AMARANTHE's OLOF MÖRCK: 'The Metal Genre Has Gotten A Little More Conservative Than It Used To Be'

September 9, 2018

Chris Peters of Australia's Heavy magazine conducted an interview with guitarist Olof Mörck of Swedish melodic metallers AMARANTHE about their forthcoming "Helix" studio album. You can listen to the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On what to expect from "Helix":

Olof: "From my perspective, it's sort of like a resume of our entire career so far, but, with a lot of new elements and cranked up to 11. I think the last two previous albums, we wanted to do something that was a little bit more in-depth and we wanted to explore certain elements further and more deeply, but at this time, we wanted something that was a hundred percent AMARANTHE, a hundred percent something that speaks and stands for itself. For us, it felt like a pivotal album already when we started to work with it and I think we achieved that."

On whether after five studio albums AMARANTHE has found their definitive sound or are still searching:

Olof: "I mean, when we started to write songs ten years ago almost to the date, actually, we had a specific vision in mind and this album really defines that. After kind of a long musical journey and a very intense one, at that, I think we ended up at a point if I would play this record to my ten-years-younger self, I would say, 'Yes, this is exactly it. This is definitely it.' It's been an interesting journey and I think this is a natural not ending point, but it really defines where AMARANTHE is in 2018."

On what new male vocalist Nils Molin (also of DYNAZTY) brings to the band:

Olof: "Nils has been a friend of the band for quite some time and I heard his other band called DYNAZTY, I think they released a record in 2015 that had certain elements that were a little bit AMARANTHE-ish, I guess you could say. As I was hearing that, I was thinking that if Jake [E] would ever leave, he would be a fantastic replacement. When that actually finally came to pass, then, not finally came to pass, but when it did come to pass, I was just instantly, 'We need to talk to this guy because he could be a fantastic replacement.' He played his first shows last year in March, I think it was and already after three shows, it felt like he had been in the band for a long time. He's a very natural fit for the band."

On the level of importance of having three vocalists in AMARANTHE:

Olof: "I think it's very, very vital. I mean, there's been one song so far which only featured one vocalist and a few tracks that have only featured two of them and I think all of them are actually ballads. To get the full intensity and to really get the AMARANTHE sound, I think you need all three vocalists. It's almost like using a very versatile singer and having that person just sing in one style. I think it's not only like a gimmick, but a very core element of the AMARANTHE sound."

On writing music for three vocalists:

Olof: "You know, it's interesting because I've been writing music for my other band, DRAGONLAND, I guess 17 years or something in that order and it's almost a little bit strange, even if it's a fantastic vocalist, Jonas [Heidgert], the guy in that band, it's kind of, I won't say 'limiting,' but you still need to work with that one sound and make that work, which is almost a bit of a challenge when you're used to working with, to make a pretentious metaphor, it's a little like being an artist and painter and working with a lot of different colors in your palette. Also, Elize [Ryd, female vocals], Nils and Henrik [Englund Wilhemsson, growled vocals] are all three versatile singers. It's three different singers, but there's a wide array of different textures and colors that you have at your disposal. It's really, really exciting as the composer to be able to have that kind of versatility."

On how AMARANTHE's blend of elements like power metal, metalcore and dance music came together:

Olof: "I think it's pretty much the result of having people with kind of diverse tastes in music and bringing them together, but it's also, I mean for me, I listen to all kinds of music. Growing up, I was listening to 95 or 98 percent to metal music only, but different kinds of metal, but as you, I won't say 'mature,' but as you get older, then you start to get into new things and discover new kinds of genres and whatever and I was discovering a lot of great elements that I would want to incorporate into the sound. Just like with the three different singers, it gives you a lot of opportunities to put in different elements and to work with different aspects and different genres."

On whether the metal scene was ready for a band like AMARANTHE upon the release of their 2011 debut:

Olof: "I think so. I mean, when I was growing up with the metal scene here in Gothenburg in the '90s, there was always constantly new bands coming out and different bands trying out very different things. Acts like IN FLAMES and DARK TRANQUILLITY and AT THE GATES incorporating folk music [into melodic death metal] and you had RHAPSODY from Italy incorporating a lot of a classical music. I think I got into that whole thing, that, obviously, it's fine and fantastic if you want to play in a very old-school death metal or thrash metal kind of band and I think that's necessary to keep that flame burning, but on the other hand, metal music has always been something that has been constantly evolving and developing. I think in the last ten years, the metal genre has become a little bit more conservative than it used to be. In my humble point of view, I think the metal scene needed a breath of fresh air."

"Helix" will be released on October 19 through Spinefarm Records. The disc was recorded at Hansen Studios in Ribe, Denmark with producer Jacob Hansen (VOLBEAT, EPICA, DELAIN). The follow-up to 2016's "Maximalism" marks the band's first release with Molin, who officially joined AMARANTHE in July 2017 as the replacement for Jake E.

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