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The Doomsday Kingdom

De legendarische Candlemass bezieler Leif Edling schittert al een paar jaar door afwezigheid op de internationale podia wanneer één van zijn bands live optreedt. Edling bleek een ernstige burn out te hebben en zat jarenlang aan huis gekluisterd. We hoorden gelukkig wel nieuwe muziek van hem in Avatarium en vanaf nu ook in The Doomsday Kingdom, een nieuwe constellatie waarin heavy metal en doom metal hand in hand gaan. Dit vroeg om enige opheldering. Wanneer we naar Zweden bellen, treffen we een stilaan herstelde en rustig sprekende Leif Edling aan, vlak na zijn avondmaal met zijn jongste zoon. We hadden een gezellig gesprek over de geboorte van The Doomsday Kingdom en hun knap titelloos debuutalbum dat verschijnt op zeven april.

Door: Vera | Archiveer onder doom metal

How are you doing now? I am glad that you are doing interviews and making records again!
It is getting better now. I have been sick for some years, it got really worse about three years ago. Before that I had problems with the blood pressure and my heart was beating like crazy and I had a full blown collapse, but now after three years I am getting better, so I can release an album and then be able to speak on the phone to you. I haven’t been able to do that for quite a while.

These are personal issues of course and I can understand it is hard to share that with the world…
Yeah but also quite literally, I have not been able to focus a lot. I had both severe focus and concentration problems. I could not talk on the phone and I wasn’t able to watch TV or read or sit in front of a computer. The doctors said: no, you shall not do this. For me it is a huge step forward to be able to just talk to you. Well… a burn-out… It is very individual how it hits you and how it affects your brain.

Fortunately you still had the possibility to write songs or was that also forbidden for a certain time?
No, no. Since I was not able to watch TV or read, the only thing I could do was play music. I listened to my vinyl collection and maybe play some acoustic guitar when I was in the sofa and had energy enough to do it, but actually it was a good start for Doomsday Kingdom. Being creative that way was a musical therapy.

How did you decide to bring these ideas into a new outfit, instead of canalize them for Avatarium or Krux or Candlemass?
Well, Krux is not operational anymore anyways. I don’t play live with Avatarium. Avatarium is a different band as well. It is not so much metal. Their new album is actually no metal at all. It has a lot of seventies rock in the music. With Candlemass we are not doing albums anymore and me being a creative person, even though I was sick, I needed to have a creative outlet somehow. So if Candlemass is not recording anything, I just have to do something. It turned out to be The Doomsday Kingdom.

The rumour goes that it was initially planned as a solo album?
Yeah, not a solo album really, but a project, because I was sick and I did not know how it would turn out and if I could play live… I did not know anything. I just had some songs that I demoed, so I did not know what to do with it really. It was a project. I brought Marcus (Jidell, guitarist – Vera) in, because we are friends and he has a small studio, so he helped me with the demos, but the demos turned out really well. They just sounded great and then we wanted to hear some drums on the demos – because the drums were recorded via computer and click-track – and Marcus contacted his friend Habo, Andreas Johansson. I did not know him. Andreas has got a small studio where he has his drums and some microphones up at all time and a little PA and recording possibilities, so he recorded drums over it. ‘A Spoonful Of Darkness’ was the first song he did, ‘The Never Machine’ was the second. We were like blown away by his drumming and how the drums sounded, so he was the next man on board. After a while we got Niklas in (Stålvind of Wolf – Vera) as singer. It has been quite a procedure, like a two year ride, turning this project into a band…

So it was a natural development…
Absolutely. Everyone approved that the material and the songs and the playing was so good, so you have to turn it into something more. I am very happy that Nuclear Blast wanted to release it, I am very happy that the mix turned out so good as it did with David Castillo. The sound is fucking amazing! I love the production. Marcus did a great job, producing the album when I was sick, so everybody contributed a lot in their own way. I am very happy and grateful for that. In addition of being a great guitar playing, Marcus also has a great ear for music. He can hear stuff that needs to be done, for example, with my bass playing. He gives me great suggestions and most of the time it turns out that he was right. He is a great musician and he’s got a great ear for music and production. He loves Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Mountain, Leslie West as well as he loves Yngwie Malmsteen’s solos or Randy Rhoads solos… so he has got a very wide range of influences. For the first song, ‘Silent Kingdom’ for instance, I ordered a Randy Rhoads type of solo and he delivered it! Same goes for ‘A Spoonful Of Darkness’: I also wanted a Randy Rhoads style guitar solo on that song and he came up with amazing stuff.

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I hear a lot of different influences on the record. I cannot say it has echoes of something, but I have written down several names depending on the song…
There surely are and mainly from early heavy metal bands, like Accept or Judas Priest. I listened a lot to my old record collection when I wrote the album, because I was sick. I unpacked some boxes with vinyl and I have put on early Maiden, Dio, Mercyful Fate, even my old Venom records. I even got into my old Witchfynde records, I have not listened to Witchfynde in a long time. It was great to rediscover all that old stuff again! Most of the time when you listen to records, it is on a Friday or Saturday evening when you get a few beers opened, then you listen to the same record a few times really loud and then you go to bed, but now I actually had the time to listen to everything. People don’t have time. That is really a shame when you have a lot of CDs and a lot of records, that you don’t have the time to listen to it properly. It is great to relive an album, it has been an old friend for you for a long time, that record that you open up for the first time in maybe ten or twenty years. Some of the records I listened to, I had not been listening to for twenty or thirty years. That is a long time, but it was fantastic! It was absolutely great to do. The circumstances were not optimal, but I tried to make the best of the situation and it led to something good in the end. I had a new sound, new form of inspiration, I got a great band together.

Are you planning to play live with them?
Absolutely. Roadburn is booked and confirmed, twenty third of April. There is a gig coming up in Stockholm, just a couple of weeks after that and I hope to book a couple of festivals with Doomsday Kingdom as well, but I also do a few ‘Nightfall’ gigs with Candlemass. I have my doctor’s permission to play like ten gigs this year. So I have to take it quite easy this year as well, but I am allowed to do a handful of gigs with Doomsday Kingdom and a handful of gigs with Candlemass. And hopefully next year I am allowed to go all in again. You have to start somewhere you know, small steps…

Then you can experience it more intense…
Yeah hopefully. I am working very close with my doctors, I will have a regular evaluation, we can speak about dealing with traveling and going away for a weekend and play. That is very important.

One of my favourites is the last track ‘The God Particle’…
It is very personal to me. It is – in a way – about my little son being born. It is very cliché, I know that, but I tried to make it in a way that it is not that cliché. If you don’t know it, you won’t react to it. And of course, Niklas would have sung it better than me, but it is still quite personal to me, so I wanted to sing it. That’s why it sounds that way, it is a special song. A little bit different than the rest of the stuff on the record, but I think it is a good thing that something special happens on the record, like that. The two last tracks are more epic. ‘The Silence’ is pretty much about me being sick. So that is also very personal, but Niklas sings so good on that one, he had to do it. Maybe ‘The Silence’ is my favourite song on the record. Many people like the obvious ones like ‘A Spoonful Of Darkness’ and ‘The Never Machine’, but I am a big fan of ‘The Silence’ because I think it has some very emotional stuff in it. It is a good crafted song. We put a lot of time in creating the perfect flow of the songs, some heavy, some fast ones, some slow… the energies on the record must be perfect. I get very annoyed myself when I listen to a record and it is clear that they should have put the tracks in a different order (chuckles). The red thread of an album is very important, but it is quite difficult to obtain sometimes. It is not easy, that’s what makes musicians crazy hehe. But even if you took care of the structure of the record, still you have a deadline that you work against. When the deadline comes up, you have to decide.

We look forward to your return on stage!
Thank you very much Vera. That’s the spirit!

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