COMMANDO from Avrika, Sweden, is a young Heavy Metal band, I guess the band's average age can be around 20 years. But after listening to their first "Demo 2018" I have to pay tribute to these young guys, their Heavy Metal feeling is dark and deep. Of course, as for riffs, it is a classic Heavy Metal, but feelings are not far from the grim Death and Black Metal hordes. The vocal expression of Robin is also interesting, although it may still fall under Heavy, but on the other hand, it flirts with the more extreme expression typical of the genres already mentioned. This created an interesting cocktail giving great hope for even better recordings. Robin (vox) answered the questions.
Greetings to the Commando. The band name is striking and orthodox. Why did you choose this name and what does it symbolize for you? I also have to pay tribute to your logo, I think it is quite original, it does not copy the characters of any other one. Who is its author?
We searched for a band name for a long time and got inspired by the Ramones song among other things. We wanted a straightforward name with some power to it, a fist in the face, and we think we got it right. For us it’s important to get the word associated to the band and get people to think about us when they hear it.
The author of the logo as well as the demo artwork is the amazing Joel Sundin of Entrench.
Also your music is original in an interesting way, of course not in the sense that something similar has not been here yet, but the feeling and the atmosphere emitting from the music are, in my view, crucial. Have you wanted to play classic Heavy Metal right from the beginning? Have you ever played other Metal genres?
We have been called speed, thrash and heavy metal before, but we try not to classify ourselves. Our aim is to get people to think of “Commando's sound” rather than a particular genre.
When the band started we wanted to sound similar to bands like Enforcer, Jonah Quizz, Exciter and Lethal Steel, with cleaner vocals and a specific sound. But it ended pretty quickly as we wanted to speed things up and realized that our frontman couldn’t sing properly. Some members had previously played in thrash bands as well, so it wasn't an undiscovered area for us.
Some Heavy Metal bands play honest but just plain Heavy Metal with harmonies that are either common or classically neutral. From your melody I feel drama and dark vibes. Have you wanted to get the darkness into your music with intention?
Yes the dark vibes you mention are often intentional because we don’t want to play ordinary ”heavy metal” riffs, which sound more uplifting, and thus naturally stray to the more dramatic and epic sounds. They come natural as a byproduct of us wanting to be different from other bands, who copies entire genres and bands.
In the Slumbering Death song you used special harmonies, a little like the Middle Eastern to Arabic type of melody. Do you perceive it similar or it just seems to me? Are harmonies, their character and aesthetics important to you? Do you ever think about which type of harmony to use, or you simply leave it free progress?
We agree and the arabic type of melody you mention is important for us due to its mystical kind of sound. It came from us wanting not only a brutal sound but something with more depth to it.
In the case of ”Slumbering Death”, the melodies fit well with the lyrics about the ancient god.
A coherent feeling throughout the song is important.
You have released a double tracks demo. Are you happy with the direction you have set? Is the music recorded on this medium what you want to be characteristic of? Do you want to move your music further, look for other horizons, experiment, or you will stick to this stream? Do you think it is possible to go ahead a great step forward in Heavy Metal genre?
The demo songs were right at that time, and still are. With the new songs, coming sometime in the future, we have taken our sound further and stretched it to many directions, even including some clean guitar parts.
Bathory and Hellhammer both took a big step forward back in the ‘80s, they weren’t liked by everyone back then but is now looked upon as the ones that paved the way for extreme metal now. There’s always another step, but the bands who takes them aren’t always appreciated during their time so to say.
Could you describe the lyrics of the two demo songs? Where all do you draw inspiration to write lyrics?
Slumbering Death is about the ancient deity Cthulhu and he’s called upon through ancient chants. We wanted to describe our view on him and tell the story about his rampage on earth.
Burn the Sky deals with sacrificial rites and ends up in the summoning of a being of eternal flame.
The lyrics on these songs are the most right in your face kind of lyrics, more so compared to the newer songs.
We look for inspiration in everything, but are fascinated by occultism and mythology. Some lyrics are more thought through, some less. As long as the content fits the music.
Your primary themes for lyrics are occultism and mythology. Are you focused in these two directions to general themes, or you are fascinated by certain directions and which ones, in particular?
We take inspiration from everything in daily life, like many bands do. From books, movies, stories and sometimes even pictures.
The topics you mentioned are the ones most present in our songs as they are the ones which often flows best with our kind of music and are the most fun to write.
What is the inspiration for writing music? Is everything going on in the rehearsal room at jamming or you are looking for horizons even in the nook of darkness, mystery, going to some strange places, letting go with some kind of drugs or alcohol? Has any of the two songs (or both), you have released, been written in special circumstances?
We often write riffs outside of the rehearsals on our own, but arrange and complete the songs together when rehearsing. The riffs comes and goes during many circumstances, but aren’t written during any special ones, not intentional at least. The inspiration comes from many bands we listen to and what we ourselves feel are good riffs.
Do you have a special relationship to your music in terms of what it means to you? Some bands can do it mechanically and simply they write songs only to create another album, even some bands, or musicians do not like listening to their own songs. How do you perceive your songs?
Every song we have created means something special to us, otherwise we wouldn't have written it. If we don’t like it we let it go or change it until we do.
Many bands writes songs primarily for other people and those forced kind of songs never comes out any good. That’s how you end up hating your own music and selling out for real.
Now it's big Heavy Metal's boom, though, as it was in the 80's, it's probably never going to be the case anymore. The biggest HM bands are slowly ending, or their existence will soon be over, as they are mostly 60s or more. What do you think will be with this genre when there are no Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, King Diamond, Manowar, Accept? Do you think some younger bands can stand their positions?
Younger bands can't take older bands place, they can only take their own. It's harder for newer bands to get bigger, because people still worship the old bands (even though they expired years ago). People don't really listen to older bands new songs. How Metallica survived after St. Anger just proves how much they rely on their earlier work. People like the concept and the idea of older bands more than the actual band.
The great Heavy Metal boom is in Sweden these days, headed by Enforcer, Ghost, Ram, or Trial. How do you perceive this entire scene? Which of these bands are the most important for you? How do you specially look at Ghost band who have become so well-known?
Enforcer will always be a band to look up too, as well as Antichrist, Insane, Vampire, In Solitude and Portrait etc.
We have different thoughts on Ghost.
It's a cool concept they started with but they have gone so far from the core, they became something else in the process. Turning into a brand, rather than a band.
Which Heavy Metal album you like most, let's say in the past 20 years? Do you think the works of the biggest HM icons still reach the quality of those of the 80s?
Some of the material can be just as good, but it will in many cases never be as groundbreaking as back then. Take Satan as an example, their 2018 “Cruel Magic” is oftentimes better than their 1983 “Court in the Act”. They are a real example of an older band still doing great music and staying true to their original sound and spirit.
There are so many records to choose from but here are some favourite albums from every member.
Robin: Morbus Chron- Sweven, Enforcer- Death by Fire,
Eric: Ghost- Infestissumam, Tribulation- Down Below
Felix: In Solitude- Sister, Vampire- Cimmerian Shade
Aron: Enforcer- From Beyond, Antichrist- Sinful Birth
Ok, that would be all from me, thank you for an interesting interview, greetings to the Sweden and wish you a lot of creativity and strength to the next period.
Thanks for doing our very first fanzine interview and for asking such great questions, we are honored! More music to come from us in the future. RAMPANT VIOLENCE
Robin 7.3.2019 Mortuary