MÅNSKEN – WITCH BLADE
Art: Joel Sundin
Bio: Witch Blade was formed in 2012 by Witchlover and Witchhunter in Kristinehamn, Sweden. The two childhood friends had been playing together in other projects but wanted to form a band and write riffs to honour their heavy metal heroes; Angel Witch, Tokyo Blade, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. After writing a couple of songs, the band became a three-piece when drummer Witchburner joined in early 2013. The same year, the band recorded their self-titled debut demo, which sold out quickly and was later re-released by Levitate Records, followed by a 7′ single called Fjärrans Krig in 2014. After working as a sound engineer on the single recording, Witchdoctor joined on second guitar just in time for the band’s debut album Oskuldernas Eld, released in 2015 by Dying Victims Productions. In 2021, after a few years in hibernation, the band decided to get back together, once again as a three-piece, to finalise the band’s second album Månsken.
We have worked with Joel Sundin for a while, so the process is quite natural. We usually start by sending him some ideas we discuss to set the overall concept. But regarding the artwork, we rarely give him explicit instructions. We are more involved in the layout, while Joel takes care of the artwork. Since the album has a late 70s vibe, we wanted the cover concept to mirror that feeling but simultaneously have a clear classic heavy metal vibe. When Joel sent us the first sketches, we knew he had a good idea, and we liked it immediately. The result turned out great.
To be honest, we generally don’t overthink the underlying meaning of our lyrics. When we started playing music together, we were heavily into bands like Witch Cross, Tokyo Blade and Angel Witch. So when we named ourselves Witch Blade, we wanted our lyrics to be influenced by occultism and witches. Mostly we tried to incorporate a ritualistic or magic story into our lyrics, but it’s not something we think too seriously about. Some of the songs have a more thought-out account, and some could be interpreted as political. Slavarnas Hämnd is about the people rising to take power back from those in charge and is influenced by some political views.
We don’t have ‘one way’ of working; most of the material for Månsken was written years ago when we were a regularly rehearsing band. At that time, we jammed riffs together in the practice space and arranged the songs. Witch Blade’s music has always made natural and raw, almost like a punk attitude. When we got together in 2021 to record Månsken, we had a few sessions just playing around with the old songs and re-arranging a few bits, but to be honest, our way of working isn’t fancy or anything. It is pretty straightforward.
Witchhunter: Pagan sacrifices are always essential, but other than that, it’s just as Witchlover said and kind of a straightforward process. Because we now live in different cities, it’s hard to write new music together. So a lot of riffs, unfortunately, are written alone at home and then shown to the rest of the band when we can meet. Of course, we then changed it during our rehearsals and tried to listen to everyone’s opinions.
Since we are into metal and all kinds of obscure music, we are fascinated by religion, fantasy, etc. Witch Blade was started as a tribute to our childhood idols of metal, and we wanted to use medieval and occult topics to express ourselves since we thought that it suited the purpose of the music.
Witchhunter and I discovered Iron Maiden together when we were about six. So that was probably the start for us. A few years later, we started to play music together in another band, and we discovered the extreme metal world during that time. Witchhunter and I met up recently at the Abyss Festival in Gothenburg, and we still refer back to Iron Maiden, both in discussions about their new works and live shows and when we look back at our friendship. It is a band that has played and still is an important part of our lives.
Music is kind of like a drug. You’re hooked from the beginning and want more and harder music. When we started our first band, we were introduced to the heavy metal scene around 12-13. What became apparent almost immediately was the camaraderie and welcoming energy from most people involved in and around the rich metal scene. My creativity is very unpredictable, but to be honest, I am most productive when I feel good and inspired in some way—usually connected to a music experience or something. Probably a boring answer, but so be it.
I can get inspired by all kinds of art, primarily movies and music, but creativity and expressions inspire me both as a musician and in my private life. When it comes to music that isn’t metal, I am into punk and indie rock, both new acts and older ones. Viagra Boys is a band I have recently played on repeat, and their music has inspired me to discover a lot of old bands too. That’s fun with new bands that contribute something fresh but still clearly have their roots in the past. Some bands succeed with this, which is inspiring and worth admiring since it is hard to do.
I would say that music can be anything you want and need it to be. It can be spiritual, a helping hand, a motivator, a.s.o. It’s a way for people to communicate and for you to find out about yourself. Without music, the world would start to look grey. But I mainly show the world and the people’s music I like when I play. I love our new album and want people to listen to it. Suppose they like it, great. If they hate it, that’s also fine. I want to show them, ‘this is my music. I like it. Hopefully, you do too’.
I recommend Jacob Öhrvall, a Swedish pop guy who will soon release a new album. He is a nice guy and writes killer songs. He also sings in Swedish, so dig into that if you like great melodies and inspiring songwriting.