From the hallowed land of doom and death, southern Sweden offers up yet another gem. The Gardnerz was formed in 2008. The System of Nature marks the band’s debut on Abyss Records. Guitarist and songwriter Wilhelm Lindh, along with bandmates Niclas Ankarbranth (vocals), Francisco Martín (bass) and Juan Pablo Donoso (drums), offer up a sonic slab of triturating extreme doom metal. Donoso has since moved on but has been more than aptly replaced by Vedran Bencic.
This week Wilhelm took the time to go through the band’s debut and give his take on each of the album’s 10 original songs.
The Art of Suffering – This was the first track I ever wrote for this band, and one of the once I like the best, very melodic yet at beast in its own right. The song is about people who only see the negative in life and never stop to embrace the positive. Maybe a strange topic for a death metal song, this has been pointed out to me, since we do gloomy music. But I consider myself an optimistic pessimist, yes the world is fucked and most things are shit, but instead of just focusing on this I try to think of what we can do with this to make life better. To quote Neil Young ” Some have taken pure bullshit and turned it into gold”. Instead of dwelling on the past I think it is better to live in the present and make the best of the situation.
Lady in The Grave – Slow monotones and evil, this was the second song I wrote, I think the contrast of the clean part that turns heavy turned out really cool. This is one of the songs that seems to be most appreciated by our listeners, even though it is not one of my favorites. The lyrics for this one was written and vocal pattern was written by our former vocalist, Joel Sundin, we kept some of his vocals in the clean part, he sounds so tortured. The song is about what happens when you cut down on the psychic care and let the not so sane people out in the world. Some nice social commentary for you
Your Final Solution – So with this song we end the track listing chronologically as this was not song number tree in the creation process. Some reviewer said that this song sounds like Slayer but at a crawling pace, I can only agree, I’m very inspired by midperiod Slayer. Slow and catchy, that’s the ticket. The title has nothing to do with the lyrical theme, I couldn’t think of any lyric to fit the title so I wrote about something different. The song is about how a lot of us enjoy really gory movies and such, but when confronted with real life tragedy we shy away and don’t want to be bothered. Real life is in many ways way more scary than what any sci-fi/horror writer could ever imagine, I guess that is why most of the most nasty movies are often inspired by real events.
Born to Consume – Our bass player came up with the idea to have the bass intro as and intro, I had placed it in the middle, but I think it turned out really well. Another slow one, but hey, we are a doom band so I guess that is somewhat expected. It does feature one of our faster riffs and a blistering solo by Thomas Ahlgren from Deranged.
Another song with some social commentary, this one with a theme taken from the philosophical school ” The Frankfurt school”, basically it says that the people who own the means of production has put the worker in a sort of vicious circle of production and consumption. To cope with the growing strain of the increasing work load, we are fooled into believing that we need more material things (bigger TV for example), and to acquire more things we need to work more, and so on.
Incident – Even more clean guitars, they must have been on sale (I’m a cheap fucker you see).
The ambient stuff in the background was added by our drummer/mixer, cool stuff, made it feel all that more creepy. This one has some weird structure in the riffs, that I thought was brilliant idea when I wrote the song. But when I had to play it with the band. It turned out that it was kind of tricky. Another solo by Mr. Ahlgren, killer stuff.
“Incident” is about how a small seemingly insignificant thing in a person’s childhood can change that shape that persons entire life.
Shift in Thought – Ah yes this one is fun to play, a lot of things going on and with our fastest and most tricky riff as the verse. I guess this one would be pretty much straight forward death metal if Niclas hadn’t added the strange vocals, I think the vocals made the song so much more interesting.
The clean part and the transition into the distorted part is one of my fav parts on the album.
Lyrically the song deals with Sweden’s sordid part, you didn’t think we had one did you, you just thought we were a merry bunch enjoying our smorgasbord and beautiful women, wrong, okay the smorgasbord is pretty kick ass. But Sweden has a long-standing history with racial biology and such, something is not very much spoken about and never really discussed in school. A lot of this craziness comes from Sweden and a lot of people stood by it for a way to long time. In the 1920’s e got the world’s first racial biology institute.
Flaw in The Axiom – Balls out heavy was my idea for this one, but yet gentle and beautiful, yes I’m a man of contrast. This one has some nice Death (the band) inspired riffing and a nice easy listening middle section. I think our drummer at the time Juan Pablo had some blisters on his feet after recording the drums, it has a lot of really fast double bass work. Who says doom has to be slow all the time. Flaw deals with one of the many Flaws I see in the religious teachings.
Mainly that there are so many of them, and that they often say so different things. Even in the same religion different factions can have drastically different ideas. I find this odd, and a big clue that religion is not made by divine inspiration. It is just like Pippi long stockings man-made, or I guess in the case of Pippi woman made. The main inspiration was the lunatics in the Westboro Baptist church since they teach what to them is the true line, and every other Christian sect shuns them.
More or Less – Here we have a heavy and really simple song, just the way it should be. In this little slab of old school death nastiness we can find what I like to call my Morbid Angel tribute. First I wasn’t sure if should keep that part since I thought it was too much of a rip off, but I liked it so it stayed. And no one has called me on it.
In this song I wrote about the press, especially the Swedish tabloids magazines and much disgust of them and their practices. I guess it is summed up in the line ” Since when is the truth what really happened”. All news is shaped and formed to fit that particular papers point of view. And also do we really need to know what the latest Idol (or just pick any random reality show) contestants ate for breakfast and who and what they later did in the privacy of their own home. Why are these people so interesting, aren’t there more newsworthy things to write about.
Confusion – This little power house has it all, a soft intro with a rather epic lead guitar, a verse and chorus to write home to mom about. And a clean guitar solo, yes I’m proud of this one, and so should you be. This one has a riff in the middle that originally was written to be played at double the speed, but Francisco made me slow it down, a really good idea from him.
The lyrics were a joint effort by Niclas and I, I had an idea and some lines but I could not finish it. It deals with what Patton Oswalt calls ” dickheads and morons”, yes, reality TV. TV showing mentally challenged people making fools of them self’s in some kind of misguided attempted at trying to get famous. I don’t want to sound to bitter, but should anyone pay any attention to these idiots. People applying to these kinds of shows are the people who shouldn’t be celebrated at all. But I guess that now days mediocrity reigns supreme and every one is a winner. I said I wasn’t to bitter haha
Maybe It’s Time – To close the album we have our most bleak song, its dark, heavy and somber.
It starts with an eerie lead guitar and goes in to a straight up death metal bonanza.
It also contains the longest solo I have ever done, Niclas even busted out his clean vocals for this one.
This song is pure religion bashing all the way. Here I used addiction as a metaphor since I strongly believe that religion is the opiate of the masses. A way of controlling people into doing what the powers wants them to do. I strongly believe that the world would be a far better place if people would stop looking up at the sky for their answers.
For more information, visit www.thegardnerz.com.