Chronicle – Revel in ChaosTuesday, 16th May 2023
Hailing from Denmark, Chronicle contains a quartet of younger musicians content to push parameters within the thrash/death realm, intertwining aspects of old school twin-infused guitar harmonies with blackened resolve. Their third album Where Chaos Thrives assaults the senses in a way that only Scandinavian musicians possess – capturing the angst as well as beauty of this genre we cherish, knowing when to dial things back or engage in full-on attack mode. We reached out to vocalist/guitarist Lars Bo Nepper to get more of the scoop on the productive demo to recording stages of this new record, essential elements needed for an ideal Chronicle composition, what Tue Madsen has meant to the sound of the band, the importance of Mighty Music to building the band’s profile on a global scale, memories surrounding Children of Bodom, Slipknot, Edge of Sanity, and The Black Dahlia Murder, plus insight into future weekend/show opportunities in Denmark and abroad.
Dead Rhetoric: Where Chaos Thrives is the third and latest album from Chronicle. How were the songwriting and recording sessions for this release – and did the pandemic have any major impact on the final outcome, as far as delays with lockdowns or did you just take advantage to dig deeper into the finer details?
Lars Bo Nepper: It made sure that we had a lot of time for songwriting. All of a sudden, without warning, all the live shows were cancelled, and all our plans were in the toilet. It meant that we were all at home, writing music, and that ended up in us writing way too much music. In the end we demoed a total of twenty-seven songs for the new album, and we went through a long selection process of what songs we needed for the album, what songs will fit well together. In the end we whittled it down to ten songs, but on the final album we had nine songs to make it as tight as we possibly could, cohesive also.
Dead Rhetoric: Does that mean with the extra material, that will go in the archives for the next record – or do you start fresh?
Nepper: The rest of that stuff will probably not see the light of day. It’s a part of this writing cycle. Whenever we release a new album, we are already starting the process of writing songs for the next album. Usually, we listen to different stuff that inspires us. When we write the next album, it’s going to sound different from what we were writing for the last album. It would feel distant to put a writing session from a previous album onto another album. Once we have carved out all the fat, we scrap that and start writing a new one.
Dead Rhetoric: The sound of the band combines elements of melodic death metal with technical thrash. What would you say are some of the essential trademarks or components that need to be there to make an ideal Chronicle composition?
Nepper: Our sound has changed over the years from when we started ten, eleven years ago. The elements we have always maintained, thrashy riffs, big melodies, guitar harmonies. We often say that Iron Maiden hasn’t lived in vain. Even in our more brutal death metal songs we like to keep a bit of melody in there. Catchiness to a certain extent makes our music special to us.
Dead Rhetoric: Where do you like to come across as far as the lyrical content for the band? What sources inspire you – do you pull from personal experience or a mixture of social/political issues that work well with the musical compositions?
Nepper: I write all the lyrics, it’s basically whatever I am thinking about and feeling at the time we are making the album. If you take our first album, I wrote the lyrics just coming out of my teenage years – I had a lot of insecurities, emotional stuff I was going through. On the new one, what I chose to write about and make the whole album centered around is climate change, human impact on the environment, how humanity twists nature into doing what we want but on the other hand mother nature is always going to be stronger. You can’t push back against a tornado, a tsunami, or stuff like that. That was my thinking around the lyrics this time around. On the next album it could be something completely different that I’m thinking about. With the theme of this one, climate change has always been on my mind. I remember seeing things about this on television when I was a kid. Now this is terrifying.
It’s always therapeutic for me, getting to write about what’s in my head. You get it out, and I hope the people are there who actually like to read the lyrics for metal songs. I know not everybody cares about that; they just want to hear great music. I hope some people out there find something to connect with when it comes to my writing.
Dead Rhetoric: This is the second album you’ve worked with Tue Madsen – who handles the production, mixing and mastering. Discuss his importance to achieve the sound the way you want – what are some areas that he emphasizes to get the best out of you guys as musicians?
Nepper: Yeah, working with Tue is great. He has worked with so many great bands, he knows his shit. Like you said, we wanted the guitars to sound a bit like Carcass, and he’s like ‘oh I know that sound’. Pulls out a couple of pedals, tests this amp, and he always has an idea. Should we do it this way or that way? He has a lot of frames of reference. A real fun part for this (album), we included a few percussion elements, and we did some intros with Tue. At one point, he was like, I feel this part is missing something. He pulled out this MIDI keyboard, hitting notes, and reverses the whole thing. It became the intro to “Evolution in Reverse”, and it was cool. He is a man full of good ideas, he knows how to make a band sound good.
Dead Rhetoric: How would you describe the band chemistry of the group? Do you share in the responsibilities of the business end of things beyond musical duties – and has it been important to maintain friendships to achieve more of what you set out to accomplish?
Nepper: Since we are not like a huge band, it’s not a second job for us. It’s a passion that we have together, we feel it’s also important to hang out outside of the band, have a beer together or watch a movie. It would be one thing to just play in a band together, but we’d also like to be friends. If you are going to be in a car together with these guys driving from one end of the country to the other to do shows every other weekend, you want it to be with guys you get along with. It’s really important to do that and has been since the very beginning.
As far as sharing the responsibilities, each of us takes on the role of what we feel comfortable with. One of us does Facebook and Instagram, another guy takes care of selling merchandise. We try to share the load, so there isn’t one person that has to carry everything and get burned out by it.
Dead Rhetoric: You’ve been a part of Mighty Music since your second album Demonology in 2020. How do you feel about their level of promotion and understanding when it comes to Chronicle – and where do you see the label’s responsibilities versus what the band needs to handle as far as building the brand of the band?
Nepper: Getting on Mighty Music was a big thing for us back when we first signed with them in 2020 when we released Demonology. It meant that our music was getting heard by so many more people than it did before. Getting reviews from all over the world, they have so much more reach than we could ever hope to get as a band. They really do their thing for promoting the album, getting us heard by as many people as they can. We are very happy with the partnership that we’ve had with them, that’s for sure.
Dead Rhetoric: What are three albums that you consider an essential part of shaping your outlook on the metal genre? And what’s the best concert memory you have purely attending a show as a member of the audience – plus what made that show so special to you?
Nepper: Three essential albums. I have been thinking about what is essential – to me personally, or to the genre? In that case personally, my first choice would be Follow the Reaper – Children of Bodom. Back when I started getting into metal and buying CD’s in my early teens, that was one of the first albums that was so wild. The second one would be the first metal album I ever remember listening to was Iowa – Slipknot. I’m not that big into their newer stuff, but that one album has a special place in my heart. It was my introduction to the whole metal thing; I wouldn’t have started playing the guitar or done growling if I didn’t listen to that album at ten or eleven. A third one – a tough choice, I would probably have to go with one of the classics like Purgatory Afterglow – Edge of Sanity. That is Swedish melodic death metal perfection to me. The production is heavy as hell, so melodic, Swanö’s vocals are so amazing.
The best concert memory would have to go to seeing The Black Dahlia Murder live. A big city in northern Denmark, they played at a festival here in 2016. I barely heard anything about the band before I saw them live, maybe a couple of songs. I went on not really knowing what to expect, and they just tore the place apart. There were people flying through the air constantly, stagediving, crowd surfing. I don’t know what happen, somebody made hats out of duct tape and handed them to the band. At one point, Trevor was walking back and forth wearing this Roman Legionnaire helmet made out of duct tape. It was a great evening, I turned into an instant fan after that show.
Dead Rhetoric: What are some hobbies, activities, or passions that you like to participate in away from music when you have the free time and energy to do so?
Nepper: Music takes up a lot of my free time. I just like to watch movies and play video games. I play a lot on the Play Station. We like to play board games – big cooperative games like Mansions of Madness, things like that. Something more slow-paced, that makes me chill out and relax.
Dead Rhetoric: How do you see the state of melodic death metal and technical thrash currently? Who do you believe are some exciting acts either within Denmark or abroad that you enjoy, and believe others need to invest time/energy into?
Nepper: As for the music scene in Denmark, it’s going great. There are so many bands releasing great music. If I have to namedrop some, Terrorpy is definitely super-fast, brutal death metal. Like Cannibal Corpse, but even faster. Techy with a little bit of thrash influences, there’s a band called Xenoblight, really cool. Twisted, almost Psycroptic licks and riffs. The metal scene in Denmark is going really well.
Dead Rhetoric: What concerns you most about the world that we are living in today? If you had unlimited time, resources, energy, and finances at your disposal, where would you seek to make the world a better place for the greater good of all?
Nepper: Well, wealth inequality would be huge on my list. The difference between the rich and the poor, the wealth distribution, the richer are getting richer and the poorer are getting poorer. I would put all that money into green energy, build more windmills and solar panels. I’m even an advocate for nuclear power in some cases, it’s better than coal energy. After that, put money into welfare programs. We have a system that makes it easier if you have money, it’s easier to get more money by buying property, but if you are poor, it’s really hard to get out of being poor. It’s really hard to watch people getting stuck in dead ends because the system… here in Denmark, we are a pretty socialist country, but there are times the poor can’t even pay their rent. Inflation, gas prices going up, it’s tough, man.
Dead Rhetoric: Do you believe your country has a lot of support for the arts compared to other countries?
Nepper: I wouldn’t be able to be compare that much, but you can get support for your art from the government. For this album and the previous album, we got a fund where you can apply for money. We were lucky enough to get that, and government grants/art funds. You can get it for music, theater. There is support for arts in Denmark. Making something for stuff that may not otherwise be commercially viable, there is a place for that.
Dead Rhetoric: What is Chronicle like live compared to the records – and what’s the most memorable show you’ve played to date?
Nepper: I would describe us as playing really fast and technical, but always trying to keep energetic on stage. Some bands, and I do love some of these bands, they play the fast stuff, and the drummer is playing at 280 BPM. We want to play fast and run around the stage, jumping up on the monitors – or if it’s a small venue we will run into the audience and play in a circle pit. That kind of stuff, we hope that people will remember us when they see the show. Get people pumped when they see a live show, they want to see some energy.
The most packed show was right after we came out of the lockdown. We played at the Copenhagen Metal Festival in September. Three indoor stages, and we played on the middle stage. We weren’t expecting huge things, but when we got out on the stage – people were packed like fish wall to wall, all the way to the back of the venue. I learned afterwards there was a line up the stairs outside, people couldn’t get in. A constant mosh pit in the middle, you rarely get crowd surfers. I don’t know where they all came from, so much energy.
Dead Rhetoric: What’s on the schedule as far as touring, promotion, other activities for Chronicle in the next year or so? Are there other band(s)/side projects we need to be on the look out for as well?
Nepper: Touring-wise and shows, we have a lot going on around the release of the album. In May we will play weekend shows for a couple weeks in a row. A little break in the summer, and when we get to autumn we will head to Sweden for a couple of shows. We have some support shows for bigger Danish bands in November, December. We want to stay busy.