Interview with Twin Brothers Bassist Tyrant & Vocalist Hellbutcher
NIFELHEIM contains past members of iconic, Swedish death metal groups such as NECROPHOBIC and ENTOMBED. On paper, it would seem this group is mostly likely to walk the left hand path of the Stockholm death metal tradition, but that is not the case. Sure, the influence is there, but is a mere sprinkling, possibly a sprinkling of gasoline onto an old Nordic church, but these godless heathens proudly carry the touch of early satanic heavy metal. Bands such as fellow Swedes BATHORY, VENOM, SODOM, KREATOR and IRON MAIDEN made an impression on this band that has remained throughout their career. One reason this group has kept this classic, dark sound is due to founding, constant members Tyrant (bass) and Hellbutcher (vocals). These twin brothers, aka Erik and Per Gustavsson, form the core of the group. After a documentary about heavy metal fans aired in Sweden in 1998, Tyrant and Hellbutcher were given the nickname "Bröderna Hårdrock" which translates to "The Hard Rock Brothers" in English. Throughout the years, NIFELHEIM has released a number of splits, EPs, tribute albums and full-length recordings. Recently, they released “Envoy of Lucifer,” a pile-driving, Baphomet-worshiping, spikes-and-leather orgy of pure speed that still burns the torch of true heavy metal. The Hard Rock Brothers spoke to Metal Centre via email about this aural threat. Prepare to be bound, gagged, skinned and sacrificed to the Gods of dark metal!
Tell our readers about your newest album, “Envoy of Lucifer?”
Tyrant: Our new album is an attack against humanity and everything that exists!
It’s an orgy in hate, violence, abominations, darkness, death, and chaos!
Hellbutcher: It has been seven years since our last full length album, so we thought it was about time to make a real black metal album! It is pure Metal!!!
What was the recording process like for this album?
Tyrant: We started the recording in the beginning of may 2007, and recorded drums bass and guitar. It all went very well. Actually, most of it is first takes. I remember we were a bit surprised how fast it got perfect. The guitar was played through a guitar amp called Malboro that Hellbutcher had bought on a flea market for about $10! It really has the old BATHORY sound, which is what we always wanted! Then in the middle of the recording, we went on tour with VENOM. That was great, of course, and gave us even more inspiration to finish the recording in July. There is no cutting or editing in the recording! It is strictly analogue and we put our pride in playing for real instead of some hip-hop-influenced recording technique! What you hear is what we play!
In the album’s liner notes, you stated the album was “strictly recorded analog.” Why do you feel it was important to record in this mode?
Tyrant: Nowdays, everything sounds the same: over compressed,digital-sounding shit everywhere! I like the analogue sound much better...as you may have noticed.
The statement was made to explain to all morons that we can play our instruments instead of play computer games with sound! Ok!
Hellbutcher: A lot of bands even use pre-recorded samples when playing live, and that is something we hate!
Thomas Holm created your cover art, but your band nefariously conceived the concept. What is the concept of the cover art? How did you come up with this idea?
Tyrant: It is pretty simple. It shows death coming out from the mouth of hell to take everything! This is the envoy of Lucifer!
For those who don't know, Thomas Holm did the cover artwork for “Melissa “and “Don´t Break the Oath” by MERCYFUL FATE and others.
What are your thoughts on the track “Storm of the Reaper?”
Tyrant: It’s a track I wrote sometime not to long ago. I think it is fucking brilliant!
All the songs on “Envoy of Lucifer” have killer parts that stand out, but one song in particular, “No More Life,” stands out above the other tracks. The part I’m talking about is the marching chorus. What were you going for with this part?
Tyrant: I had a strong vision about since 2003 and suddenly I had this song finished. It is actually one of the songs I am most pleased in the history of NIFELHEIM. It never gets boring even thou it is nearly eight minutes long.. and it’s even dynamic...and of course it is so dark! It is influenced a lot by IRON MAIDEN and even a bit of MERCYFUL FATE. The marching chorus is something that just came there.
Old school thrash, heavy metal, and early black metal get your satanic juices flowing. NIFELHEIM also incorporates a hint of newer black metal and death metal. When you’re writing a song, how do you make all these styles fit?
Tyrant: I’m fucking tired of all these different styles of everything! Fuck everything! I don't care what people think, I play exactly how I want without thinking of that shit! Simple as that! And still we are one of the only bands that play hard & fast Pure Metal! Old school, new school...
fuck school, burn it down!
Considering Tyrant and Hellbutcher are twins, do you two find it easy to work together?
Tyrant: No. We hate each other, but we have the same taste (for blood).
Who discovered metal first, Tyrant or Hellbutcher.
Tyrant: We discovered it at the same time.
You are playing a couple festivals in Europe this summer. Beyond those festival dates, I don’t see any tour dates. Is NIFELHEIM only a festival band?
Hellbutcher: No! But we are not a band that plays all gigs we are offered; we try to choose gigs with other true metal bands we respect, like VENOM for example, but that is unfortunately not always the case. We also prefer to play on big stages where our stage show fits. NIFELHEIM is not a band you can just go and see at your local venue or gig place any day. To see us live is quite rare, and that is how we want it to be.
I do not remember NIFELHEIM ever coming over to America. Seems how many of our readers have never had the chance to see NIFELHEIM live, describe what your live shows are like.
Tyrant: Total overkill of metal mayhem! And it will become worse!
Hellbutcher: We have rotting flesh, coffins, blood, impaled goat heads, and a lot more on stage. Of course, pyro when it’s possible!
Everyone in the band is involved with other projects. For instance, Vengeance From Beyond (lead guitar) and Apocalyptic Desolator both play in NECROPHOBIC, and Insulter of Jesus Christ! (drums) plays in MURDER SQUAD and KRUX. Is NIFELHEIM a full-time band or a project band?
Tyrant: It is absolutely NOT a project band! The fact that some of the members are playing in other bands/projects has nothing to do with NIFELHEIM! Insulter Of Jesus Christ! Is doing nothing except for NIFELHEIM (Ok, maybe two or three gigs a year with KRUX). MURDER SQUAD has been inactive since 2003, as far as I know. He even left ENTOMBED, you know. NECROPHOBIC is not doing very much either.
Now is the part of the interview where I ask you if you would like to say a message to your fans, but I’m not going to do that. Instead, are there any curses you would like to place upon short haired posers and religious tight wads?
Tyrant: As Belial´s prey, you all shall DIE!