Interview – Tobias Gustafsson – Vomitory – Swedish Death Metal Legends Vomitory Make A Welcome Return With A Stunning New Album – ‘all Heads Are Gonna Roll’

Swedish Death Metal legends Vomitory make a welcome return with a stunning new album – ‘All Heads Are Gonna Roll’ – despite the members saying that they will never...


Interview by: Smudge

Photo by Erik Hansen


Swedish Death Metal legends Vomitory make a welcome return with a stunning new album – ‘All Heads Are Gonna Roll’ – despite the members saying that they will never work together again. I was lucky enough to catch the band’s drummer Tobias Gustafsson on a video chat and he told me how the band reformed and how the album got made…


‘We formed Vomitory in the late ’80s and decided to split in 2013. We simply ran out of everything. We had reached the end as a band, we didn’t have the drive anymore to carry on. It was a feeling of burden rather than the joy it used to be.’

But the members didn’t quit the music biz.

‘Me and Erik (Rundqvist) the singer and bass player started a new band called Cut Up and we did a couple of albums. That band is currently on hold since we re-formed Vomitory.’

Tobias explained how and why Vomitory got back together.

‘When we split the plan was to never re-unite again under any circumstances. We aren’t fans of these bands that do farewell tours and then come back three years later for another farewell tour or anniversary tour. There was a specific reason we got back together. It was in 2017 and we wanted to pay tribute to our friend Mike Trengert who was the co-founder and label manager of Metal Blade Records in Germany. He was the guy that signed us, and he got us on some huge tours that helped us. Sadly, Mike died in 2017 and the guys at the Summer Breeze festival were honouring him by getting bands that he had worked with and signed to play at the festival. It was also the 20th anniversary of the festival. They asked us to do it and of course, we said yes. It was a no-brainer for us. After the show we realised that we had enjoyed it so much we said that maybe we should keep the door open for some more shows in the future. Then Erik came up with the bright idea of celebrating our 30th anniversary in 2019 with some gigs in some of the countries that we had never played before. It was so successful that we had to extend the ‘temporary reunion’ into 2020. The as we know the pandemic hit. After a while we decided that if we were going to continue, we should write and record a new album, so in 2021 we officially reformed as a band and started writing.’
‘Erik and I split the music – I wrote six songs and Erik wrote four and he writes all the lyrics. We also collaborated on one song. We usually write by ourselves and bring the songs in fully formed to the rest of the guys. Erik and I worked very closely during the writing process, sending ideas back and forth and especially talking about the vocal patterns on specific parts. It was a more conscious way of writing and think it was successful because the songs are some of the best we’ve ever written.’

I wanted to know if that was because they are a rhythm section.

‘No! We don’t think in those terms because a death metal rhythm section is not like any other. We just put the pedal to the floor and go!’

For a band that has been playing extreme metal for over thirty years, I wanted to know how they still have the energy of their youth.

‘I don’t know – we just keep going. To be honest it’s as easy as it was when I was 25! Me, as a drummer, I need more time to warm up before a show, that’s crucial these days. The body gets older but there’s no need to worry yet.’

With song titles like ‘Ode To The Meat Saw’ and ‘Raped, Strangled, Sodomized, Dead’ there are no ballads on this record so, I asked where they get their inspiration.

‘Raped, Strangled, Sodomized, Dead’ was from a true crime documentary that Erik watched. One of the investigators on a particular case commented on how he found the victim and that’s how he found her – ‘there she was raped, strangled, sodomized, dead in a ditch!’ Erik thought it would make a great song title. The same goes for me when we were making the ‘Terrorize, Brutalize, Sodomize’ record. I saw a true crime program about a serial killer who left ‘an eternal trail of bodies’. I just changed it to ‘Eternal Trail Of Corpses’. I thought it sounded better.’

I noticed that their friend Christian Fredriksson (Inferior/Reincarnage) assisted with the guitar solos on the record.

‘Our lead guitarist Peter (Ostlund) had been struggling with carpal tunnel syndrome. It started a couple of years ago and it became worse during the recording of the album. He played his rhythm parts last October and ended up in a lot of pain so much so that he could barely play, he couldn’t feel the strings because his fingers were so numb. He needed surgery so for the last few gigs we had a session guitarist play those shows. We had a tight recording deadline, so we called Christian who is a great friend and brilliant guitarist and he said yeah, sure I’ll play some solos for you. I think it was either that day or the day after he sent through about five songs, and they sounded brilliant. We made a few minor changes, but they were recorded quickly, and they sound awesome.’

The album was recorded by two different people one for the music and another for the vocals.

‘We recorded the music in our rehearsal space and Mats (Lindstrom) brought all his studio gear and set it up. Maybe we did it because we are lazy but most importantly it was convenient and flexible because we worked odd hours and odd days. The vocals were recorded in the studio where we did our previous three records. We wanted to record the vocals with Rikard Lofgren not just because it was a proper studio but also because Rikard is a great vocal coach and him and Erik work well together. It worked because I think the vocals are amazing. We got an English guy Lawrence Mackrory to mix and master the album and again we’re really happy with it the way it sounds – massive!’

I then asked Tobias what the reaction to the record has been so far.

‘The feedback we’ve had has been overwhelming. Positive. The reviews so far have eight, nine, or ten out of ten. We couldn’t be happier; it’s exceeded all our expectations. We felt we had recorded a great album, but we felt very anxious about the fan’s reaction. Hopefully, this record will allow us to get to places that we’ve never been before.’ Our take here.

So, there will be a full tour then.

‘It’s difficult – actually, we have just found out that we will be the main support to Vader on their European tour in September and we will be playing the UK and Ireland – finally. Before that, we are going to play a festival in Mexico and next year, we will be at Maryland Death Fest, we last played there in 2007. We have some festivals booked then after our tour, hopefully, we will start writing another record. We agree when we got back together that this would not be just for one album, we all wanted to do more.’

Vomitory’s new record ‘All Heads Are Gonna Roll’ is out now through Metal Blade Records

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