„Žití, to je největší umění na světě, neboť většina lidí pouze existuje.“ Oscar Wilde
Frederik Pellbrink (guitar and vocals), Joel Sundin (bass) and Mats Blyckert (drums) are three names forming the Thrash Metal ENTRENCH band. Their name seems to becoming great lately, but their music has always been a quality experience for every fan of extreme music leading to dark tendencies. Their albums as "Inevitable Decay" (Abyss Records), "Violent Procreation" (War Anthem Records) and this year's "Through The Walls of Flesh“ (I Hate Records), which we reviewed, were a great reason to contact and interview them. Their style, fortunately, is not a copy of any of the genre icons, but the band abounds with its own expression and invention, instrumental maturity, while adhering to Metal's tradition and denial of trends. Questions were answered by Frederik (guit, vox).
Greetings to Metal heads up north in Sweden, directly in ENTRENCH band! First I must write your music is incredibly authentic, impressive and harsh as Metal music should be. What was the basic intent to form ENTRENCH and do you think this mission is going to be fulfilled?
Thank you for your kind words! Our intent when we started were just to have some fun and write some songs together. We never thought about "going" somewhere or something like that, we just did some demos and eventually we got a offer for a full length album. It's in our later years we have started to set up some sort of goals, the most recent goal we had was to do the European tour with Ripper which we did a couple of months ago and it was really a cool and inspiring experience!
Opening The Coming Storm / Dawn of War track is very interesting. It is clear the instrumental overture can act as an intro, but in the end it nicely follows the second half and making it an interesting thing. I like the vocal follows after so long time, it's impressive. Who is author of the idea to create the song in this way?
The whole instrumental beginning is supposed to be the intro "The Coming Storm" and when the vocals sets in it evolves into the song "Dawn of War". We were inspired by the US pressings of some of the early Black Sabbath albums which had double titles for example on the Paranoid album the first track is called "Luke's Wall/War Pigs" and the last track "Fairies Wear Boots/Jack the Stripper"
I, Fredrik, wrote the song. I always have a lot of arrangement ideas even before I have any riffs written so this was one of the things i wanted to do with this album, making the album a complete package with a long instrumental intro and the same thing to close the album.
It is obvious you can write shorter explosive tracks, but also longer ones, let's say with more elaborate structures than the above-mentioned first or last Fragments / Shadow of Death track with similar idea. Is it larger challenge to write a longer song or it doesn't matter completely if a song is within three minutes?
The longer songs is often the hardest ones to finish, at least they take more time to write and like I said earlier, I work sort of backwards. I often have the arrangement that I want before I know what riffs or lyrics I should put into this sort of frame I have thought out. Sometimes the songs just write themselves but I struggle to keep my arrangement ideas to the bitter end, sometimes for worse so I'm going to try and work in a more conventional way in the future. To write what is best for the songs and not for my already made up arrangements.
Dynamics and rhythm play a very important role in your music, basically in Thrash Metal that should always be the case. You use fast and wild moments, but you can make it even more sophisticated and let's say more atmospheric as well. By combining these positions your music gets even more depth and complexity. Are both these positions coming from one author or from several ones?
Agreed! Joel and me writes the songs so far so I guess we both have it and I think it is crucial to this kind of music. Often I think it is the slower, catchy or atmospheric parts that makes the fast and crazy parts good in the end. Its got to be a nice flow and some headbanging moments, top it off with lyrics with some sort of meaning or thought provoking subjects and you have a recipe for success (not literally of course).
Music is basically something like magic and writing process is an art of man to create an interesting piece where it should not miss a certain melody, catchiness, drive and brutality if talking about extreme Metal. On the one hand, the composer can teach himself these things gradually, and finally nothing else is interesting from his results. On the other hand there may be another composer who has all of these talents naturally inborn and he writes interesting pieces from the beginning. How is it in your case?
I think we're getting better or at least have some different ideas to try out or we wouldn't be doing this still after over 10 years. I don't want to write the same songs and albums over and over. One thing that I had from the beginning was grit. I wanted to write music so bad that I made everything that I could to write my own songs. I've always been much more into the whole writing process then playing the guitar or doing the vocals. All the great music of the past 5 decades is the best study!
Each band apparently acquires a certain aesthetics of harmony, which finally forms the face of the melody, a recognizable character of the band, as an example the Slayer band when they are recognized by almost everyone by their typical harmonies. In my opinion many bands have a pretty dull figure of recognition and so a lot of shit is also produced in extreme Metal. I like you have this ability. Since your songs are not as symbolic as, for example, the old Slayer, but you have a clearly defined face and your tracks are also yours. Do you realize your own individuality at writing?
I think we have some sort of signature to us, it's nothing we have ever thought that much about but it might come from our unconventional way of writing music maybe. I don't know.
You use interesting enough guitar sound, it does not sound as sharp as in Thrash Metal, rather it reminds me some of early Swedish bands like Treblinka, maybe only I hear it this way. When you formed ENTRENCH, did you try to achieve some specific and your own guitar sound or it is just a matter of accident?
Ah, I wish I were more into the guitar sound setup in general. Often I have just come up with something I like at the moment and go for it. Sometimes it sounds like you said, Treblinka and sometimes it sounds more death metal or whatever. My personal goal is to actually take some time with it and try and get a sound that really suits the songs and the overall feel that we want to achieve on coming releases. The songwriting process have always been our main focus and the recordings have suffered from that so we will try to balance and recognize the importance of a solid recording as well as solid songs.
It's evident you are classic metal heads of the old school worshiping the original traditions. How do you perceive some current "Metal" trends that are sometimes closer to some rap, or Hip Hop and so on? Do you think Metal in its classical, violent and dark form will still be here or it will be phased out by fake trends?
Yes we are! I do not care for that type of metal but I do not disown everything just because it is "new" or "modern". There is bands that are still doing original music today without being complete shit.
Sweden has always been interesting, in many ways the most interesting country for Metal. Seems that you have there not only thousands of fans but also musicians. Compared with other countries, it seems as though it was more vivid and authentic over there. Swedish bands have always been typical for a strong melody or melody type, strong compositions, atmosphere, as if the Swedes had the natural talents to write and create something of their own. Do you think it's just my subjective opinion?
Yes, it is your subjective opinion but you share it with many people around the world. I recognize that there are a lot of Swedish bands but I think most of them are shit. I think there are more one off bands that are good rather than the whole scenes in general no matter when or where they come from.
Sweden is still full of many great bands from Heavy, Thrash, Black, Death, Doom Metal scenes, but a typical feature is Death Metal with HM2 grainy guitar sound effect. Personally, I think the best of this HM2 genre came in the 90s, the very powerful albums. Nowadays it's just fainting, but these bands are spreading more than enough with this sound even around the world. Can you still listen to bands of this type?
Actually, I never cared that much for the HM2 guitar sound. Some bands were good and made some good albums but I prefer the Swedish bands that did not go to Sunlight for some reason. I listen to Death Metal but more often then not they're from other countries. From the old Swedish scene some of my favorite DM bands would be Unleashed, Grotesque and Megaslaughter.
I noticed your bass player Joel is wearing a white Master's Hammer T-shirt. How much has this legend affected you? Certainly you know Master's Hammer has begun to play live again even though many old members are not in the band. How do you like their new albums?
I saw Master's Hammer at this years edition of Brutal Assault. They have not affected me at all since I never listened that much to them, they do sound original but I have a hard time getting into music with a language I do not understand, I don't know if it is that the lyrics are too important to me or that I just don't like the sound of other languages in music. I think particularly in metal that it sounds annoying when written in other languages than English. But Joel and a few other friends of mine really like Master's Hammer and other bands from Czech Republic. My favorite band from this awesome country would be Crionic.
Which Swedish Metal band would you highlighted as the biggest icon and why?
I would say Candlemass. Because of the early impact they had on me, scaring the shit out of me when I was like 8 years old or so. Also because and maybe even more so for their early albums which have some of the most powerful music I have ever heard. "Epicus Doomicus Metallicus" is one of my favorite albums of all time, everything from the drums to the vocals to the production to the songwriting is immaculate! The planets did align here!
Ok, that would be all from me, hope I have not forgotten anything essential. Thank you for answering my questions and wish ENTRENCH a lot of dark inspirations!
Thank you for the interesting and intriguing questions and yes, just take a look around and there is not much light to be found! Nothing bright can come out of this mess we have made!
Frederik 28. 11. 2017 Mortuary
Through the Walls of Flesh