Nonexist – All Hail the Johan ShowFriday, 13th November 2015
As the creators of one of the better early 00s melodic death metal albums, Deus Deceptor, Sweden’s Nonexist have never quite been able to capitalize upon the notoriety of its two main constituents: vocalist Johan Liiva (ex-Arch Enemy) and guitarist Johan Reinholdz (Andromeda). Unfortunately, Dues Deceptor got lost in the Century Media Records shuffle, never quite getting the promotional push it so deserved. In turn, Liiva shuffled over to another Swedish band, Hearse, while Reinholdz stayed busy with Andromeda and multiple other projects.
Nonexist would eventually return to the scene by way of 2012’s iffy From My Cold Hands, yet it is their new album, Throne of Scars (Mighty Music), that should finally land the band the attention it’s so deserving. Balanced nicely by the one-of-a-kind vocal approach of Liiva, along with Reinholdz’s multi-faceted, brute, but melodic guitar work, Throne of Scars is a reminder of what the two Johans are capable of when things are firing on all cylinders, which, obviously, they were. In turn, here to shed some light on the new album is Mr. Reinholdz, who was kind enough to submit to our email queries…
Dead Rhetoric: The turnaround time for a new album, obviously, is much shorter than it was when you released From My Cold Dead Hands. In the last few years, has Nonexist become more of an active band for everyone involved?
Johan Reinholdz: Definitely! Way back when we did the first album, there wasn’t much more planned than just that recording. Now we have a lot material and plans in the making for the future.
Dead Rhetoric: Before, it was usually just the two of you functioning as a band. What’s it like injecting some new blood into the mix?
Reinholdz: When it comes to writing it’s still the two of us doing it. Easier and more fun. But yeah, the other live guys surely gives a lot of inspiration and energy to Nonexist!
Dead Rhetoric: Can you describe the working relationship between the two of you?
Reinholdz: We have the same sense of humor, which is really really important if you’re gonna get along. Also, we have same ideals when it comes to music and how it should sound.
Dead Rhetoric: How did the band come to sign with Mighty Music?
Reinholdz: We got in touch with them and they were interested – as simple as that!
Dead Rhetoric: As for Throne of Scars, there’s some fantastic variety across the board. What was the approach going in?
Reinholdz: Thanks! The approach was to create an album that would be interesting and challenging for the listener. Songs that would continue to grow and give more and more after each listening. I think in metal there is a lot of narrowmindedness. If and album is too varied in style a lot of people complain. I think that’s bullshit. For example this album is METAL all the way through, so – it’s still the same genre all of it! For me albums that are very homogenic can get boring.
Dead Rhetoric: Take a song like, “A Promise Unfulfilled.” It’s unlike anything you’ve done before. How did this song come about?
Reinholdz: I just wanted to make a simple, heavy, straight-forward song. Kinda anthemic and hard-hitting, influenced by Paradise Lost, Megadeth, Pantera and such. It was fairly quickly written.
Dead Rhetoric: Do either of you reflect much upon the period when Deus Deceptor was released? It’s certainly an unheralded album. Do you think it was under-promoted?
Reinholdz: It was certainly under-promoted. That connection with Arch Enemy-Liiva could’ve been more utilized more. And yeah…labels often have their darlings which they promote more. Our label then – New Hawen – was small and the boss – Wez was more or less quitting the business and did less and less. They had a co-operation with Century Media for promotion and distribution, but since we weren’t contracted to Century Media directly they favored their own artists of course.
Dead Rhetoric: Say the album had taken off, would Nonexist had become a full-time band?
Reinholdz: Maybe! Who knows? I was doing a lot of stuff with Andromeda and going to the university at the same time as well though.
Dead Rhetoric: At this point, is Nonexist a “fun” project for you guys?
Reinholdz: We have a lot of fun! But it’s a “fun” project only like you say. It’s absolutely serious and not merely a side-project from Andromeda and our other bands.
Dead Rhetoric: Finally, what’s on your agenda for the rest of 2015, going into 2016?
Reinholdz: We’re doing some gigs, planning a new EP-release – dedicated solely to old-school death metal, doing a video for “The New Flesh” and some guitar videos with riffs from Throne of Scars. That’s about it!