Swedish extreme metal band Defleshed has reunited its classic 1990s line-up and released a fab new album. Roppongi Rocks’ Stefan Nilsson checked in with bassist/vocalist Gustaf Jorde ahead of their December Japan tour.
In 2021, the classic 1990s line-up of Defleshed – Gustaf Jorde on vocals and bass, Lars Löfven on guitar and Matte Modin on drums – reunited after a long break to work on new music. They signed a record deal with Metal Blade Records and in October 2022 released the new album “Grind over Matter”. A Japanese edition was released by Avalon/Marquee. In December they will return to Japan for three shows that no doubt will be epic and sweaty metal shows.
Following a 15-year break, last year Defleshed rose from the ashes. Now you have a fab new album out. What made you decide to make a comeback after such a long break? “I reached out to the guys to see if they were interested in recording a couple of songs to include on a re-release of the old albums. They said yes and we started to work on what came to be the ‘Fleshless and Wild’ seven-inch vinyl. We didn’t plan to full-out reunite. It was more to see how we’d sound today and find out if we still had it in us. It turned out better and was more fun than we thought, so when we got the option to do an album, we all approved.”
Some bands that reunite to tour again don’t bother to write or record new material. They’re happy to just perform the back catalogue. What made you create new music? “Basically, we wanted to find out how we’d sound today and to record a two-song EP to go with the then-planned vinyl box that was in the loop. That never evolved so we released the songs anyway. At this point we didn’t plan to play live, we just wanted to give something back to the people who have been supportive throughout the years and have been wanting us back. When signing for the album we had to make a choice on playing live or not, and so we did. Playing live was a huge project to start for us since it’s been so long. We’ve been rehearsing for two-and-a-half months to get back where we were and hopefully a bit better even.”
Defleshed’s music lives somewhere in the death-thrash part of heavy metal. And you fittingly stuck “grind” into the title of your new album. When you write new material, do you feel that you have to fit any new music within certain expected genre limitations? Or do you just get on with it and write great music? “We try not to think so much when making music, we just do whatever sounds good and interesting enough to us. Lars starts writing the riffs then those are funnelled to me to put lyrics and vocal arrangements on. We try to tweak it each time to not sound the same as always, yet we want to stay true to our moniker. We will probably remain operating within the thrash/speed/death/grind genre, but we try to spice it up every time we make a song or an album.”
You have the same line-up now as you did in 1995. What is different musically about this sinister trio of evil metal in 2022 compared to when you played together in the 1990s? “I think we’ve found our sound and our modus operandi now, more than 1995 which was still an experimental phase. Personally, I probably am a better lyricist as well. Other than that, we are pretty much the same people we were back then.”
During the long break from Defleshed, the members have played with many other acts, including Dark Funeral, Raubtier and Firespawn. What have you brought back into Defleshed from those experiences? “Perspective. It is difficult to pinpoint particular details that would have sounded different if not having played with other bands, but overall, I think playing with others is good to broaden the mind and to gain perspectives.”
You have a Japan tour coming up in December. It’s been a while, but it’s not the first time you play here in Japan. What memories do you have from previous Japan visits? “The first time we came to Japan was in 2001 and it was like a totally new world to us. This was before iPhones and iPads, but some shops in Tokyo had very much more advanced technology than we had ever seen. And moving pictures on the wall of skyscrapers. Insane! I remember getting lost in the subway labyrinth as well. And no signs in English. Makes you feel pretty small. We met some sumo guys when walking the streets of Osaka and in Nagoya, we slept in what I guess was a traditional Japanese hotel with paper walls and a small mattress as bed. Also, the people were so nice and respectful towards us and each other. We are really happy to be able to come to Japan again.”
What can we expect from Defleshed live in 2022? Will there be a couple of new songs in the setlist? “Yes, we have a couple of new songs in the setlist both from ‘Grind over Matter’ and from the ‘Fleshless and Wild’ EP. But the majority of the songs are from the older albums. We play a couple of songs from each album except from ‘Abrah Kadavrah’ which didn’t really fit the set this time. Other than that, you might expect a high-intense show on energy level 110!”
You will play two Tokyo shows as part of this three-gig Japan tour. Will it be two radically different setlists or will it be more or less the same show twice? “Actually, it will have to be the same setlist I think, more or less. Since we recently started rehearsing to play live, we have only had time to rehearse enough material for one hour. So, there are not a lot of well-rehearsed songs to choose from this time, I’m afraid. And that’s much depending on me as I live three hours away from Lars and Matte and have fewer possibilities to rehearse. As for next year, we will take it up a notch and include more songs into our repertoire.”
Following the Japan tour, what do you have planned for Defleshed over the coming year? “Next year we’ll do mainly festivals, starting with Extreme Sounds, Stockholm in February. Then Black Mass in Gothenburg and in the summer, we’ll visit festivals like Obscene Extreme, Wacken and Dortmund Death Fest. We will see where the metal goddess will take us. Nonetheless, we are eager and intrigued to get out and spread our madness to people crazy enough to enjoy it.”
Defleshed will perform in Tokyo on 6th and 8th December and in Osaka on 7th December. Japanese death metal band Defiled will be the opening act at all three shows. Get your tickets here!