I got to write the lyrics for one song on The Sufferwell and I thought “Now is the time” and I wrote it in Swedish. The other guys were still skeptic from the beginning, but after our first rehearsal with Brute vocalising it – the doubt vanished. I think Swedish is a powerful language for song lyrics and I would love to write more songs in our native tongue from now on.
I was then curious about the songwriting process for Meadows End, including influences.
Jan: It starts with me (JD) writing an entire song with riffs, beats and melodies. I present that to the rest of the band and together we bash the shit out of it and change if and where it’s needed. Rob creates a lot of the adding orchestrations at home afterwards. Not always do we agree on stuff and that’s always interesting since we listen to a lot of different music in this band. But we’ve worked hard on being constructive and always having the best for a song and/or the band in mind.
For me, influences are actually everywhere. I can pick up interesting structures in other all kinds of music, metal or even pop. Movies, everything… I tend to always keep my ears active for things that attract me.
I suppose an odd question, but I thought it would be interesting to find out if the band would’ve done anything differently in the past.
Jan: Not sure that we/I would’ve changed anything actually. Perhaps putting more time and energy to get gigs and to promote Meadows End. But priorities are where they are for a reason and I’m content being on our way up at the moment. Had we changed something perhaps we would’ve been in a different spot but what had we lost in the equation instead. So no, I say we look forward and focus on our next project to come!
And then, looking five years into the future, what were their realistic objectives.
Daniel: In five years we have put out another album and made a couple of tours! Realistically dreaming!
And onto tours and live shows.
Robin: We play live as often as we can, which isn’t too often unfortunately. First of all the competition in Sweden is very tough since pretty much everyone you know play in a metal band, and secondly we’ve been focusing on The Sufferwell at 100% leaving no time to even think about playing live. Hopefully The Sufferwell will get us some gigs!
Finally, to end with some fun questions, the World Cup came to mind. This is what the band had to say on their hopefuls.
Johan: Zlatania. But Germany is cool too.
Jan: It has been a strange cup with underdogs playing some great soccer, Colombia for example. At the beginning I was hoping for Germany and they can gladly win it all, but it would be quite amazing if Colombia managed to nick it!
Rikard: I’d rather watch paint dry.
And then, lastly, I wanted to know what other bands and albums the guys are checking out right now.
Rikard: Rodrigo y Gabriella – 9 Dead Alive
Johan: Vampire – Vampire or Aborted – The Necrotic Manifesto
Robin: I’ve been going through all albums from Opeth while taking walks lately. Other than that, I don’t listen to too much music these days.
Mats: Opeth – Pale Communion
Daniel: The new one from Mastodon is really cool! Can’t wait for the new Opeth album either! I suppose they changed the release date from the same as ours for good reasons though.
Jan: I’m looking forward to The Haunted’s new album. And of course it’ll be cool to see what At the Gates are cooking.
After all these questions I thanked the band for taking the time to participate in the interview and asked if they wanted to leave any final words.
Thanks for all the support and the feedback on The Sufferwell, totally amazing! We really hope that more of you’ll come to enjoy it! Support us by following us on social media and buying our stuff, that’ll ensure more will come from Meadows End.
Thanks for reading and for the interview!