In Solitude – Down the Burning Path

Wednesday, 16th October 2013

In position to become the next occult metal force (see: Ghost, even though calling them “metal” is a reach), Sweden’s In Solitude have building their foundation since some of the members were going through puberty. Forming a band around the age of 13 or 14 often suggests unrivaled immaturity and amateurism, but In Solitude has become a life’s journey for its collective, with the band crossing the threshold via 2011’s well-received The World. The Flesh. The  Devil., and their brand spanking new album, Sister (Metal Blade). 

Whereas previous efforts held down the fort with Mercyful Fate-on-NWOBHM twists, Sister gives the 70s a call, oscillating between the eerie rock of Blue Oyster Cult and taut, sturdy vintage metal. Sister is classic-sounding, but it doesn’t sound dated, thus launching a handful of cuts like “Pallid Hands,” “A Buried Sun”, and “Horses in the Ground” right into the thick of the Euro metal commotion. So with proper hub-bub in tow, vocalist Pelle Åhman gave DR a ring, apparently a few minutes after receiving finished versions of the album. After having a quick discussion on how Miles Davis was a partial inspiration for the logo-less album cover, we proceeded with a stoked Åhman…

Dead Rhetoric: To start, you have the reissue of the first album, and have been working on Sister. Have you taken any real time to take a look at what you’ve accomplished thus far?

Pelle Åhman: I don’t know if it made me look back. The only thing we did was fix some things with the layout and the cover art has aged really bad. We did a few things to that, but by the time we were re-releasing that, we were already sort of gone into the chaos that was the writing of the third album. It’s good that it’s reissued. I heard it was very hard to get a hold of. I don’t even have it. [laughs]. I probably gave it to somebody.  But the things that made us look back was the third album…it’s an interesting position to be in. It makes you realize you’re not a new band anymore, and those sort of possibilities.

Dead Rhetoric: So is the band more of a personal investment and commitment now more than ever?

Åhman: Yeah, I would rather say it has become life in a way. For a long time, it was sort of that for a long time; it had never been a hobby. It was that way when we were 13 or something. Now it’s clearer to me that In Solitude has become my life. That incorporates a lot of things; that doesn’t mean the band, but the things that are important to us become connected to the band and has it place. It becomes sort of a…it has taken a hold of our lives.

Dead Rhetoric: Correct me if I’m wrong, but you’ve been in the band since you were 13 or 14, right?

Åhman: More or less. We had a few projects up until 2005 with a lot of the members with most of the members that were on the first album. That was more of adolescent, cover band that did songs were pretty terrible that I haven’t heard in a while. But it was 2005 that we really became In Solitude, but I was 14 or 15 or something when that happened. But I’ve been playing since I was 13 or something.

Dead Rhetoric: Essentially, you’ve grown up with the band.

Åhman: I think that it’s really apparent. We’re all in our 20’s. A few of the guys are a few years older than me. I think it’s sort of apparent that if you look at the albums in a way…that’s pretty rare in bands. I’m 21 now; a lot of things have happened in a person’s life in those years. The first album is a part of getting to know things that start making an impression, and here we are a few years later and it’s my life, but everybody has their own experience. I think with the albums we are growing up. Not in a maturing way, but you refine your methods and ideas.

Dead Rhetoric: Unlike The World. The Flesh. And The Devil, you’re not going to sneak up on anyone with Sister. There are real expectations for the album. Are you aware of them?

Åhman: No, not really. We understand that people fell in love with our music around the time of the second album, some of them might recognize that, but it wasn’t really in our heads when making the music. We have full confidence in what we’re doing and weren’t affected by the outside world. To stagnate in that kind of way with a third album…I don’t think any band does that. That all stems from everything I’ve learned from this kind of music…traditional heavy metal music, not staying in old, worn-out patterns. The cornerstones of our sound are still there – we’re just in another place.

Dead Rhetoric: The album is demanding, but accessible at the same time. The songs come quick.

Åhman: Definitely. I think that’s because we were reaching for a place on the inside that was pretty demanding. Our way of getting through the album was pretty hard. We were aiming for something desperate, a fragile place. Not weak, but you can get really, really hurt. Like I said, we were not only refining our methods musically, but technically as well. You learn your ways on the inside how to reach those sort of places and I think we got far more closer with this album that we were aiming for. That’s why there’s a lot of tension and hopefully the listener will find that place within themselves. I might be sounding cryptic, but I can’t explain it better myself.

Dead Rhetoric: I think of something like “Pallid Hands,” which is supremely melodic, but at the same time, but you’ve moved past the NWOBHM stuff.

Åhman: That song really connects the album to the second one in a way. I think that’s one of first songs we made for this album. There’s something about the tones that is really goes through The World. The Flesh. The Devil., and really carries on from that album. I think a lot of the stuff we did came in relation to the last things we did in relation to that album. That’s the bridge between the two albums.

Dead Rhetoric: I read something that you share or were sharing a rehearsal room with the Watain guys. Is there any story behind that?

Åhman: We were around each other quite a bit for much of that time. We didn’t hear each other’s records that much, being on separate ends of the same place, but meeting around the fire every night and talking about what we were seeing and experiencing. But it was really interesting. I’ll always think of The Wild Hunt and this one together in the future.

Dead Rhetoric: You’ve been labeled as a King Diamond clone vocally, but there’s some obvious growth. Where do you see it?

Åhman: It’s from singing live, basically. The intensive touring with The World. The Flesh. The Devil. made me find the way emotionally, to get somewhere emotionally to sing. I just think I’ve found my place in the band from touring vocally. I also have this other project called No Future where there is this whole writing process in place different from In Solitude. Recording demo things before we released anything, we did those pretty quickly – I was drunk and in a fucked-up place. I found another heartened soul in the voice, so touring and doing things with In Solitude added to that. I’ve been signing far more than I thought it would. There’s also the part about the lyrics. If you’re really getting undressed as a person, your voice changes, and I think that’s apparent on this album. I’ve reached a personal place on this album and it has probably affected the vocals.

Dead Rhetoric: You’re coming back to America in a bit, so what are you looking forward to?

Åhman: As a Swedish person in America, touring America is pretty intense. Going from snow to desert in a few days, it’s like going back and forth through Europe 100 times with some of your closest friends playing your music. Inevitably, it’s a pretty intense experience. The last tour we did with Watain, and it was one of the most insane adventures on tour, and I can’t wait.

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