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Twintig jaar geleden gooide het Zweedse Wombbath de handdoek in de ring. Nu is de band weer terug met een nieuw album ‘Downfall Rising’ dat in Noord-Amerika via Dark Descent Records verschijnt en in de rest van de wereld via Pulverised Records. In het onderstaande interview bespreken we verleden en heden met gitarist en enige originele bandlid Håkan Stuvemark.

Door: Pim B. | Archiveer onder death metal / grindcore

Hey Håkan. Let’s kick off with the question: What triggered you to resurrect Wombbath back from the grave?
Hello! Ok, let’s see, Wombbath has always been close to me and the first idea, maybe not to give Wombbath life again but to play death metal, was in 2005 when we had a reunion gig here in Sala. After that not much happened though. In 2010 Necroharmonic Records did a reissue of the ‘Internal Caustic Torments’ album and there was talk about playing at Rites Of Darkness fest in Texas, but some lost interest and it’s about economy too to get there. In 2013 Pulverized Records did a reissue too of the ‘Internal Caustic Torments’ album. For that album, which actually was a twenty years anniversary release, I did a modern version of ‘Silent As The Grave’ entitled ‘20:13 Silence Unveiled’. After that Roy (Pulverised Rec.) and I talked and I signed for a new album, which was first meant to be a studio album, but quite early on it was clear a monster was about to be born so I later decided to give it a shot and summon ”a band”!

When I look at the line-up it’s just you, Håkan, from the original line-up. So can you tell how this new line-up came together and why other original members aren’t involved?
Let’s take the recording line-up first. Since the first thought was about a studio album, I asked Jeramie Kling on drums, as we were both in Skineater as well at that time. The Dynamic Duo! He was asked to both play drums and track, mix and master the album. But the master ended up on James Murphy’s table! Vocalists, there are three of them. No, four since Jeramie is screaming on one song as well. However, I decided to pick a few vocalists suitable for the songs they sing on and they practically got the chance to choose which song(s) they wanted! And I also asked Taylor Nordberg to make a new interesting version of the old track ‘Abandon’ on our debut, now called ‘Abandoned Furthermore’, and with outstanding result! Boppe Andersson who did the original really liked it! This wouldn’t have happened with original line up. But, Richard the original bass player participated with material for this album. The song ‘Paid In Blood’!

Basically Wombbath kind of suddenly disappeared in 1995 after the EP ‘Lavatory’ that came out in 1994. Can you explain what happened back then?
The reasons were that we just couldn’t write well and I guess it was quite boring. After ‘Lavatory’ we recorded a full-length for Napalm records but we never heard from them after we sent the tape. The absolute last thing we recorded (non-death metal) was a two song promo tape which actually Warner Bros liked but it were too few songs.

I think most of the guys back then formed In Thy Dreams. Can you tell us a bit more what the members of the original line-up have done ever since?
It was only me from Wombbath ending up in In Thy Dreams, in its beginning. A little later Richard joined on bass. For the last album we recorded 1998 (pretty much exactly seventeen years ago now) Thomas joined on vocals. What we’ve been doing? Good one. Beside work, families and all that I am not too sure. Not much music for everyone. Roger played drums in Steel Attack for a while in 2000 or so, Richard been playing some music, not death metal, and I have played in Vicious (now Grand Exit) and started up Skineater.

Since we are talking about members here anyway perhaps you can also tell what the current members of Wombbath have done/or are still doing (band wise that is)?
I’ll just list it our name and name without specific activity per band and what I can come up with this very moment!

Me (Håkan): Wombbath, In Thy Dreams, Vicious, Skineater and some Just Before Dawn. Johan: Killing Ashley.
Henrik: Battlelust, Mörk Gryning, Leprechaun, Hellmasker, Satariel, Overtorture, Sectu, Gates Of Ishtar, Necromicon, Incinerator.
Jonny: Ashcloud, Human Harvest, Just Before dawn, Skineater, Syn:drom, Vholdghast, Disfigured Victims, Cavevomit, Sorghegard.

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’Downfall Rising’ is released by Pulverised Records. I guess you got in touch with them when they did the official re-issue in 2013 of ‘Internal Caustic Torments’? Was it an obvious choice to continue working with them?
Some of that I already answered but yes it was, I like those guys. Good guys! I got in contact with them earlier than that. It was when Skineater signed for the ‘Dermal Harvest’ album.

‘Internal Caustic Torments’ recently was also re-issued on vinyl through Mexico’s Chaos Records. What do you think about the interest of this album that originally came out in 1993? I assume you are also aware that the album has been bootlegged at least twice on vinyl and CD. What do you think of that?
I have not seen any bootlegged CD yet though but I have heard of both this and that. I have seen shirts and all too. There’s an interest, yes! Crazy high prices on eBay for the original CD, demo and EP. It’s fun though to see people are interested and maybe not just collectors. Many teens are into Wombbath and that’s fun!

You have recently released a split single with Warhound on Slaughterhouse Records. What can you tell about this release? Was this song recorded during the same session as the full-length for instance?
I was asked if we could be interested in doing a split last year when we were up in the album process. So Jonny and I quickly made a new song for it, aside of the album recording then!

’Downfall Rising’ is a great slab of classic Swedish death metal. Can you tell a bit more about the recordings, the mix and master?
Yep, more Swedish than old Wombbath ever sounded haha. The procedure was kinda, I recorded bass and guitars at home, some hours, some evenings, the vocalists did their thing at their places and we sent it over to Jeramie in Florida for re-amping and all that. He bought a HM-2 especially for this album! The drums Jeramie did in the studio and the additional guitar things by Taylor. All tracked and mixed there at Studio Smoke & Mirrors. As I said before James Murphy did the master!

The classic Swedish death metal sound seems to be more alive than ever. Do you think Wombbath can still be a force to be reckoned with? I guess for a lot of the younger fans you might be just another band. How do you see your role?
Let’s hope so but I’m glad as long as someone likes it and we all play death metal because it’s fun. The new journey has just begun!

So, what can we expect from Wombbath in the near future? Any gigs coming up?
We are playing at Kassel Moshfest this October and next year we are going to Maryland Deathfest. More shows will be announced! Keep an eye open and get this new darn album!!

That’s all from this side. Anything you’d like to add?
Nah, I think I’ll refer to the previous answer.

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