M.DREW: Walk me through the concept of “Final Sacrifice.” What’s the album’s story?
FREDRIK JANSSON: It's a fictional horror story. Our bass player Tobias had the story rolling around in his head for a year or two before it was done. The lyrics, the music and the artwork is tied together and that's all I will tell you about it. People have to listen for themselves and make up their own mind of what it’s about.
M.D: There’s an underpinning of progressiveness to the album. How much of that was an intentional throwback to what Mercyful Fate used to do, and how much of it was just a natural expression of where the music and the story took you?
FJ: It's a natural progression. When you grow as a musician you want to try different things. Just playing the same thing over and over again would be boring.
M.D: What is it about the occult that makes it such a rich source of songwriting? What about it fascinates you personally?
FJ: Because the dark side of life is an endless subject to write about. To me it's more real than writing songs about picking flowers or some shitty love story. The world today is such a wicked place (get it?), might as well accept that instead of denying it.
M.D: What is it about vintage sounds that brings to mind the kind of occult atmosphere your music trades in?
FJ: We wanted a dry, timeless sound on this album. Something you can listen to thirty years from now and still enjoy.
M.D: Seriously, how much Pentagram and Black Sabbath and Mercyful Fate did you listen to as a kid?
FJ: Shitloads of Sabbath since I was 13 and started playing drums. The other ones were discovered later on.
M.D: Some of your influences are obvious to hear, so are there any influences that people listening might not expect?
FJ: Black Sabbath, Candlemass, old Heavy Metal...too many to mention really. Some members like Morbid Angel and Saxon, some like John Coltrane and Peps Persson.
M.D: The style of occult/horror rock and metal has had a resurgence in recent years. What do you attribute that to, and do you think the amount of attention a band like Ghost gets is helpful for you?
FJ: Ghost is a great band for sure but I don't understand why people are comparing us to them. Sure some people may have discovered us through them but at the same time some has already judged us before they even listened.
M.D: Sweden has done a great job recently of keeping occult rock alive – what’s your country’s attraction to themes of this type, and how does it tie (if at all) into Swedish folk lore?
FJ: Old Swedish folk stories is mostly about elves in the forest and a naked guy that's playing violin in the river. Nothing too exciting, really.
M.D: Let’s talk gear for a second – what do you use to get that warm analog sound?
FJ: Just normal standard equipment. Gibsons and Fenders and a Ludwig drum kit that sounded amazing. Some people have got the idea that the album is recorded on vintage equipment, but it's not. Lawrence Mackrory (singer in FKÜ, great band by the way,) helped us get the sound we wanted.
M.D: If you’re game, let’s talk about some horror movies, which I’m assuming you’re a fan of. What themes do you look for in a horror film?
FJ: I like all kinds of horror movies, depends of what I'm in the mood for. Could be anything from “Possession” to some slasher movie. I enjoy the works of David Lynch, Stanley Kubrick and Lars von Trier. “The Kingdom” is a masterpiece. Old sleaze movies with lots of violence and nudity is cool as well.