(Today we present Comrade Aleks‘ interview of the formidable Lovecraft-inspired Swedish death metal band Puteraeon, who pride themselves on creepiness, catchiness, and aggression.)
The titles of the first demos recorded by Puteraeon in a short period (2008 – 2009) clearly shows the band’s ideology. The demos Fascination for Mutilation (2008), The Requiem (2008), and The Extraordinary Work of Herbert West (2009) formed the foundation of the first full-length, The Esoteric Order (2011)…
And since then Jonas Lindblood (vocals, guitars), Daniel Vandija (bass), Anders Malmström (drums), and Rune Foss (guitars) have kept on providing us their morbid Swedish death metal with a clear and sharp message of inevitable death, unavoidable legions of zombies, and inescapable cosmic horrors.
The Esoteric Order was only a start for a series of a few more EPs and full-lengths, but there was not much news from the band since the release of their fourth album The Cthulhian Pulse: Call from the Dead City in 2020. To allay our concerns about the band’s fate, we contacted Jonas Lindblood.
Hi Jonas! How are you? There was no big news since your release of the “Bitter Loss” single in November 2021, so what’s going on in your camp?
Hi! We’re all good. Right now we are enjoying vacation so it’s time off so to say. We have also started writing material for the next album. We are a couple of songs in at the moment.
Good to hear that you’re writing new material, and we’ll return to this theme later. So we have a few texts about Puteraeon here in NCS, but I think that it’s right to take a deeper look at the band’s history. You started the band in 2008, you spent three years recording the demos, and then – bang! – Cyclone Empire released the debut full-length The Esoteric Order! It got quite positive feedback back then. Were you so well prepared when you entered the studio to record this material?
Yes that’s about right. Most of the songs on The Esoteric Order were from the previous demos so it was more of choosing the right songs for the album. We didn’t really know what to expect. We knew that people who had heard the demos either liked it or not, which at least was some kind of quality stamp. Most feedback was good or really good. If we had understood the potential the first album had we might have done some stuff differently but back then it was more important for us to sound different than the more polished and perfect death metal of the mid 2000s.
What kind of sound did you search for back then? Which bands shaped your vision of the right death metal?
We wanted to combine bands like Entombed, Dismember, Autopsy, and Necrophagia. Adding touches of early At The Gates. We did not want to sound overproduced and too stale. In my opinion, much of the early 2000s death metal was a bit boring, then came Death Breath, which was a fresh (?) new wind.
Even back then you shot two videos for the songs ‘Coma’ and ‘Experience Zombiefication’, and you continue to support each new release with official videos even now. First of all, how do you manage to organize such a regular filming?
Our guitarist Rune is filming a lot for his work, so it was easy for him to borrow equipment. We all helped out with ideas and props. I think it’s a good way to promote the releases. And in a way gives every release a legacy in some way.
Do videos really generate a proper support to your releases? Or do you, maybe, care that much about a visual side of Puteraeon?
Honestly we also enjoy doing them. When at times nothing happens with the band, we tend to do a video or something just to give people a little something. A little digital ”hey we are still around”. The visual side is also something we think is important.
The Esoteric Order‘s song lyrics demonstrate at least two of your biggest obsessions – Lovecraftian literature and stories about zombies. How did you come to the realization that both topics fit perfectly with Puteraeon?
That kind of just happened. We have album by album continued into only writing about Lovecraft themes, which felt like a natural choice. So less non-Lovecraftian songs per release.
What about zombies? Why is this subject so important in death metal and for you personally?
I guess it’s a classic subject. Death metal is closely tied to horror movies. I think it fits perfectly together. We grew up with pirated video cassettes with different low-budget horror flicks. It was just part of the same culture as tape-trading and listening to death metal.
What are your favorite zombie movies?
My all time favorite is Dawn of the Dead from 1978. And it has to be the one from 1978. I an allergic to running zombies. Zombies should be in great numbers, walking slow!
The album’s concept, the videos, your songs, and even the very fact you recorded with Andy LaRocque point to your serious attitude toward the band. Was it your aim from the beginning to lift Puteraeon on a higher, professional, level?
Looking back I’m not sure we aimed at a professional level. We always want to give quality. Every time we do new songs or new releases, we’re also looking back on what we did earlier. Trying to top ourselves, not making the same mistakes again. Make the songs more catchy, but still keeping the creepy feeling. This is hard, but first up, before pleasing other people, we need to be totally satisfied ourselves.
You recorded three albums with Andy. How was it? Were all sessions similar or did your experience help you to organize each new session in more effective way?
The first three albums were mixed and mastered by Andy. Puteraeon never recorded with him. The mixing sessions were similar. We sent Andy the raw material and he then sent us a song that was mixed. We answered what we thought and on the last day of mixing we went down to his studio and were a part of the mixing process. Both good and bad things came out of that. Andy is a hell of a nice genuine guy, but we had so much fun together that we do have some errors we found later. That is very irritating to hear afterwards.
The next album Cult Cthulhu (2012) continued the line of The Esoteric Order. Were you satisfied with the direction you chose during your work over the first album?
I think we went the right way. I don’t think we changed style that much. The production is rawer and the guitars are razor-sharp. On The Esoteric Order, we had too ”nice” guitar sound, so we wanted to go back to the type we had on the demos.
Cult Cthulhu as well as The Crawling Chaos full-length (2014) emphasize your interest toward H.P.’s cycles the Cthulhu Mythos and Macabre Tales, as you avoided touching themes of his Dream Cycle. Don’t you really feel that there’s a place in Puteraeon’s songs for Kadath, Sarnath, and Ulthar?
Yes, as I said earlier we kind of strengthened the Lovecraft vibe and inspiration for each release. We’ve done a bunch of songs about Innsmouth, Dagon, and Cthulhu in the past but also songs inspired by other Lovecraft stories such as ”The Thing on The Doorstep”, ”Herbert West – Reanimator”, ”In the Vault”, ”The Dreams in the Witchhouse”, and ”At the Mountains of Madness”, among others. If we will sing about Kadath or Ulthar, that is something for the future maybe. The concept for our fifth full-length is decided.
Did you ever think to write a concept album based on Lovecraft’s stories?
We just did. The Cthulhian Pulse is completely based on Call of Cthulhu from start to finish. We reused melodies throughout the album as well, to get a better concept feel to the album.
Oh… I should know… Did you think which qualities of Puteraeon’s sound helped you to emphasize the Lovecraftian message?
The most important thing is the atmosphere. Trying to make it interesting and creepy at the same time. But we do also want to keep the drive and brutality, which maybe doesn’t add to the Lovecratian feeling but maybe adds to what we see Puteraeon as of today. Creepy, catchy, and aggressive.
There’s a six-year gap between The Crawling Chaos and the following album you mentioned, The Cthulhian Pulse: Call from the Dead City. You recorded two short EPs in-between, but what slowed you down in this period?
I think the exit from Cyclone Empire was one reason. We wanted to go back and have full control of everything. We did write a lot more songs than we released. For example, when we recorded The Empires Of Death EP, we had material for a whole album. But we chose the three best songs for the EP and scrapped the rest basically.
How far did Puteraeon go with The Cthulhian Pulse in comparison with The Esoteric Order material?
The Cthulhian Pulse is the furthest we’ve gone. When it comes to songwriting and concept. We did let ourselves explore a bit more musically without straying to far off the path we were on. If you look to how we supported the album, that’s a different thing. The album was released during Covid so there’s only been one gig. But we think the songs are good and will fit a live performance very well, so I guess some people will find out that in the future.
A kind of personal question: some of Puteraeon’s members have been into metal music since the early ’90s or so, and now you keep on playing hard-driving and aggressive music. What about the negative side-effects of so much headbanging? Don’t you have a neck hernia or something? I read a story about Therion’s Christofer Johnsson and it seems that it’s not fun to have such medical problems in Sweden because of the health insurance system.
First up, the Swedish health insurance system works for everybody. Meaning you don’t have to pay a huge amount of money to get healthcare. If you want you can always pay a private doctor to get faster care, or go with the municipal ones. In my opinion, no one should be forced to get a loan because he or she is ill or sick.
Anyway, concerning years of headbanging. We don’t have that problem really, and also there’s so much more you can do live than just headbanging. But that said, we try to give everything during a live gig, so we are just drained of energy afterwards. We are an aggressive, in-your-face live act which people tend to enjoy, but of course, it’s like a hard gym-class.
Glad to hear it! What was the most insane gig you played with Puteraeon?
The most weird gig we’ve done was in 2016 or something when we did a whole set before our families and a bunch of friends, and also some people we didn’t know. Our kids were at the front row dancing around and jumping, waving the horns, while all adults were standing behind and watching. Very different gig. It was in a park in the Swedish city Vara.
What are the Puteraeon’s plans for the rest of 2022? Do you aim to record one more sonic monolith in the name of the Lovecraftian pantheon?
During 2022 we have a few gigs booked and we shall continue writing our 5th album. Hopefully we will record that during 2023. No need to rush things, we’re not aiming at stardom, just to do a really good album.
Sounds like a good plan! Thanks for the interview Jonas!
Thanks for once again showing interest in our band!